Free Resource for Field Education: Peer Led Mutual Aid Groups

Published July 13, 2020


Larry Shulman, PhD

Larry Shulman.

The University at Buffalo School of Social Work (UBSSW) presents a new training resource for social work educators and practitioners, Peer Led Mutual Aid Groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our students were feeling the effects of the crisis, and in need of additional support. At the same time, a number of students' field placements were disrupted, and the Field Team at UBSSW hoped to engage these students in work that would be meaningful.

With that in mind, Dr. Lawrence Shulman, former Dean and Emeritus Faculty, conducted a training on The Dynamics and Skills of Leading On-Line Mutual Aid Support Groups for Peers: A Training Workshop for Student Group Leaders. Participating students were then deployed to provide online support, with additional training and supervision provided by the School.

The webinar is being shared broadly in hopes that other will find it beneficial. Appropriate for practice settings and educational/fieldwork settings, peer-led groups are based on the assumption that student participants can provide support for each other through the processes of mutual aid, including the relief of finding they are “all-in-the-same-boat” and that others share their feeling and concerns. Participants can share steps they have taken to address these issues and identify sources of outside support including family, friends and counseling when needed.

The UB School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work (MSW), including an online MSW, a PhD in social welfare, an online DSW and dual degrees with law, management and public health. With an innovative approach to social work education, the school integrates a trauma-informed and human rights perspective in its curriculum, offers collaborative research projects and presents the biweekly inSocialWork podcast. The school is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10 percent of schools of social work across the country, and accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. For more information about the UB School of Social Work, visit