Carl Rogers in Dialogue with Martin Buber: A New Analysis

Author: 

Cissna, Kenneth N. and Anderson, Rob

Abstract: 

Carl Rogers was renowned for his work as a psychotherapist and facilitator. During his life, he engaged in a series of fascinating public dialogues with a number of other noted intellectuals (see Kirschenbaum & Henderson, 1989). In this essay, we summarize our studies of one of these remarkable conversations-an instance of what Michael Oakeshott (1975) aptly termed an "unrehearsed intellectual adventure" (p. 75)-between Carl Rogers and the philosopher of dialogue Martin Buber.

This 1957 public conversation was significant because through Rogers's writings, especially following this meeting, many thousands of readers in the United States were introduced to Buber's thought. In addition, the dialogue was a critical incident in the careers of both Buber and Rogers. Although it has been cited often to distinguish their approaches to dialogue, all previous commentators have assumed that Buber and Rogers were on equal footing and ignore the communicative process of the meeting in favor of analyzing its content.

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