The idea that I filled the role of Good Father makes a lot of sense. On one level, I was helping Gary learn some things about himself and about life which ideally he would have learned long before in his family of origin. Helping him to see himself as capable and competent, helping him learn to cope effectively with the demands of daily life, helping him learn the value of assertion and clear communication.
On another level, I was trying to provide him with the experience of a relationship based on mutual respect, in which he was accepted as he was, in which his vulnerabilities were not exploited, in which it was safe to be open and honest. Such a relationship is therapeutic in its own right.
How can we understand this from a cognitive-behavioral point of view? Well, how did Gary come to hold the world-view which contributed to his problems, his beliefs and assumptions about himself and others? His world-view was based on his experiences in interpersonal relationships and was most strongly shaped by the experiences which came first, lasted longest, and were most important to him. In other words, his experiences in his family of origin. If it is possible to provide a relationship which is not compatible with his preconceptions, this in itself will help him discover that his world-view does not match present reality.
Does this mean that providing a corrective experience is sufficient and we can dispense with cognitive-behavioral techniques? Obviously I don't think so or I wouldn't be spending so much time on them. A good therapeutic relationship is essential as a foundation for Cognitive Therapy and is therapeutic in itself. However, by using a wide variety of interventions to facilitate changes in Gary's world-view and to put these changes in practice in daily life, we can improve our odds of accomplishing the desired changes and can accomplish them more quickly.
Intervention techniques are no substitute for a good therapeutic relationship, but a therapeutic relationship alone will prove slower and less reliable than the two in combination.