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Fig 5.22 – Encounter Groups

Text: Page 269

Carl Rogers led an encounter group movement that revolutionized psychology. This was done by emphasizing the importance of group person-to-person healing, which was missing in psychoanalytic and behavioral psychology. In small group sessions of 8 to 10 people led by a trained leader, individuals learned self-awareness and sensitivity toward others. By verbalizing feelings freely and uninhibitedly, individuals strengthened their organismic valuing system.

The emphasis in the encounter group was to support the sharing of strong emotions and discouraging critical judgments, intellectualization, and rationalization. Group psychotherapy was a radical departure from the traditional view that individual psychotherapy was the best approach to solve psychological problems. Rogers showed when clients received support from others in group psychotherapy, a powerful social healing occurred that was unavailable in individual psychotherapy. Group therapy came to symbolize the revolutionary spirit of Rogerian psychology.

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