Trusting the process? Anxiety-provoking situations as challenges to the symbolization and processing of experience in person-centered groups

Craig Hutchison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The person-centered approach lacks a coherent theory of groups. Drawing on Rogers’ theories of personality and therapy and his writing on group work, as well as on the works of Gendlin, Warner and others, this paper examines the group facilitator’s task in relation to the members’ symbolization and processing of experience. Groups can present anxiety-provoking situations where members may feel temporarily overwhelmed in the face of feedback and confrontation which challenges their self-concept, resulting in confusion, stress, flooding or shutdown. In these situations their normal capacities for processing may falter and members can experience a degree of “fragile process.” The facilitator’s responsibility, it is suggested, is to actively support the development of a cohesive group climate characterized by the core conditions wherein members will engage with one another in a constructive and facilitative manner, to assist (when needed) in affect regulation, and to help provide an optimal reflective environment in which members can symbolize and process their experiencing optimally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages14
JournalPerson-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • person-centered
  • group
  • processing
  • symbolization
  • experiencing
  • facilitation

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