(You can’t talk about spirituality in psychotherapy without citing Richards and Bergin.) OK, let me tell you about some interesting experiences Bergin had — all of which he spoke about with remarkable tenderness and fondness for the famous psychologists involved.
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After Stanford, Bergin completed post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin with Carl Rogers, one of the most famous psychologists of all time.
Rogers, along with Abraham Maslow, is seen as the founder of humanistic psychology.
When Bergin was at Columbia, Skinner gave a guest lecture there and then had lunch with several faculty members.
Skinner, an outspoken atheist, casually talked about the cover newspaper story that day, which showed a picture of a Star of David carving, purported to be a thousand years old (or something like that) on a tree in South America.
Years later, around 1980, when Bergin was at BYU, he gave a presentation where he presented the ideas that would soon be published in his landmark article on spiritual and religious psychotherapy interventions.
Carl Rogers was part of the same panel of presenters, and afterwards gave Bergin a giant bear hug, telling him he is happy that he is finally speaking from his gut.Ellis argued that religion, on the whole, is unhealthy and people would be better off to stop believing in such superstitions, especially the belief of any kind of certainty about God.Bergin agreed with several of Ellis’ points in the rebuttal, but argued that many secular atheist-agnostic humanistic views that are common in psychology were just as guilty as dogmatic certainty, if not more so in some cases.Bergin jokingly commented in class that, ironically, Rogers was an important contributor to his previous incongruency!Bergin also talked about how Rogers became more interested in spirituality in his later years.He then something like, “It would probably upset a whole lot of people if Joseph Smith ended up being right.” Bergin commented that he was surprised that Skinner even knew of this connection, but in talking with him about it, he learned that Skinner grew up in the Harmony, Pennsylvania area and so he was well acquainted with the tradition. Stevens became a very influential psychologist in his own right, playing a major role for removing the subjective from psychology through operational definitions — a very poor move, in my opinion.