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Aaron T. Beck

Dr. Aaron T. Beck
BornJuly 18 1921 (1921-07-18) (age 91)
Providence, Rhode Island
ResidenceUnited States
InstitutionsUniversity of Pennsylvania, Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Suicide
Alma materBrown University, Yale Medical School
Known forhis research on psychotherapy, psychopathology, suicide, and psychometrics
Notable prizes2006 Lasker Award

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 Scales, including the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale, Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck Youth Inventories.[1] He is the President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research and the Honorary President of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, which certifies qualified Cognitive Therapists.



Early life

Aaron Beck was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the youngest child of his three siblings. Beck’s parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. His birth followed the death of a sister to an influenza epidemic. After the 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.[citations needed]

Marriage and children

Beck is married to Phyllis Whitman, and has four children, Roy, Judy, Dan, and Alice, and eight grandchildren. His daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, has helped him with his research.


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 is the director of the Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Suicide.[citation needed]

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.

Notable Events

Beck is noted for his research on psychotherapy, psychopathology, suicide, and psychometrics, which led to his creation of Cognitive Therapy, for which he received the 2006 Lasker award, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), one of the most widely used instruments for measuring depression severity. Beck is also known for his creation of the Beck Hopelessness Scale and the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and has founded the Beck Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which his daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, works. Beck believed that depression is due to unrealistic negative views about the world. Depressed people have a negative cognition in three areas that are placed into the depressive triad. They develop negative views about: themselves, the world, and their future. Beck starts treatment by engaging in conversation with clients about their negative thoughts.[citation needed]


Beck received a Lasker Clinical Research Award in 2006.[2]


  1. ^ "Beck Scales for Adults and Children" Beck Institute for Cognitive Threapy and Research. Retrieved on 2007-1-11
  2. ^ Lasker Foundation Beck wint Lasker Foundation Award



Published books

  • Beck, A.T., Depression: Causes and Treatment. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972. - ISBN 978-0812276527
  • Beck, A.T., Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. Intl Universities Press, 1975. - ISBN 0823609901
  • Beck, A.T., Rush, A.J., Shaw, B.F., Emery, G., Cognitive Therapy of Depression. The Guilford Press, 1979. - ISBN 0898620007
  • Scott, J., Williams, J.M., Beck, A.T., Cognitive Therapy in Clinical Practice: An Illustrative Casebook. Routledge, 1989. - ISBN 0-415-00518-3
  • Alford, B.A., Beck, A.T., The Integrative Power of Cognitive Therapy. The Guilford Press, 1998. - ISBN 1-57230-396-4
  • Beck, A.T., Prisoners of Hate: The Cognitive Basis of Anger, Hostility, and Violence. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999. - ISBN 0060193778
  • Clark, D.A., Beck, A.T.,-55798-789-0
  • Beck, A.T., Freeman, A., and Davis, D.D., Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. The Guilford Press, 2003. - ISBN 1-57230-856-7
  • Wright, J.H., Thase, M.E., Beck, A.T., Ludgate, J.W., Cognitive Therapy with Inpatients: Developing A Cognitive Milieu. The Guilford Press, 2003. - ISBN 0-89862-890-3
  • Winterowd, C., Beck, A.T., Gruener, D., Cognitive Therapy With Chronic Pain Patients. Springer Publishing Company, 2003. - ISBN 0-8261-4595-7
  • Beck, A.T., Emery, G., and Greenberg, R.L., Anxiety Disorders And Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective. Basic Books, 2005. - ISBN 0-465-00587-X

See also

NAME Beck, Aaron T. Beck
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Dr. Beck, Dr. A. T. Beck, Doc.
SHORT DESCRIPTION American Psychiatrist
DATE OF BIRTH July 18, 1921
PLACE OF BIRTH Providence, Rhode Island
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aaron_T._Beck". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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