Encounter Groups

The experience of perceiving and practicing reciprocal communication in a group setting pervaded by a climate of congruencei, acceptancei, and empathic understanding can be gained by participating in person-centered encounter groups (Rogers, 1979; Lago and McMillan, 1999; Motschnig-Pitrik, 2008). The basic encounter group – a setting for self-experience and problem solving – if well facilitated, has been regarded as one of the most potent social inventions of the 20th century. The group as a whole and its participants as members move through a group process that is characterized by smalltalk, superficial conversation and a resistance against expressing own feelings in its beginning and moving towards trust, deep understanding and helpful relationships inside and outside the group setting as the group process continues.


  1. Milling around
  2. Resistance to personal expression
  3. Description of past feelings
  4. Expression of negative feelings
  5. Expression and exploration of personally meaningful material
  6. Expression of immediate feelings in the group
  7. Development of a healing capacity in the group
  8. Self acceptance and the beginning of change
  9. The cracking of facades
  10. The individual receives feedback
  11. Confrontation
  12. Helping relationships outside sessions
  13. The basic encounter
  14. Expression of positive feelings and closeness
  15. Behavior changes in the group