Dr. Aaron T. Beck- Pioneer of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy dies at 100 years

"Cognitive therapy seeks to alleviate psychological stresses correcting faulty conceptions and self-signals. By correcting erroneous beliefs, we can lower excessive reactions."

— Aaron T. Beck

Aaron T. Beck, a groundbreaking psychotherapist who worked at the University of Pennsylvania for decades, revolutionized talk therapy for mental illness. He pioneered cognitive behavioral therapy, a method that assisted patients in reframing negative, unrealistic thoughts. 

Unfortunately, he died on November 1st, at the age of 100. Aaron discovered that his depressed patients had a lot of random negative thoughts about themselves, the world, and other people. However, patients who meditated on these ideas came to accept them as accurate and valid. Through decades of research in cognitive behavioral therapy, he dedicated his life to developing and testing life-enhancing treatments for countless people worldwide facing health and psychological challenges. 

Renowned Work of Dr. Aaron

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Beck Hopelessness Scale

Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of verbal therapy, better known as ‘talk therapy’ that can treat people with various mental health issues. It is based on the concept that how we think (cognition), feel (emotion), and act (behavior) all interact with one another. In fact, Our thoughts influence our feelings and behavior. If you would like to know more about CBT, connect with a  certified behavioral therapist and get cognitive behavioral therapy online today!

Aaron Beck believed that a person's reaction to specific disturbing thoughts might contribute to the abnormal. As we grapple with the many situations in life, calming and troubling thoughts come to mind. Beck called them: automatic thoughts of intuitive knowledge”. 

Suppose an individual has an automatic, uninterrupted flow of thoughts. They may cause more harm than good. This may exacerbate one’s depressed state. For example, have you ever felt like you will never meet a deadline? You might have an irrational fear of never meeting your loved ones again, or become incessantly ill, poor and alone?

These negative thoughts persist despite evidence to the contrary. If this sounds like you, book an appointment for a one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy online session. Healing is only a click away. 

The Mechanism of Depression

Beck (1967) identified three mechanisms which he believed to be responsible for depression: 

  • The cognitive triad (of automatic negative thinking)
  • Negative self-schemas
  • Errors in Logic (+.e., faulty information processing)

The Cognitive Triad:

The cognitive triad consists of three forms of negativity (i.e., helpless and critical) thinking that are typical of people with depression: negative thoughts about themselves, the world, and the future. These thoughts were more automatic in depressed people because they occurred spontaneously. When these three components interact, they interfere with standard cognitive processing, causing impairment in cognition, memory, and problem solving, and you become obsessed with negative thoughts. To deal with overthinking and negative life, thoughts, take a cognitive behavioral therapy test and share your results with the best online therapist.

Negative Self-Schemas

Beck believed that depression-prone individuals develop negative self-esteem and have a set of beliefs and expectations about themselves that are essentially pessimistic. He also noted that childhood negative schemas could be acquired as a result of a traumatic event. Experiences that can contribute to negative schemas include the death of a parent or sibling, parental rejection, criticism, overprotection, neglect, or abuse. 

 People with negative self-schemas tend to make logical mistakes. For example, they tend to focus selectively on specific aspects of a situation while ignoring equally relevant information. Measure your depression, stress, anxiety, or burnout scores today with a cognitive behavioral therapy test.

Cognitive Distortions:

Beck (1967) identified several illogical thought processes (i.e., distortions of thought processes). These irrational thought patterns are counterproductive and can cause great anxiety or depression in the individual. Here are some examples:

 • Arbitrary interference: Conclusion based on sufficient or irrelevant evidence: for example, thinking that you are worthless because a trip you were waiting for months has been canceled. 

  • Selective abstraction: focus on one aspect of a situation and ignore the others: for example, you feel responsible for your team losing a contract even though you are not the only one.

  • Magnification: exaggeration of the importance of adverse events. For example, if your food has more salt, you consider yourself a bad cook. 

  • Minimization: underestimating the importance of an event. For example, your teachers praise you for excellent project work, but you see it as mundane. 

  • Excessive generalization: draw general negative conclusions based on a single insignificant event. For example, your work gets late when you usually give that in time and therefore think you are stupid. 

  • Personalization: Taking responsibility for the negative feelings of others. For example, your teacher seems angry when he walks into the room, so he must be mad at you.

How successful is CBT?

Research suggests that CBT is more successful than drug therapy and has a lower relapse rate, supporting the proposition that depression has a cognitive basis. The research conducted by Beck also suggests that knowledge of the cognitive explanation can improve the quality of people's lives. Thanks to technology, you can avail of cognitive-behavioral therapy online services from our list of the top providers and the right therapist via tele-appointment at MyLiveDoctors.

Psychologist magazine in 1982. He wrote or co-wrote 17 books, published over 500 articles, and was honored by the Institute of Medicine with the Lesker Award, Heinz Award, and Sarnat Award. MyLiveDoctors acknowledges all the great work and research of Dr. Aaron Beck. Thank you.

Dr. Beck said, "The effort to understand the workings of the mind would never be finished because to be human is to deal with problems."