An Encounter Group is a safe place where we can be ourselves and encounter others as honestly and simply as possible.
The rules of the group are based on the principles of the Person-Centred Approach: Authenticity, Empathy, Unconditional Acceptance of the persons (not their behaviour).
Having revolutionized individual psychotherapy by his practice, research and publishing, Carl Rogers devoted last 30 years of his life to Encounter groups. He, together with his co-workers facilitated groups with up to a few hundred participants in many different countries. Some of them took place on ground of political, ethnical or religious conflict (Civil War Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cold War USA). This gave him a nomination for a Nobel Peace Price in 1987.
Each of them brought the participants one or few steps closer to the truth which Rogers formulated briefly and insightfully as: “What is the most personal is the most universal”.
Encounter group is a way of finding oneself within and through the relation with others. It’s listening to one’s thoughts, emotions and feelings as deeply as one can listen to the other’s while respecting both. It is learning from this different way of communication, testing how much contact can be established.
- has a potential of bringing understanding of some of one’s problems, reactions, behaviors and to change them
- answers the need of being listened to, understood, of belonging, having support and being part of the community without any label on it
- facilitates the process of discovering the mysteries in us and in the world around us
- can resolve personal or public conflict by confrontation and real meeting of the sides of it