It may surprise you to know that none other than Dr. Aaron Beck — Mr. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy himself — was a proponent of the Rogerian core conditions.

At the 2017 Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference, Dr. Beck joined via satellite from his office in Philadelphia, and was interviewed by his daughter, Dr. Judith Beck. During their conversation, Dr. (Aaron) Beck laments that in some quarters CBT had become overly associated with technique, and had lost the “human element.”

He then gives a shout out to Carl Rogers who, he believes, really understood this element, and is neglected to our detriment:

“I’m afraid that Rogers has been lost over the decades. But Rogers’ triad was unconditional acceptance, understanding of the patient, and realistic empathy. And those three qualities have to be present in every relationship with a patient.”

Dr. Aaron Beck, founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

While it’s true that he mixes this up a little (he accidentally cites accurate empathy twice, and forgets therapist authenticity), it’s clear that the otherwise-sharp, 96-year-old Dr. Beck believes in the centrality of the Rogerian relational stance. In the full talk, he gives examples of how these qualities facilitated a therapeutic alliance with his patients, and turned out to be essential to the treatment.

If you want to learn more about Rogers and his theory, consider taking the GETME course Client-Centered Therapy.

If you want to see the whole talk from which this excerpt is taken, it’s available though the Milton Erickson Foundation.

Hat tip to Ms. Kitty, Ellyson, LCPC, for alerting me to the existence of this video!