Abstract: Critical Dialogue Developing Critical Consciousness: The Cornerstone of Groupwork Practice for Liberation (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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644P Critical Dialogue Developing Critical Consciousness: The Cornerstone of Groupwork Practice for Liberation

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Alexis Jemal, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Hunter College, New York, NY
Liliane Windsor, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Christina Inyang, MSW, NA, NA
Christina Pierre-Noel, MSW, NA, East Orange General Hospital
Background and Purpose: There has been an increased focus on addressing health inequities through interventions that utilize critical consciousness and community organizing. However, little guidance has been provided on how to incorporate critical dialogue about oppression to develop critical consciousness as a therapeutic tool to mobilize marginalized groups in addressing social determinants of health and other sociopolitical inequities implicated in personal and interpersonal distress. Methods: This paper describes the critical dialogue component of an innovative, manualized, multilevel, behavioral health, group intervention, Community Wise. Community Wise consists of 15, two-hour group sessions, delivered weekly and designed to reduce substance use frequency, HIV/HCV risk behaviors, and reoffending among formerly incarcerated individuals by increasing critical consciousness in the community. Results: Community Wise uses critical dialogue to develop critical consciousness. The critical dialogue sessions consist of group meetings where formerly incarcerated individuals with a history of substance use disorder reflect and engage in dialogue to develop a deeper understanding of how marginalizing processes (e.g., structural and internalized racism, sexism, classism) impact their lives and behavior. This paper details the critical dialogue intervention component illustrated by quotes and examples extracted from voice recordings of intervention groups conducted during the pilot test of Community Wise. Conclusions and Implications: This paper provides a descriptive guide for clinicians and the requisite facilitation tools to add the critical dialogue component to any social work group practice.