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Reading Here and Now
Conversations with authors in psychotherapy

Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman

A conversation with:
Dr. Barry A. Farber, Ph.D. and Daisy Ort

Understanding and Enhancing Positive Regard in Psychotherapy: Carl Rogers and Beyond

A conversation with:
Dr. Barry A. Farber, Ph.D.  and  Daisy Ort

April 30, 2023 , 7:30-9:15 PM Israel Time/ 12:30 pm New York Time

Barry Farber met Carl Rogers just once when he escorted him for the two days Rogers was at Teachers College (Columbia University), receiving a medal of honor from his alma mater. But that meeting enormously influenced how he perceived what makes real change in psychotherapy. Though Farber never became a loyalist to Roger's client-centered therapy, he experienced through their brief interaction Rogers's unique way of active listening that made those who spoke with Rogers feel heard and valued.

Farber found that positive regard (PR) is the least well-researched and most misunderstood of Rogers's three facilitative conditions (the therapist’s empathy, PR, and genuineness/congruence).

Farber, along with two talented clinical psychology doctoral students and the co-authors of this book­­––Jessi Suzuki (now graduated) and Daisy Ort­–– initiated a positive regard lab at Teachers College. Through case studies, interviews, and the development of new assessment instruments to measure PR, they have investigated the ways in which therapists and clients view this concept and examined the association between PR and therapeutic outcome. One of the most interesting chapters in their book discusses the work of prominent therapists outside the person-centered community who have integrated into their own theoretical systems concepts similar, though not identical, to PR. Among those are Marsha Linehan and the concept of "validation," Heinz Kohut and his views about "mirroring," D. W. Winnicott and the "holding environment," John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth's ideas about a "secure base," and Shari Geller's (and others') concept of "therapeutic presence." They conclude that  that the foundation for greater widespread clinical adoption of PR may already be in place, albeit with terms unassociated with the person-centered community.

In this conversation, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman will discuss some of the following questions with Barry Farber and Daisy Ort:

What are the specific, active components of PR?

How has positive regard been modified and reinterpreted by theorists and clinicians within and without the person-centered community?

Can PR  be “faked”?

Are there optimal levels of this attitude?

Can a therapist be both person-centered and eclectic?

Barry A. Farber, PhD is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University (TC). He received his PhD from Yale University in 1978, joined the clinical psychology faculty at TC the following year, and served as Director of Clinical Training for 24 years. He has varied interests within the area of psychotherapy research, including the nature and consequences of therapists’ provision of positive regard, the extent to which patients, therapists, supervisors, and supervisees honestly disclose to each other, and the ways in which individuals construct and evoke mental representations of others, including former therapists and romantic partners. His books include the recently published Understanding and Enhancing Positive Regard in Psychotherapy: Carl Rogers and Beyond, as well as Secrets and Lies in Psychotherapy, Self-disclosure in Psychotherapy, The Psychotherapy of Carl Rogers, Crisis in American Education: Stress and burnout in the American Teacher, and Rock ‘n roll Wisdom. In addition to his research, writing, and teaching, he recently completed an 8-year term as editor of Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, and maintains a small private practice of psychotherapy.

Daisy Ort is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Daisy worked within New York City’s mental health and legal systems conducting research at a criminal justice nonprofit, co-leading weekly support groups at federal jails, and facilitating forensic psychological evaluations for immigration purposes. As a graduate student, Daisy is interested in better understanding relational aspects of psychotherapy across different contexts. Previous research projects assessed the role of informal supervision among psychotherapy trainees, and client disclosure in correctional settings. Currently, Daisy and her research team are exploring factors associated with therapists' perceptions of positive regard, as well as clients’ experience of teletherapy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Daisy can be reached at

Jessica Y. Suzuki, PhD, is an integrative therapist trained in relational psychodynamic , cognitive-behavior, and experiential approaches. Dr. Suzuki received her PhD from Columbia University Teachers College. She believes that client outcome depends on the quality of patient-therapist collaboration and on therapeutic strategies. She incorporates CBT strategies to scaffold behavioral change and draws on mindfulness and experiential approaches to strengthen self-compassion, insight, and healing.

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