In his contribution to the 1956 Roundtable, Leslie H. Farber asserts that what lies beyond theory and training is the ability of the therapist to know the patient, not just know about the person. This provides the possibility of meeting, the mutual encounter, which Buber calls the I-Thou relationship. Farber also explores the relationship of meeting to transference and talks about the importance of both speaking truthfully and the mutuality of the relationship to be defined in terms of human experience.

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  1. 1.

    Around the time of these Round Table discussions in 1956, Dr. Leslie H. Farber, then Chairman of the Washington (D.C.) School of Psychiatry, conceived of the idea of bringing Martin Buber to America to give the Fourth Annual William Alanson White Memorial Lectures in March and April of 1957 in Washington (described by Friedman, 1988, p. 205).

  2. 2.

    In his “Lying on the couch,” Farber (1966b) addresses the difference between speaking truthfully [his preference] as opposed to speaking the truth [which became a rarefied concept in our work, in his opinion].


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Correspondence to Leslie H Farber.

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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. Other presenters were: Lewis Wolberg, M.D., Marianne Horney Eckardt, M.D., Frederick A. Weiss, M.D., Louis E. DeRosis, M.D. and Silvano Arieti, M.D. This article was first published in the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1957, 17:21–25, and is republished here.

1Leslie H. Farber, M.D., (1913—1981) was a distinguished psychoanalyst, theoretician and psychiatrist, the author of important books and papers. He was Chairman of the Faculty, The Washington School of Psychiatry and a Charter Member of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, founded in 1956.

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Farber, L. WHAT IS EFFECTIVE IN THE THERAPEUTIC PROCESS? A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION. Am J Psychoanal 75, 203–210 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ajp.2015.7

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  • mutual encounter
  • mutuality
  • meeting between patient and therapist
  • moments of truth
  • “I-Thou”
  • transference-countertransference relationship
  • knowing vs. knowing about