A native of Rhode Island, Aaron Beck had an early interest in psychology. After graduating from Brown University, he embarked on a career in medicine at Yale University with the intention of specializing in psychiatry. Dissatisfied with classical psychoanalysis, he turned to modified psychoanalytic approaches and was particularly influenced by ego psychology advanced by Rapaport. Ego psychology directed his interest in cognition, and over time Beck abandoned the psychoanalytic framework and formulated his own cognitive theory-behavior therapy for patients with depression and other psychiatric disorders. He developed numerous measurement scales, including the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, and the Self-Concept Test, which are widely used as diagnostic and research tools in the field. Beck continues to teach, consult, and write about the use of cognitive therapy in treating emotional disorders and other problems.
Aaron T. Beck, MD, is University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Beck developed cognitive therapy in the early 1960s as a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published over 500 articles and numerous books and has lectured throughout the world. Dr. Beck is the recipient of many honors from professional and scientific organizations, including "America's Nobel," the Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award.