What is a Person-Centred Encounter Group?

Person-Centred Encounter Groups

Person-Centred Encounter groups, while simple in concept, can be difficult to define. And we do not want to dictate how any group will run. Yet there are some things we would like people to consider before joining a group.

  • These are Person-Centred Encounter Groups. Participants do not need to have had formal training in the Person-Centred Approach, but some understanding of the approach might be helpful.
  • The groups are self-facilitated. All participants share equal responsibility for facilitating the group. No one is required speak, and each person decides for themselves what they choose to share.
  • Encounter groups are not therapy groups.

Encounter Groups Are Not Therapy Groups

Person-Centred Encounter groups differ from therapy groups in three important ways:

  • The groups have vastly different aims. Therapy groups are set up to provide psychological healing, focussing on a specific issue. Encounter groups focus more on self-awareness and personal growth. There is no pre-defined focus or topic of conversation in an encounter group.
  • Therapy groups are generally facilitated by a qualified psychologist. That named person has responsibility for the safety and conduct of the group. Our encounter groups have no such facilitation. No specific individual has responsibility for the safety and conduct of the group. All members share that responsibility equally.
  • In therapy groups, the same group of individuals meets regularly for some weeks. Each session of our encounter group stands alone. Participants come and go, and there can be little or no continuity between sessions.

In Summary

There are many other types of encounter groups organised in diverse ways. Some might be more confrontational, while others might offer more diagnostic or treatment-based interventions. We hope the groups we offer will provide a space where people can explore their own experiences without psychological interpretation.


AACD (1970) Carl Rogers Conducts an Encounter Groups (1970) Parts 1 & 2. YouTube.
Rogers, C.R. (1970). Carl Rogers on encounter groups. New York. Harper Row.
Rogers, C.R. (1970). My way of facilitating a group. YouTube.
Rogers, C.R. (1971). My way of facilitating a group. The American Journal of Nursing. pp. 275-279.