Aaron Temkin Beck (born July 18, 1921) is an American psychiatrist and a professor emeritus at the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Beck is known as the father of Cognitive Therapy and inventor of the widely used Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale, and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
Aaron Temkin Beck Aaron Beck was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 18, 1921 as the youngest child of his three siblings. Beck’s parents came over from Russia as Jewish immigrants. Beck’s birth followed the death of his sister to an influenza epidemic. After her daughter’s death, Beck’s mother became severely depressed; this depression was lifted when Beck was born. Beck claimed this is where his need for control rooted itself. Beck had feelings of stupidity and incompetence after a near fatal illness caused from an infection from a broken arm. However, Beck taught himself how to work through his fears and problems cognitively; this is what sparked the development of his theory and therapies in later years.
Aaron Temkin Beck Beck attended Brown University, graduating magna cum laude in 1942. At Brown he was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, was an associate editor of the Brown Daily Herald, and received the Francis Wayland Scholarship, William Gaston Prize for Excellence in Oratory, and Philo Sherman Bennett Essay Award. Beck attended Yale Medical School, graduating with an M.D. in 1946. Beck received a Lasker Clinical Research Award in 2006.
Aaron Temkin Beck Beck is the director of the Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Suicide. Beck believed that depression is due to negative views. He believed that these negative views were towards the self, world, and future in particular. These negative views are "idiosyncratic." Depressed people say things like "I can't do my job" or "Nobody cares about me." These negative views would in turn trigger depression in a person.
Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy (CT) Insight-focused therapy Emphasizes changing negative thoughts and maladaptive beliefs Theoretical Assumptions People’s internal communication is accessible to introspection Clients’ beliefs have highly personal meanings These meanings can be discovered by the client rather than being taught or interpreted by the therapist
Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy (CT) Cognitive therapy seeks to help the patient overcome difficulties by identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. This involves helping patients develop skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors. Treatment is based on collaboration between patient and therapist and on testing beliefs. Therapy may consist of testing the assumptions which one makes and identifying how certain of one's usually-unquestioned thoughts are distorted, unrealistic and unhelpful. Once those thoughts have been challenged, one's feelings about the subject matter of those thoughts are more easily subject to change.
Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy (CT) Beck initially focused on depression and developed a list of "errors" in thinking that he proposed could maintain depression, including arbitrary inference, selective abstraction, over-generalization, and magnification (of negatives) and minimization (of positives)
Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy (CT) A simple example may illustrate the principle of how CT works: having made a mistake at work, a person may believe, "I'm useless and can't do anything right at work." Strongly believing this then tends to worsen their mood. The problem may be worsened further if the individual reacts by avoiding activities and then behaviorally confirming the negative belief to himself. As a result, any adaptive response and further constructive consequences become unlikely, which reinforces the original belief of being "useless". In therapy, the latter example could be identified as a self-fulfilling prophecy or "problem cycle", and the efforts of the therapist and client would be directed at working together to change it. This is done by addressing the way the client thinks and behaves in response to similar situations and by developing more flexible ways to think and respond, including reducing the avoidance of activities. If, as a result, the patient escapes the negative thought patterns and dysfunctional behaviors, the negative feelings may be relieved over time.
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