Aaron Beck, the creator of the cognitive therapy developed in the 1960s and caused a revolution in psychiatry, has died at the age of 100 in the United States, world agencies reported.
Beck has died at his Philadelphia home, said his daughter, Judith Beck, who heads the Beck Institute, who has trained thousands in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CPT).
“My father dedicated his life to developing and testing treatments to improve the lives of countless people with health problems around the world,” she said, adding: “It really changed the field of mental health.”
Unlike psychoanalysis, developed and applied by Sigmund Freud, in which an important role is assigned to the unconscious and patients are encouraged to share their memories, cognitive therapy focuses on the present.
In the early years of his work as a psychiatrist, Aaron Beck found that his patients often expressed negative thoughts, which he later called “automatic thoughts.”
Cognitive therapy stimulates patients to work on the way they perceive situations, to recognize their negative thoughts in order to change them. They are encouraged to check out these transformations in their daily lives.
Beck’s therapy is used worldwide to treat depression, anxiety, eating and personality disorders, and other mental health problems.
Aaron Beck was born in July 1921 in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown and Yale Universities. He is the author or co-author of about 20 books. In 1994, together with his daughter Judith, he founded the Beck Institute, which trained over 25,000 specialists from 130 countries in the technique created by Aaron Beck.
According to the institute, the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy has been confirmed in more than 2,000 studies.