A deep strain of individualism permeates American culture, rooted in the political-economic ideology of capitalism. The ideal of a self-governing individual is promoted, independent from social, historical, and cultural forces, whose thoughts and emotions are located within the construct of a masterful self, ready to be filled and expanded. This article traces the influence of self-liberatory ideology in American group psychotherapy through the religious revivalist and Mental Hygiene movements. The "progressivism" of pioneering group theorists is examined in terms of revisionist psychology and self-liberatory practice. Psychodrama and T-groups are demonstrated to be precursors to the encounter group movement in which the belief in self-liberation reached its zenith. Early group analytic approaches are seen to eschew transpersonal and group dynamic processes.