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THE SEARCH FOR EXPANDED CONSCIOUSNESS With the person-centered approach - page 2 / 14

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My History with person-centered groups

I attended my first person-centered group in the Adirondack Mountains in 1977.

That group was facilitated by Carl Rogers and a staff that included Natalie Rogers,

originator of experiments with large groups using the tenets of the person-centered

approach. There were over one hundred participants who came from various places in the

world as well as the U.S. We met for sixteen days in the Adirondack Mountains at the

former Vanderbilt Camping estate that housed the National Center for Humanistic

Education.

It was an astounding, chaotic, and unsettling meeting that yielded events that

many of us called ‘miraculous’. I was genuinely transformed by the experience, yet found

it difficult to describe to curious friends and family. The following year, and for a number

of years after that, I became a staff member, with Carl Rogers and other facilitators, of

large groups that drew participants primarily from the East coast of the United States.

Each group was remarkable in its own right, but, again, participants found it difficult to

explain what made these meetings so life-changing. Most of them indicated that they had

“learned more than I’ve learned in my whole life.” Still, they had difficulty expressing

their learnings and understanding why their experience was so powerful. I was puzzled to

hear continuing reports of mystery and magic rather than any logical explanation for the

transformative quality of these groups.

The Indepth Learning Program in the person-centered approach. In 1980, two

person-centered colleagues and I, in conversation with Carl Rogers, developed a process

where serious students of the person-centered approach could gather to experience and

reflect on its theory and practice. We were careful to remain true to the tenets of the

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