The Art of Encouragement

The Art of Encouragement

Timothy D. Evans, Ph.D. & Cameron W. Meredith, Ph.D.


The purpose of this workshop is to explore the use of encouragement. General principles of encouragement as well as characteristics of an encouraging person will be presented. The differences between encouragement and discouragement will be emphasized. How to encourage others as well as self and how to become a more encouraging leader will be discussed. A model for conducting encouragement through strength assessment will be presented. Workshop members will be encouraged to participate and contribute.

Encouragement is the fundamental concept found in today's Third Force psychology.  It is particularly useful for those who already value cooperation, mutual respect, shared responsibility, equality, and belonging. Encouragement activates a child’s social interest while developing their psychological hardiness. Conversely, discouragement is made to order for the development of unhealthy people.

Encouragement is most useful when a concept of responsibility is based on involvement and cooperation rather than unquestionable obedience. It is the belief that the more involved people are in a cooperative atmosphere, the more responsible they become; the more responsible they become, the more they feel that they belong; and the more they feel they belong, the more courage they have to participate and contribute.  Today we need more creative risk-takers who know when to say "yes" as well as when to question. We have little use for puppets or reverse puppets.


I.        Encouragement in general

A. Accepting others and self as being fine as they are.
B. Mutual trust and respect.
C. Freedom and choice.
D. Hope and faith rather than expectations.

II.      Characteristics of a fully-functioning encouraged human beings

A. Positive and adequate view of self.
B. Positive and adequate view of others-strong sense of   identification with humankind
C. Courage to be open to experience- little fear of mistakes
D. High degree of "social interest" and interdependence.

Encouragement Discouragement
A. Hopeful view of nature of people Rather hopeless view of nature of people
B. Purposeful behavior with individual essentially in charge Behavior is caused and we are victims of outside forces and the past
C. Satisfaction comes from work, acquisition learning, and belonging-intrinsic motivations Satisfaction from rewards and extrinsic motivation
D. Influence without strings Control, force, and fear
E. Equality as human beings Superior - inferior relationships
F. Chatting-talking with Advising telling to
G. Effective listening Ineffective listening
H. Recognition, acceptance, and appreciation Moralistic praise and approval - bribing
I. Being ourselves, fine as we are Pleasing and proving
J. Challenge, stimulate Pressure, threat, coercion
K. Invite, offer choices Command boss
L. Participating, as equal humans Sitting in judgment
M. Cooperative atmosphere-helping and being useful Competitive atmosphere - winning or losing; success of failure
N. Value and use emotions Fear and control emotions
O. Uniqueness and creativity Obeying and conforming
P. Recognizes effort and improvement Recognizes only well - done tasks
Q. Courage to be imperfect Perfection - fear of mistakes
R. Freedom with order Order without freedom
S. Moving towards and with others Moving against or away from others
T. Natural Consequences Rewards and Punishment


We can learn to be more helpful and encouraging. Encouragement is made to order for  helping all of us become more fully-functioning and interdependent human beings. It could mean the very survival of our way of life.


1. Dinkmeyer & Losoncy (1980). The Encouragement Book. Prentice-Hall.

2. Dreikurs, R. (1971). Social Equality: The Challenge of Today. Henry Regency.

3. Braughton, D. & Evans, T. (1996).Youth Development Starts With Encouragement. Caring Magazine.

4. Evans, T. D. (1989). The Art of Encouragement. University of Georgia

5. Evans, T. D. (1995). The Encouraging Teacher. Gazda, G. Human Relations  Development: A Manual for Educators. Allyn and Bacon.

6. Evans, T.D. (1996). Encouragement: The Key to Classroom Reform. Educational Leadership.

7. Evans, T. D. (1997). Tools of Encouragement. Reaching Today’s Youth.

8. Evans, T. D. (1997).Development and initial validation of the encouragement scale educational form. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development.

9. Meredith, C. & Evans T. (1990). Encouragement in the family.  Individual Psychology.

10. Perceiving, Behaving, and Becoming. ASCD Yearbook. A primer for Third Force psychology with chapters by Maslow, Rogers, Combs, Meredith.



Download this article as a printable PDF document.

Contact Me

1111 N Westshore Blvd. Suite 213

Carter and Evans Marriage & Family Therapy


Carter & Evans Marriage Family Therapy


9:00 am-6:00 pm


9:00 am-6:00 pm


9:00 am-6:00 pm


9:00 am-6:00 pm


9:00 am-6:00 pm