Table of Contents


Chapter 6


The world has been descending into a slough of alienation and impersonalism. Once upon a time, a person's physical home remained unchanged during his lifetime; his family was extensive and he could relate to his parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins on intimate (if not always "good") terms; his job was near his residence; his education (such as it was) was not a fragmentalized mishmash; TV hypnotism was unknown; churches (for good or evil) had personal meaning; food and drink were not pulverized, processed, and packaged into unrecognizable forms; games and play were not monstrous commercializations; the experienced outside world was not overwhelmingly strange and full of petty and large hostilities.

This has changed; and the old order cannot be recalled. Humans must now use all their genius to invent and apply new group forms to enable them to survive, to confront and reshape social change, and enrich their relations with their fellow humans.

The immensity of the problem has engendered and given its mission to the Center for Rapport Psychology at the University of the New World. By its establishment at Haute-Nendaz, the University intends to create or restore the human dimension to people for the benefit of their living, working, and playing. In some instances, the effect will be restorative; in the largest sense, however, the Center's mission is to normalize human relations on a level of joy and competence. It seeks to create rapport, in the best and most human sense.

The intensive group experience is one of the most effective means developed for facilitating learning, change, and growth in individuals and institutions. Such groups, variously known as T-groups, laboratory training, sensitivity training, and encounter groups have been essayed extensively for the past twenty-five years both within and without institutional structures (corporations, government agencies, professional organizations) and, more recently, in private and public schools as well. To help the University of the New World offer its Members a spectrum of opportunities that will enhance their personal and interpersonal life and work experiences, fully developing their human potential through participation, training and research in rapport groups: such is the Center's mission.

The basic rapport group usually consists of eight to fourteen members and the leader or facilitator. The group uses verbal and non-verbal exercises and encounters, and typically has no set agenda. It uses the feelings and interactions of group members as the focus of attention. This allows for a maximum of freedom for personal expression, the getting in touch with feelings, and interpersonal communication. Emphasis is on open, honest and direct interactions among members in an atmosphere that supports the dropping of defenses and social masks characteristic of normal academic relationships. Rapport group members come to know themselves and each other more quickly, deeply, and fully than is possible in the usual academic situations; ordinarily, a strong feeling of group solidarity develops. The resulting climate of openness, risk-taking, honesty, and trust displaces feelings of defensiveness, rigidity, and mistrust. Members can identify and alter self-defeating attitudes and behavior patterns, and explore and adopt more innovative and constructive ones. In the end, most members can experience daily life and work more pleasurably than before, on campus and off.



The opportunity is given every entering student Member to gain the advantages of intensive rapport group experience through participation in a three-week residential studio, at the Rapport Psychology Center at Haute-Nendaz. As many students as possible will be accommodated at the Center during the session's opening month while remaining students will join the three-week studio during later sections of the session. Students in the introductory studio will live, work, play, study, and eat together. In addition to group work, opportunities will be provided for literature, film and tape studies, and for explorations of the life and the environment of Haute-Nendaz.



Students demonstrating special motivation and capacities to engage in further training will be accepted into the Center's Leadership Training Workshop. This Workshop is designed to provide the heightened and extended learning experiences needed for members to become group leaders and facilitators. Members satisfactorily completing the workshop and other University requirements may receive the University's Certificate in Rapport Group Psychology. Part of the training may involve work as facilitator-aides in the introductory rapport group studio, in an ongoing study of rapport groups, and in other Center-sponsored groups and laboratories.


The organization of the University in learning settings by studios, rather than classrooms and courses, provides opportunities not only for the group-learning process to be strengthened by enhanced personal expression and interpersonal communication among studio members, but also offers a laboratory for the study of the problems of teaching and learning. The resources of the Rapport Psychology Center are made available to studios whose member' wish to arrange for Rapport group experiences which focus on their studio's life and work. Thus, students and teachers both may make use of the intensive group experience design to confront both interpersonal relationships problems and problems on educational development and innovation within their studios' own field of learning. Such rapport groups for the studios may be formed on an ad-hoc basis or may be arranged to occur on a weekly or other periodic basis, depending on the needs and desires of the individual studios and their members.


The Center undertakes research into its own groups and in the field generally of intensive group processes, as these are facilitated at university and at other centers for the development of human potential in the United States, England and Europe. Opportunities are offered for undergraduate and graduate study projects in these processes as they bear upon individual and institutional behavioral structures.

The Center's staff consists of University faculty members who have strong backgrounds in psychology and social sciences and have received special training in the conduct of encounter and rapport groups. Most have had extensive experience working with therapy groups and have participated in programs at other humanpotential growth centers such as the National Training Laboratories and Esalen Institute. The Center's co-directors are Rudyard Propst, psychologist, organizer and consultant to the Illinois and New York State mental rehabilitation agencies and Edward de Grazia who has been Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University, has directed a number of research programs in the field of psychiatry and the law, and is cofounder of Cathexis of Washington D.C. Charles Seashore, pioneer in encounter and T-group dynamics and training, is developing leader-training programs at the Center.


Table of Contents