The Round Table Discussion on “What is effective in the therapeutic process?” was held at the 1956 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. It was moderated by Bella S. Van Bark, M.D., who outlined in her introduction the existence of a variety of opinions on what kind of help leads to effective therapy. Effectiveness is defined in terms of personality change and growth. Dr. Van Bark acknowledged that different theoretical approaches would consider different factors of primary importance in the effectiveness of the process: doctor-patient relationship; personality of the therapist; the activation of the constructive forces in the patient; diminishing of the destructive forces in the patient. She focused the discussion by posing some poignant questions regarding the forces at play in the therapeutic process.

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Correspondence to Bella S Van Bark.

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The paper was originally presented at the Round Table Discussion, “What is effective in the therapeutic process?” at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Chicago, Illinois on May 1, 1956. Panel was moderated by: Bella S. Van Bark, MD. Presenters were: Elizabeth Kilpatrick, M.D., Lewis Wolberg, M.D., Marianne Horney Eckardt, M.D., Frederick A. Weiss, M.D., Leslie H. Farber, M.D., Louis E. DeRosis, M.D. and Silvano Arieti, M.D. This article was first published in the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1957, 17:3–33, and is republished here.

1Bella S. Van Bark, M.D. (1905—1992) was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, an esteemed member of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, author of important papers, a Charter Member of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, founded in 1956, and a President of the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, NYC.

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Van Bark, B. WHAT IS EFFECTIVE IN THE THERAPEUTIC PROCESS? A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION. Am J Psychoanal 75, 173–175 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ajp.2015.4

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  • factors in the therapeutic process
  • constructive forces
  • evaluation of psychotherapeutic process
  • rational and the explicit in the process
  • nonverbal and the implicit in the process
  • therapist/patient relationship
  • therapeutic alliance
  • working alliance