American father of cognitive therapy Aaron T. Beck dies at 100


Aaron T. Beck died at his home in Philadelphia.

Washington, United States:

American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck, considered the father of cognitive therapy – an approach developed in the 1960s that revolutionized the field of psychotherapy – died Monday at the age of 100.

He died at his home in Philadelphia, according to a statement from his daughter Judith Beck, president of the Beck Institute, an organization of thousands of professionals practicing cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

“My father has dedicated his life to developing and testing treatments to improve the lives of countless people around the world facing health and mental health challenges,” she said.

“He has truly transformed the field of mental health.

Unlike the psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud – which emphasized the role of the subconscious and encouraged patients to delve into their memories – cognitive therapy is concerned with the present.

Throughout his early years as a psychiatrist, Beck noticed that his patients frequently expressed negative thoughts, such as “I am unable to…” which he called “automatic thoughts”.

Cognitive therapy prompts patients to change their outlook on certain situations and identify these “automatic thoughts” in order to overcome them. They are then invited to test these altered beliefs in everyday life.

This approach is now the most widely practiced therapeutic method in the world, used to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders and other psychiatric problems.

“The idea was that if you would sit and listen and say ‘Ah-hah’ somehow secrets would come out,” Beck told The New York Times in 2000, speaking about the methods of psychotherapy. earlier.

“And you would burn yourself out just because of the helplessness of it.”

“I think I’m ultimately a pragmatist,” he said in the same interview. “And if that doesn’t work, I don’t.”

Beck was born in July 1921 in Providence, Rhode Island. A graduate of Brown University and Yale University, he has written or co-authored around 20 books.

He and his daughter Judith Beck founded the Beck Institute in 1994, which has since trained more than 25,000 mental health professionals in 130 countries in cognitive behavioral therapy.

More than 2,000 studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT, according to the institute.

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