Mutual Aid, “Time and Place,” and the Role of the Worker
The passage of time has a very real impact on a group’s ability to engage in and experience mutual aid. Although mutual aid is a logical consequence of group life, it is not an inherent condition of group life. It does not simply exist. Only its potential exists (Shulman 2011). Neither does it simply “happen.” It takes time and effort on the part of every participant for a group to become a mutual-aid system. As members come to know one another better and more fully recognize their common needs and goals, they also become increasingly open to one another as resources. As they begin to see the many ways in which they can be helpful to one another, they come to recognize and appreciate their potential for mutual aid, and they become increasingly better at mutual-aid process (Garland et al.1965; Hartford 1978;
Middleman and Wood 1990a; Newstetter 1935; Northen and Kurland 2001; Schiller 1995; Schwartz 1963; Shulman 2011; Toseland and Rivas 1995).