This research examined the effects of group work with survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake. The two groups studied were organised by social workers in a transitional community. One group was composed of older people and the other of women. The research adopted qualitative research methods. Data were collected by focus group meetings and in-depth individual interviews. The 24 research participants were mainly asked to describe their lives before and after joining the groups. The findings indicated that disaster survivors had resilience to loss and trauma and could recover themselves. Group participation facilitated disaster survivors' self recovery and had positive effects on them. Before joining the groups, many members of both groups felt bored and depressed. After joining, they felt better physically and psychologically and enjoyed socialising with each other. Their lives became more meaningful and their social network was broadened and strengthened. The practical and policy implications of the study are noted and further research recommended. It was concluded that group work, in the form of recreational activities, is effective in alleviating disaster survivors' feelings of distress and depression, improving their psychosocial well-being and fostering their self recovery.