Author Topic: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY  (Read 5211 times)

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Offline Ursus

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APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
« on: November 19, 2010, 11:58:42 AM »
Here's most of a Task Force Report on Encounter Groups put out by the American Psychiatric Association in 1970. Given its length, I'll be splitting it up into several posts. Feel free to interrupt installments with commentary...

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Task Force Report No. 1
ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY

Report of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Recent Developments in the Use of Small Groups

      Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., Chairman
      Jay W. Fidler, M.D.
      Jerome Frank, M.D.
      James Mann, M.D.
      Lindbergh Sata, M.D.
      Morris Parloff, Ph.D. (Consultant)
      Charles Seashore, Ph.D. (Consultant)
Recommended for publication by the Council on Research and Development

      Melvin Sabshin, M.D., Chairman
      Sidney Malitz, M.D.
      David A. Hamburg, M.D.
      Russell R. Monroe, M.D.
      Jonathan Cole, M.D.
      Walter W. Shervington, M.D. (Consultant)
    Approved for Publication by the Board of Trustees
      February 1970
__________________
Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 78424743
© Copyright 1970.


    AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
    1700 18th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009
      April 1970

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Task
Force
Reports


This is the first report in a new monograph series authorized by the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association to give wider dissemination to the findings of the Association’s many commissions, committees, and task forces that are called upon from time to time to evaluate the state of the art in a problem area of current concern to the  profession, to related disciplines, and often to the public.

Manifestly, the findings, opinions, and conclusions of Task Force Reports do not necessarily represent the views of the officer, trustees, or all members of the Association. Each report, however, does represent the thoughtful judgment and consensus of the task force of experts who formulated it and it is considered by the Trustees a useful and substantive contribution to the ongoing analysis and evaluation of problems, programs, issues, and practices in a given area of concern.

    Raymond W. Waggoner, M.D.
    President, APA, 1969-1970
    April, 1970

CONTENTS
    Encounter Groups: Description and Epidemiology · 2
    Relevance of the Encounter Group Movement for Psychiatry · 3
    The Meaning Behind the Surge of Popularity of Encounter Groups · 3
    Dangers of Encounter Groups · 4
    The Promise of Encounter Groups: Applicability to Clinical Practice · 6
    Implications for Psychiatry · 7
    References · 8

ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY

    Report of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on  Recent Developments in the Use of Small Groups.*

    The American Psychiatric Association task farce on Recent Developments in Small Groups was established to study the encounter group: its recent and rapid growth, its relevance to the field of psychiatry, its dangers, and its promise. This report selectively examines the encounter group field and discusses those aspects which are of direct relevance to the clinical concerns of the psychiatrist. No attempt was made, for example, to consider the important relationship of the encounter group to industry or to organized religion. Because the encounter group has diffuse sources and far ranging implications, the Chairman decided to include a broader professional representation than usually is found on American Psychiatric Association Task Forces. We begin and end this report with a reminder of its imperfection. Research in all aspects of small groups is sorely needed and until such research is performed, task force reports such as ours must remain tentative even though they are based on the best current available knowledge.[/list]
     __________
    *The authors wish to thank David Hamburg, M.D., Morton Lieberman,  Ph.D., and Simon Auster, M.D., for their helpful suggestions.


    Encounter Groups and Psychiatry
    © American Psychiatric Association
    « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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    Offline Ursus

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    Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
    « Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 12:21:23 PM »
    Do note: the following was not a typo on *my* part...  :seg:
    Perhaps it was a Freudian slip!

      The American Psychiatric Association task farce on Recent Developments in Small Groups was established to study the encounter group: its recent and rapid growth, its relevance to the field of psychiatry, its dangers, and its promise.[/list]
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Ursus

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      2 - Encounter Groups: Description and Epidemiology
      « Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 01:26:07 PM »
      American Psychiatric Association Task Force Report No. 1 - 'Encounter Groups and Psychiatry', continued...

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      Encounter Groups: Description and Epidemiology

      Over the last few years there has been a radical change and rapid growth of the small group field. This change has been so great that it is difficult to define the boundaries of the field and the related problematic issues. In the report we shall, for stylistic convenience, refer to all the new groups as encounter groups. No doubt we court semantic confusion by attempting to cluster a wide array of group approaches under a single rubric, for there has been such a spate of new techniques that no one term can characterize the field. Some examples of these approaches are: T-groups, sensory awareness groups, marathon groups, truth labs, psychological Karate groups, human relations groups, personal growth groups, psychodrama groups, human potential groups, etc. Too much flux in the field is present, however, and too little systematic information is available to determine whether each of these types represents a discrete technology. Therefore the collective term encounter group is used; however, when some comments seem clearly applicable to some approaches and not to others, we shall attempt to so indicate.

      Despite widely varying formats, most of the groups share some common features: they attempt to provide an intensive group experience; they are generally small enough (six to twenty members) to permit considerable face-to-face interaction; they focus on the here-and-now (the behavior of the members as it unfolds in the group); they encourage openness, honesty, inter-personal confrontation, and total self-disclosure; they encourage strong emotional expression; the participants are not labeled patients; the experience is not labeled "therapy," but nonetheless the groups strive to increase inner awareness and to change behavior. The goals of the groups vary: occasionally they are explicitly entertainment — to "turn on," to experience joy, etc. — but generally the goals involve some type of change — a change of behavior, a change of values, a change of being in the world.

      The number of encounter groups has proliferated to such a degree that Carl Rogers did not overstate the matter when in 1968 he called the intensive group experience movement "one of the most rapidly growing social phenomena in the United States."(14) In areas of the Western United States the small group movement, if it may be called that, seems to have reached near epidemic proportions. A recent informal and incomplete survey indicated that there are at least two hundred encounter groups in the immediate vicinity of Palo Alto, California. Many University of California campuses have a variety of encounter groups which are advertised on bulletin boards, in campus or underground newspapers. Some examples of recent advertisements (taken from a copy of an underground news paper):

      • Sensitivity training: A series of social sensitivity training sessions conducted by a qualified practitioner in the field of mental health beginning on... Separate 12-hour marathons will also be continued and the next will be on... For reservations call...
      • Social sensitivity games: Evening group encounters for self understanding, increased social awareness and the personal search for authenticity. Weekly 2-1/2 hour sessions conducted by qualified specialists in... Membership $25 per month after first complimentary session. Telephone ... and ask for "Games."
      • Group therapy for couples — married or not. Ambivalent about remaining together? Improve communication and enhance enjoyment through this daring, swinging, approach. Sat. Eves. from 9. For information call..., therapist.
      • Marathon encounter: For deeper Sensitivity and Self understanding. $20 per 24-hour session. Special student fee...
      • Marathons: A Series of social sensitivity marathons conducted by qualified specialists in the field of mental health. An opportunity to increase self awareness and see yourself as others see you. $25 per 12-hour session.
      • Free self awareness group. Self run. Mostly current and former college students... Sat. eves.
      • Yachting-Marathon Party: Weekend marathon. Cost $200, includes charter of yacht, meals etc.; exploration into self and nature. For details call...
      • Weekend Marathon for couples. The experience leads to new aspects of partnership and offers the possibility of a more meaningful communication on a psychic basis. Cost $160 per  couple. Call...
      [/size]
      Many of the encounter groups have no institutional backing and recruit participants by word of mouth or written advertisement. Some teachers lead encounter groups in the classroom, housewives lead groups at their homes for their friends or the friends of their adolescent offspring. Some have loose institutional affiliations; for example, one small free university offers approximately fifty encounter groups of various assortments every quarter; one highly structured institution, Synanon, offers an astonishing number of groups for non-addicts (square games): the Oakland, California branch alone has 1500 individuals participating weekly in groups and another 1000 on a waiting list.

      A very visible index of the encounter group movement is the rapid proliferation of "growth centers." Esalen, the prototype of these centers, has grown in a few years from a small organization offering occasional weekend groups to a year-round operation which publishes a massive catalogue of diverse group experiences at the parent organization in Big Sur, California, or at one of the several Esalen branches. It has been estimated that 50,000 individuals have participated in at least one of the programs, and Esalen maintains a current mailing list of 21,000.(18) Some seventy-five other "growth centers" (e.g. Aureon, Oasis, Kairos, Orizon, Topanga, etc.), many of them spinoffs modeled on the Esalen design, have arisen around the country. There is no firm confederation between these centers, but some loose organizational ties exist; in 1969 a meeting of the heads of the "growth centers" was held to discuss common problems, standardization of fees, fund raising, a shared pool of leaders, etc.

      Much more is written about encounter groups than is known about them; little systematic information is available about the leaders, the participants, the procedural norms, and the outcomes of encounter groups. The group leaders are extremely heterogeneous in their levels of competence, their training, their professional discipline, their goals and motivations. They include highly experienced, competent mental health professionals and social scientists, clinicians lacking requisite skills in group methods, self-styled gurus, laymen who have taken a training course at a growth center and laymen with no training who have merely participated in one or several groups. The motivation of the leaders varies widely: some experienced clinicians consider encounter methods to be valuable innovative techniques for accelerating the psychotherapeutic process; other leaders may have undergone a mystical conversion experience in a group and are earnestly attempting to help others "turn on" and achieve a similar state; others undoubtedly lead groups to satisfy personal needs for power, influence, sex, money or self-aggrandizement.

      Who are the group participants and why do they come? In the absence of systematic data we must rely on anecdotal reports and informal interviews with leaders. The university campus and free university groups obviously attract the adolescents and young adults; but by no means is this characteristic of the field at large — young and middle-aged adults account for the bulk of the participants of most growth center groups. The lower socio-economic class is under-represented, members stem from the middle and upper classes — for one thing the group fees are often not cheap. They come from many professions: the mental health fields are highly represented and clinicians come both to achieve greater personal growth and to learn techniques useful in their profession; engineers come in great profusion — the intimacy of the small group stands out in great contrast to the interpersonal sterility often present in their professional and personal lives; bored housewives, successful but driven executives, the lonely, the shy, the stimulation seekers — all are seen in the encounter group.

      The motivation of the participants varies widely. Some come in a search for intimacy, others for novelty, or for social or sexual contacts. There is no doubt, however, that a large number of participants attend for reasons which would have in the past prompted them to seek consultation with a mental health professional: A recent study(10) supports this conclusion: the students who signed up for encounter groups which were offered for college credit in a private California university had a significantly lower level of self esteem (measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale(16)) than matched control students. In fact, it might not be overstating the point to estimate that in California more troubled individuals seek help from these new groups than from traditional sources of psychotherapy! We hasten to note that the encounter group phenomenon is not limited to California; like many California-based social phenomena there is a rapid eastward spread. Growth centers have been established in several of the eastern states, the New York Times has reported on New Jersey nude marathon groups, and small groups are becoming increasingly common on  eastern campuses. The term "encounter group", originally suggested by Carl Rogers, is far more prevalent in the west; in the east, "sensitivity" group or 'T-group" is more often used.

      A longitudinal view of the small group movement adds perspective to a cross-sectional study. The first formally recorded encounter group occurred in 1946 during a short summer workshop in which community leaders were being trained to increase their effectiveness in implementing the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act. Through an act of serendipity, the group discovered that the immediate inspection and analysis of the members' in-group behavior was a powerful and effective technique of education. Interpersonal feedback about one's here-and-now behavior galvanized the members' interest and offered more opportunities to change attitudes and behavior than previous techniques of analysis of "back-home" work situations. The staff, including such prominent social psychologists as Kurt Lewin, Leland Bradford, Kenneth Benne and Ronald Lippit, fully understood the enormous potential of their discovery; subsequently, heavily researched laboratories were conducted at Bethel, Maine, under the auspices of the newly formed National Training Laboratories (NTL). In the past twenty years the NTL has grown from the fledgling part-time institute which sponsored the 1947 laboratory for sixty-seven participants to the present mammoth organization which, in 1967, held laboratories for over 2500 participants. The NTL currently employs over sixty-five full time professional and administrative staff and has a network of six hundred NTL trained group leaders. The laboratory participants come from many fields, but primarily from business, organized religion and mental health disciplines.

      An NTL human relations laboratory consists of several exercises including theory sessions, small group, large group, and inter-group exercises. The small group (human relations training group or sensitivity training group or T-group) which has always been the core of the laboratory is the prototype of almost all the various new groups flourishing today. It was not by design, however, that the NTL spawned the encounter group. The T-group has always been considered by the NTL as a technique of education, not a technique of therapy; the executive head of NTL has, on many occasions, made his position clear on this issue.(2) Many T-group leaders, however, especially a California contingent, gradually altered their definition of education. Human relations education became not only the acquisition of interpersonal skills but the total enhancement of the individual. The shift in emphasis is most clearly signalled by an influential article(21) written in 1962, which introduced the paradigm of the T-group as "group therapy for normals." Juxtapose the concept of "group therapy for normals" with the blurred, often arbitrary definitions of normality and the subsequent course of events becomes evident. Some additional social factors which contribute to the present form and structure of encounter groups are the revolt against the establishment, the decrying of the need for training, the focus on the "now", the "doing of your own thing", and the emphasis on authenticity, meditation and total transparency. (A detailed description of the development of the new groups and their relationship to therapy groups is presented in a recent text.(22))

      A clear distinction must be made between responsibly led NTL sensitivity groups and many of the newer, "wild" groups proliferating today. Although both offer an intensive group experience, the "wild" groups make no distinction between education and therapy, and are often led by untrained or irresponsible leaders who are not subject to scrutiny by any professional body.


      Encounter Groups and Psychiatry
      © American Psychiatric Association
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Whooter

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 05:15:26 PM »
      "Encounter Groups" I remember these in the 1970's they were a big hit with the progressive crowd!  Self proclaimed "normal people" or people without a need for therapy would pay to attend these groups to awaken themselves or experience a short term thrill, similar to taking a drug.  Everyone was into finding new ways to get high or expand the mind without much work.  The artsy types would take these and would open them up to new ideas and expression to help with their artwork or writers block.
      I believe these morphed into corporate seminars designed to motivate their employees and were later found to be also useful in helping people with addiction and easing the effects of PTSD of child abuse.



      ...
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Ursus

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 06:09:38 PM »
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      "Encounter Groups" I remember these in the 1970's they were a big hit with the progressive crowd!

      ...I believe these morphed into corporate seminars designed to motivate their employees and were later found to be also useful in helping people with addiction and easing the effects of PTSD of child abuse.
      Really? Some of us who experienced versions of these "groups" as children ... now suffer from decades of PTSD. Some might call that child abuse. Some do call that child abuse.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline RTP2003

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 06:14:24 PM »
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      "Encounter Groups" I remember these in the 1970's they were a big hit with the progressive crowd!  Self proclaimed "normal people" or people without a need for therapy would pay to attend these groups to awaken themselves or experience a short term thrill, similar to taking a drug.  Everyone was into finding new ways to get high or expand the mind without much work.  The artsy types would take these and would open them up to new ideas and expression to help with their artwork or writers block.
      I believe these morphed into corporate seminars designed to motivate their employees and were later found to be also useful in helping people with addiction and easing the effects of PTSD of child abuse.



      ...

      Encounter groups are bullshit.  Smoking marijuana will give all of the benefits mentioned with none of the mindfucks.  And it is the safest, most effective method of treating PTSD known to medical science.

      Oh yeah, I almost forgot-----Hey Whooter----Eat a bag of dicks.  Eat all the dicks.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
      RTP2003 fought in defense of the Old Republic

      Offline heretik

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #6 on: November 20, 2010, 06:30:35 PM »
      Quote from: "Ursus"
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      "Encounter Groups" I remember these in the 1970's they were a big hit with the progressive crowd!

      ...I believe these morphed into corporate seminars designed to motivate their employees and were later found to be also useful in helping people with addiction and easing the effects of PTSD of child abuse.
      Really? Some of us who experienced versions of these "groups" as children ... now suffer from decades of PTSD. Some might call that child abuse. Some do call that child abuse.

      It is abuse. Was yesterday and still is today. Especially when dealing with children who were not looking for a new experience, they were just trying to deal with the one in front of them at 13 yrs. old.
       
      Thanks good work, Ursus.
      « Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 09:24:32 PM by heretik »

      Offline Whooter

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #7 on: November 20, 2010, 06:33:56 PM »
      Quote from: "Ursus"
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      "Encounter Groups" I remember these in the 1970's they were a big hit with the progressive crowd!

      ...I believe these morphed into corporate seminars designed to motivate their employees and were later found to be also useful in helping people with addiction and easing the effects of PTSD of child abuse.
      Really? Some of us who experienced versions of these "groups" as children ... now suffer from decades of PTSD. Some might call that child abuse. Some do call that child abuse.

      If you read through the task Force report you will see that Encounter groups can be dangerous depending on how they are applied.  They can range from 90 minutes (original design) to several days.  Just because people were hurt by them doesn't mean they are all hurtful.  You probably attended an encounter group which was mismanaged.  The original groups tested in the 1970s showed that these group encounters could help people with PTSD of abuses they suffered as a child.

      Quote from: "RTP2003"
      Smoking marijuana will give all of the benefits mentioned with none of the mindfucks.

      I agree with this!!

      Quote from: "RTP2003"
      -Eat a bag of dicks. Eat all the dicks.

      You are a very strange person and this is a very strange expression.  I never heard of this insult before.  Do you suffer from castration complex?



      ...
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Ursus

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 06:48:09 PM »
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      Quote from: "RTP2003"
      Oh yeah, I almost forgot-----Hey Whooter----Eat a bag of dicks. Eat all the dicks.
      You are a very strange person and this is a very strange expression.  I never heard of this insult before.  Do you suffer from castration complex?
      RTP may have been referring to a bag of Gummi Worms.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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      Offline Samara

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #9 on: November 20, 2010, 06:51:31 PM »
      When I was at CEDU, we were forced into encounter groups led by indoctrinated adults... to participate in psychodramas that had nothing to do with our own personal trajectories. It was scripted, it was coerced, it was artificial, it was brutal, and it engendered a false sense of enlightenment that tragically prodded us AWAY from our authentic selves.

      I can think of many places "smoke and mirrors" belong - but not in a "therapeutic" setting.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Whooter

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #10 on: November 20, 2010, 07:14:26 PM »
      Quote from: "Samara"
      When I was at CEDU, we were forced into encounter groups led by indoctrinated adults... to participate in psychodramas that had nothing to do with our own personal trajectories. It was scripted, it was coerced, it was artificial, it was brutal, and it engendered a false sense of enlightenment that tragically prodded us AWAY from our authentic selves.

      I can think of many places "smoke and mirrors" belong - but not in a "therapeutic" setting.

      That is unfortunate, Samara, but we cant conclude that "all" Encounter Groups are this way.  I think CEDU was abusive (not encounter Groups).

      If CEDU forced you to listen to Frank Sinatra albums at full volume until it caused hearing loss I dont think we could conclude that Frank Sinatra is damaging or abusive.
      I think encounter groups can be dangerous but they dont have to be.  They can be helpful also.



      ...
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Whooter

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #11 on: November 20, 2010, 07:21:25 PM »
      Quote from: "Ursus"
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      Quote from: "RTP2003"
      Oh yeah, I almost forgot-----Hey Whooter----Eat a bag of dicks. Eat all the dicks.
      You are a very strange person and this is a very strange expression.  I never heard of this insult before.  Do you suffer from castration complex?
      RTP may have been referring to a bag of Gummi Worms.

      Well , I guess that interpretation I could swallow.  The dick part may have been Freudian in nature.  I wont take it personally.



      ...
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Samara

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #12 on: November 20, 2010, 11:34:03 PM »
      Well paint me a picture of a beneficial encounter experience.  Everything that happens.
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline Whooter

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #13 on: November 21, 2010, 07:09:44 AM »
      Quote from: "Samara"
      Well paint me a picture of a beneficial encounter experience.  Everything that happens.

      My wife could probably best describe the details of how these things work.  She attended one in the early 1980's.  People come out of them with a fresh perspective on life and their relationships.  I dont think the change was anything long lasting and that is why the encounter groups couldn't exist on their own as a solution.  They needed to be paired up with ongoing therapy to have a lasting effect but the encounter was a big first step.  I think it was also found that if a person had a psychosis of some type it could be harmful to them.



      ...
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

      Offline none-ya

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      Re: APA Task Force Report: ENCOUNTER GROUPS AND PSYCHIATRY
      « Reply #14 on: November 21, 2010, 08:35:17 AM »
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      Quote from: "Ursus"
      Quote from: "Whooter"
      Quote from: "RTP2003"
      Oh yeah, I almost forgot-----Hey Whooter----Eat a bag of dicks. Eat all the dicks.
      You are a very strange person and this is a very strange expression.  I never heard of this insult before.  Do you suffer from castration complex?
      RTP may have been referring to a bag of Gummi Worms.

      Well , I guess that interpretation I could swallow.  The dick part may have been Freudian in nature.  I wont take it personally.



      ...

      http://www.eatabagofdicks.com/


      Why is it that my responses are just moved at will. I am simply commenting on what I read here.Curiosity over the origin of the phrase, nothing more. Seems things have been a little slow around here lately,and administrator needs something to do. well here is some more

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.p ... of%20dicks
      « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
      ?©?€~₯@