Dr. Aaron Beck, pioneer of cognitive behavioral therapy, dies age 100

Dr. Aaron Beck, pioneer of cognitive behavioral therapy, dies age 100
Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT/Sipa

Dr. Aaron Beck, the pioneer of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has died at the age of 100.

CBT, which is used to treat depression, psychiatric problems and psychological disorders, is a psychological treatment that focuses on changing specific behaviors and thinking processes.

Beck is credited with changing the field of mental health through his development of cognitive therapy, which he developed while working as a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Beck passed away peacefully in his home, his daughter said in a statement released Monday.

“My father dedicated his life to the development and testing of treatments to improve the lives of countless people throughout the world facing health and mental health challenges,” his daughter, Judith Beck, who co-founded the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy with her father, said in a statement.

“He truly transformed the field of mental health with his development of and decades of research in cognitive behavior therapy,” she added.

Several research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life, according to the American Psychological Association, adding that in numerous studies it has been shown to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.

Beck trained as a psychoanalyst, and his study of psychoanalytic concepts of depression led to his development of cognitive therapy in the 1960s, according to the Beck Institute.

The American Psychologist journal called him “one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time,” the Beck Institute said.

Beck authored or co-authored more than 600 published works related to the field, and received in excess of 50 academic awards for his research and contributions in the sphere of mental health, such as the Heinz Award for the Human Condition in 2001 and the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 2006, the Beck Institute added.

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