Development of Mutual Empathy through Experiential Growth Groups: A Mixed Methods Case Study

Yanhong Liu, Peitao Zhu, Dan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Grounded in the relational-cultural theory (RCT), this study aimed to illuminate mutual empathy bounded by semester-long experiential growth groups (EGGs). Following the case study design, we collected data from reflective journals, participant-observation, and quantitative surveys of 14 EGG participants. Findings illuminated mutual empathy as an interpersonal process capturing participants’ authentic self-representation, impact on others and the relationship, and their ability to be moved by and move with others. Quantitative results corroborated qualitative findings and yielded further insights concerning individualized trajectories of perceived mutual empathy within EGGs. Implications for training, practice, and research were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalJournal for Specialists in Group Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Mutual empathy
  • case study design
  • experiential growth groups
  • interpersonal process
  • relational-cultural theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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