The Institute of Group Leaders (IGL) consists of group leaders who have met certain standards of competence in group leadership and who wish to sustain and extend their knowledge and skills through membership.
The Institute began in 1982 as a collection of group leaders from mental health and welfare agencies in Sydney with a vested interest in developing quality group leadership.
Group leadership involves a broad range of area, including facilitation of:
- Work and team groups
- Psychoeducational groups
- Community adult education programs
- Grief and Loss workshops
- Drug and alcohol recovery groups
- Counselling groups
- Therapy groups
A steering committee of members from the NSW Association for Mental Health, Relationships Australia NSW, Family Life, NSW, Unifam and the NSW Health Department were instrumental in the initial development. Private practitioners and UnitingCare Burnside, and the Community Educator's Network in Taree have also played a significant role in the later years. Registration as a Community Advancement Society was achieved in September 1985.
Today IGL is recognized as the membership body for group leaders in NSW and ACT. It provides training courses in group leadership and on-going education workshops.
The Institute of Group Leaders (IGL) plays a key role for the following reasons:
1. Significance of associations. Most groups of professionals (social work, psychology, nursing, and training) have an association that represents the ethical, accreditation and training needs for those practitioners. Small group work is part of these professions but the associations listed above maintain a framework that focuses on the broader training and accreditation of those disciplines. Group leadership requires an association that specifically focuses on the specific context and training needs of group work. A specific association, such as IGL, is required for the continuing development of group work in Australia.
2. Promotion of group work within the general community by private practitioners. Over the past decade, group work facilitated by private practitioners, has declined in the general community. This is accompanied by the increased use of groups in community welfare organisations. An association could actively promote the existence of group work for the general public. This would be a benefit to private practitioners and community organisations.
3. Independent maintenance of professional standards. IGL has developed a set of standards for group work training and accreditation of group workers. These need to be refined and maintained to ensure the provision of competent group work in the community.
4. Every five years, 50% of group workers are new to the field. New staff enters the community welfare workforce regularly over a five period and they facilitate a range of groups without adequate group work training. IGL encourages the registration of group workers and development of training for new workers.