T-Group Therapy or Sensitivity Training is a psychological technique in which group discussions are used to help group members increase awareness in themselves and others. This is used in various environments such as encounter groups and human relations but the goals will vary. The leader of the T-Group is an individual who ensures that the environment is safe and secure for participants being that they should feel comfortable coming to the group and expressing their feelings with others. The discussions during training are brought up by members of the group and leaders will encourage individual thinking throughout the sessions. Sensitivity training increases individuality and interpersonal communication. This is a method that branched from psychotherapy and can be used toward many social problems to initiate trust and communication between members.

Goals of T-Group Therapy

Each group has its own goal and progress speed. The members who are attending the group will all benefit from self expression and interaction with others. The goal of T-group is to initiate social interaction, individuality and confidence in expression. The leader does not decide upon the topic of conversation. Since the members choose what is going to be talked about they will participate more and express feelings that pertain to the therapy matter. As sessions go on each member of the group will gain self awareness. They will learn from the other members who also express their feelings toward the subject matter. If controversy is present within the group this will only increase the social interaction and allow members to gain more self awareness.

When is T-Group Therapy Used?

T-Group or Sensitivity Training is used and offered by organizations as a way for people within a community to learn about each other and themselves for the purpose of acceptance and awareness. The subjects of these groups are going to vary – they can be of any matter as long as it is presented for progressive reasons. It is used when participants put themselves in the shoes of others so that they can learn how to relate to them and understand their belief system or way of doing things. It may be used toward multicultural and gender sensitivity subjects. Regardless, each person within the group is participating so that they can have a deeper understanding of others and what they believe themselves.

How T-Group Therapy Work

The sessions start by uncovering an interaction that tends to spark interest and emotions amongst a diverse group of people. As a mechanism to reintegrate individuals the topic often pertains to an issue that separates them from each other. During the sessions the conductor of the group will only be present to ensure that the environment is safe and comfortable for the members. Once they are present the topic of discussion will be chosen by the members themselves. The subject may be based off of a comment that a group member has made or one that has been suggested in a workplace.

During the session the freedom of speech and social interaction contributes to an intense and life-altering experience that opens up the minds of those who were often sure of their own beliefs before the discussion. People will grow sensitive toward the subject manner when they hear opposing opinions and experiences. They may get to know others with opposing ideas and try to understand their emotions and why they are adamant about them. The personal growth is defined by the members of the group before training starts and most people who participate are looking for a way to grow and learn in terms of interpersonal effectiveness. If the group is a representation of a company or organization it is likely that it will contribute growth and integration to them which in turn improves their functionality.

Participant discussions are the main focus of training and it usually starts with the instructor asking group members to bring up their own concerns or issues that are being faced within the organization. The only time that the instructor participates is when they are encouraging group members to express their own perspective or provide solutions to a given conflict. This allows for smooth communication within a community. In T-group the participants may or may not perform exercises in which they role play for the purpose of finding effective ways to handle difficult situations without aggression.

Criticism of T-Group Therapy

There are critics who disagree with Sensitivity Training because they believe that it can actually intensify a prejudice rather than resolve it. Being that this is held in many workplaces in regards to legal matters some believe that it highlights the issue more than if it were to be repressed.


Encounter and sensitivity groups. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1978/04/encounter-and-sensitivity-groups

What are the goals of sensitivity training?. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_goals_of_sensitivity_training

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