encounter group en·coun·ter group (ěn-koun'tər)
A psychotherapy group in which the participants try to increase their sensitivity and gain insight into their emotions by expressing their own emotions and responding to the emotions of others in the group.
A method of psychotherapy developed in the 1960s, in which a small group of people engages in intensive interactions to increase self-awareness and improve interpersonal relations. Group members are encouraged to be completely honest and open, reacting to one another with their immediate feelings, while exploring the entire range of emotions.
Note: Often associated with the radical social upheaval of the 1960s, encounter groups have been criticized for their potentially damaging effects, because many groups are led by people not professionally trained in psychotherapy.