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October 27, 1969

Hazards of T-Groups

JAMA. 1969;210(4):719. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160300059018

In our psychologically oriented society participation in T-groups, or sensitivity training sessions, seems to be waxing, as evidenced by the many newspaper and magazine articles describing them. Their purpose is supposedly to help people to become "more sensitive" to themselves and to others. T-groups have been sponsored by public and private agencies, by universities, by private industry, and by others. Although a great deal of money is frequently involved in running one of these programs, there has been relatively little research into their value or their hazards.

Gottschalk1 has described a group in which he participated in which six of the 11 people participating had psychopathological reactions to the group. In another T-group he observed, five of ten participants had "acute pathological emotional responses, including one frank psychotic reaction and one borderline acute psychotic withdrawal reaction."1 Jaffe and Scherl,2 reporting in a recent issue of the Archives