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Mar 26 13 8:20 AM

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Possible North-West Encounter Group, and an experiment in organisation.

Dear all,

This is an email I've just put out. If anyone is interested in either, or both, just drop me a line at At this point, I don't know where this is going . I'm posting in 'open house' but realise that maybe more people receive email notifications to other areas here.

Dear all,

My apologies if this email is unwanted. I created this mailing list from my personal emails and address book, so please ignore it if either of the following is of no interest.

Firstly, I am wondering about getting together a low-cost encounter group style weekend somewhere in the North-West of England, as I have mentioned to a few people.

Secondly, I am wondering if anyone is interested in joining an experiment in attempting a Person-Centred Approach (PCA) to forming a new organisation, whose objectives are to be decided by those who show interest but will probably involve raising awareness of the PCA.

If you are interested in either, please reply and let me know, or if you think someone else may be interested, please forward this email on.

My apologies again for possibly intruding. Unless you reply, I will not use this mailing list to contact you again.


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Mar 29 13 10:23 PM

Re: Possible North-West Encounter Group, and an experiment .

Apparently Mark received 80 responses to his initial email/post, so he has had to quickly move from

I don't know where this is going

to some kind of response and tentative proposal for taking the whole thing forward.

Read on...


Dear all,

Thanks for responding to my original email (see post above) and showing some interest. Again, as I said in the first email, I am happy for this to be forwarded to anyone you feel may be interested.



The Next Move.
I am really scared of doing anything that will put people off being a part of this, and I realise that long emails, and too many emails can be off-putting. I hope people can bear with me for a little longer.

What I want to do now is to try and get everyone able to talk to each other directly (see below), and offer some sort of response to the questions and comments some of you offered (see further below), for anyone that may want that.

There are a couple of questions to which I need your response (see the two * paragraphs which follow almost immediately).

Talking To Each Other (there is a privacy issue here).
Whilst I would love to meet up face-to-face for an initial meeting, my sense is that this involves cost and effort, and that some will not be able to attend. I therefore suggest that this starts off as an online, virtual, email group. I therefore need a couple of answers here:

* Are you okay if everyone who expressed interest (over 80 and growing) may know your name and email address? Please let me know if that is okay for you, or if you would prefer to remain somewhat hidden.

* Is anyone willing to help me in getting some sort of email group (or host) going, and maybe ensure that people can maintain the level of privacy they prefer? If you are willing to help with this, are you okay that others also helping can see who you are and know your email address?

For those not familiar with email groups, it works quite simply. An email address such as (this is an example, an actual one is yet to be setup) is created. If anyone sends an email to it, then it is forwarded to everyone else in the group. They can then send a reply to that address, and so an ongoing group email discussion is possible.

Sometimes, the number of emails can get excessive, but there will be an option to compact them into one a day, or week, or similar. All the emails for the day or week then come as a single email, known as a ‘digest’.

Response To Questions And Comments (Condensed).
What follows is an attempt to respond to all the questions and comments I got. I am sorry to seem somewhat impersonal just now, but my intent is really to work as a group and for me to be a member like everyone else. Ideally, I’d like to offer nothing right now, but I felt some of you might want answers sooner rather than later.

No Time To Offer Just Now...
I am aware that there will be different levels of time and energy offered. My hope is that those who maybe offer more energy remain considerate of what everybody may offer, and that everyone might find a little time here and there to chip something in. I hope those who feel unable to offer anything just now can bear with us as we get this set up, and then take whatever ‘background’ option emerges.

Basic Concept.
My sense is that this is an experiment in working together. Normally, a small number of people initiate and organise something, and then others sign up to it. My hope here is that as many people as possible are on board from the start, and thus the result is more of a network or community effort.

I have no fixed concept of what might result, but I hope for ongoing openness and flexibility, and something that will help raise awareness of, and involvement in, the Person-Centred Approach (PCA). That said, I am hopeful that people unfamiliar with the PCA will also find value in being a part of this group and that there is a high level of inclusivity.

My own motivation here is largely to increase the level of community activity in and around the PCA of which I can then be a part.

The Mailing List.
Some of you asked why it was I had your email address. I created the mailing list as a temporary measure by hacking through my contacts and past emails. Within this were a couple of ventures I have been involved in, including the organisation of the odd encounter weekend, and the open letter to BACP relating to HPC regulation (which over 300 people signed).

I simply wanted to try and set this off with as many people as possible, and as little pre-planning as possible. I have no intention of ever using the original mailing list again, having made initial contact with over 80 people who offered some kind of interest.

I’m sorry not to respond individually for now, I’ll be happy to discuss anything ‘in group’.

Encounter Group, and Experiment.
Originally, I was intending to organise an encounter group in the NW of England, near where I live in Chester . I increasingly felt like I didn’t want to make all the decisions, and eventually shifted to the idea of experimenting. My sense is that a part of forming a new organisation (network, community, forum, whatever) might later result in an encounter group in the NW (and maybe elsewhere).

I realise some have expressed interest in either on or the other. My sense is of them being linked for now - that encounter groups may result from this experiment, and that the experiment itself is maybe becoming an online encounter group of sorts.

Initially, this is an email based group and therefore free from cost, and thus there is no membership fee or anything at present. I do not intend this to be any real money-making venture for me or anyone else.

The last encounter group I was involved in organising worked on the idea that nothing gets spent until there is enough interest shown by making a fully-refundable contribution. I feel it worked well, resulted in a low-cost event with the minimum of financial risk, and might do the same for any future events.

Power Issues.
In initiating this, I used my power to do so. I do not intend to maintain any position of power and so all I am doing is suggesting we initiate an email forum where everyone can talk to each other.

I realise that I have maybe already offered some ‘shape’ to this experiment, in suggesting ‘forming a new organisation’ whose objectives ‘will probably involve raising awareness of the PCA’, and that we get talking to each other. For me, all of these suggestions are open to question, I am more interested in how ‘we’ take this forward.

Existing Organisations.
Some concerns have been offered over this experiment having a negative effect, maybe by increasing fragmentation within the existing Person-Centred community by detracting from existing organisations. My sense is to try to complement existing organisations, and maybe raise awareness of how they might change in order to attract greater membership and support. As some will know, I have been, and remain, an active member of BAPCA, WAPCEPC and other organisations. For me, this is an experiment and I am quite happy for any existing organisation to learn from it - even to the point where forming any new organisation becomes redundant.

Ideas Over How To Move Forwards.
My sense is to get together as an email group then ideas can be thrown in, and taken up according to interest etc..

Further Details On Either An Encounter Group Or The Experiment.
As might already be clear, I do not really have any further details to offer at present. For me, this is all about what the group goes for.

As with the original email (see original post, above), I am happy for this to be forwarded to anyone you feel may be interested. I look forward to maybe meeting each of you in and around the online group.



Paul | Forum Admin 'Team'
All replies welcome - registration required.

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