Implications on Inclusion of Individuals of Minority Status In Person-Centered Encounter Groups


Poole, Kathryn S., Culp, Robert A., Paul, Gurpreet, and Dean, Tim


This article explores and discusses the experiences of individuals of minority status in person-centered encounter groups. Although encounter groups are inherently person-centered and open to expression ofhuman experience, the authors ofthis paper have witnessed an emotional "shutting down" in some individuals of minority status who attempt to speak of their experiences as individuals of minority status. Although we contend the core conditions are sufficient for these individuals to have a meaningful experience in an encounter group, we believe not all members experience the core conditions and thus the conditions are not always being met; in particular the condition of empathy. We explore why empathy may not be communicated or received by both individuals ofmajority and minority statuses, respectively. We examine and discuss the concept oftopical groups, as well as the potential of implementing person-centered facilitators who could aid in maintaining the core conditions during especially vulnerable exchanges where members in the group are having difficulty experiencing and communicating the core conditions.