By Ted Alston, Volunteer Meeting Facilitator
In 2005, William White and Martin Nicolaus wrote that SMART Recovery and other secular recovery groups “were influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis”1. Ellis gave us the ABC Model and other tools. The influence of Rogers is less direct. I find the writings of Rogers to be tough reads. However, the following quote is clear and may be of interest to students of SMART2.
“We regard the medical model as an extremely inappropriate model for dealing with psychological disturbances. The model that makes more sense is a growth model or a developmental model. In other words we see people as having a potential for growth and development and that can be released under the right psychological climate. We don’t see them as sick and needing a diagnosis, a prescription and a cure; and that is a very fundamental difference with a good many implications” — Carl Rogers, 1978
SMART has no position on the so-called medical model, and Rogers did not find that model necessary. Furthermore, he cautioned against labels.
At different times, Ellis and Rogers were individually recognized as the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. From the photos, it is hard to say which psychologist sported the pointiest shirt collar.
1 White W, Nicolaus M. Styles of secular recovery. Counselor 2005;6(4):58-61.
2 The quote is from an interview and was selected by editor David Webb for the preface to Significant Aspects of Client-Centered Therapy, Psychology Classics, Carl Rogers.
Details of the interview are at