The Futures Group

This qualitative, exploratory, action research project was conducted in an orphanage in a low socioeconomic status township in Gauteng during 2007.  The project was based on the theory of possible selves developed by Markus & Nurius in 1986, which argues that our current behaviour is significantly motivated by our conception of ourselves in the future.

The project was a Christian intervention with orphaned and vulnerable teenagers who are living in a children's home.  The intervention, called the Futures Group, aimed to develop a more coherent and fleshed-out sense of possible self among the teenagers, with particular attention to career prospects and values. 

Parallel to the intervention, qualitative, exploratory data were collected.  The first set of data constituted individual assessment data using a future self tool developed by the researcher.  Ongoing process data was collected throughout the intervention, as well as post-intervention data from the participants.  In addition, I journalled my experience of implementing the project.

I presented a public lecture on the Futures Group at the University of Applied Science in Erfurt, Germany in December 2007. The paper was well received by the audience (social work students and faculty). I have since presented the paper to the social work writing group and to the honours social work students at the University of Johannesburg. The paper can be accessed here.

I have finalised a paper on this project that provides a theological reflection on the theory of possible selves and use the Futures Group as an example of how this theory can be applied within a practical theological intervention. A second paper addresses the intervention as an example of social work practice that is grounded in theory. Both papers are currently in review by the journals.

This page last updated: 29 July 2008