Beck Institute was founded in 1994 in Philadelphia by Dr. Aaron T. Beck and his daughter, Dr. Judith Beck, who continue to lead the organization as its president emeritus and president, respectively. Dr. Julie Hergenrather is Beck Institute’s executive director. Dr. Daniella Cavenagh is Beck Institute's director of education.
Dr. Aaron T. Beck, President Emeritus
Aaron T. Beck, M.D., is globally recognized as the father of cognitive therapy (CT) and one of the world's leading researchers in psychopathology. He has been credited with shaping the face of American psychiatry, and The American Psychologist has called him "one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time."
Educational and professional background
Dr. Beck graduated from Brown University in 1942 and Yale Medical School in 1946. Originally trained as a psychoanalyst, his explorations into psychoanalytic concepts of depression while working as a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania led to his development of CT, which has since been demonstrated to be effective for a wide variety of disorders. Today, he is University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Penn, where he remains active in research.
Dr. Beck has developed a number of scales to measure psychopathology which are used broadly throughout the world. He has participated on review panels of the National Institutes of Mental Health, served on the editorial boards of many journals and lectured around the world. He has been a visiting scientist of the Medical Research Council at Oxford and a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale and Columbia. He is a visiting fellow of Wolfson College. He is also the honorary president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, a non-profit organization of more than 800 certified cognitive therapists and 100 general members worldwide.
Publications, awards and honors
Dr. Beck has published more than 540 articles and authored or co-authored 22 books. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research and the Gustave O. Lienhard Award from the Institute of Medicine for “outstanding national achievement in improving personal health care services in the United States.”
» Dr. Aaron Beck’s Books
» Dr. Aaron Beck’s Journal Articles
» Dr. Aaron Beck’s Awards
» Learn more about Dr. Aaron Beck
Dr. Judith S. Beck, President
Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., is an eminent clinician and educator who previously served as director of Clinical Services at the Center for Cognitive Therapy and now serves as president of Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She is also clinical associate professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her doctoral degree from Penn in 1982.
Dr. Beck directs the three major functions of Beck Institute:
Dr. Beck divides her time among administration, supervision and teaching, clinical work, program development, research, and writing. She has been a consultant for several National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studies, has developed widely adopted assessment scales for children and adolescents, and has presented hundreds of workshops nationally and internationally on various applications of cognitive therapy. She is also a Distinguished Founding Fellow and Past President of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.
» Dr. Judith Beck’s Awards
Dr. Beck has written nearly 100 articles and chapters on different aspects of cognitive therapy. She is the author of the primary text in the field, which has been translated into 20 languages, as well as books, workbooks, and pamphlets for consumers. Her publications include:
Dr. Julie Hergenrather, Executive Director
Julie Hergenrather, Ph.D., came to Beck Institute from Montana, where she was founder and director of the Northwest Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and chief executive officer for Montana Neurobehavioral Specialists—and a strong advocate for cognitive therapy. Thanks largely to her outreach efforts, mental health and healthcare professionals as well as consumers in western Montana have come to recognize CBT as a more effective and cost-effective approach to psychotherapy.
Educational and professional background
A licensed, practicing psychologist since 1990, Dr. Hergenrather holds master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed her internship at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. She is a certified member (Diplomat) of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. In addition to her extensive experience applying CT techniques with adults, adolescents and children, Dr. Hergenrather has provided individual clinical supervision for post-doctoral residents and master’s-level clinicians, with an emphasis on teaching and mentoring CBT theory and techniques.
Dr. Daniella Cavenagh, Director of Education
Daniella Cortez Cavenagh, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with a background in treating multi-diagnosed, trauma-exposed public sector medical patients. Dr. Cavenagh began her career at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine where she was an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the CBT Training Track Coordinator at San Francisco General Hospital. In this position she taught, supervised, served as a CBT consultant on medical research studies, and provided clinical services to a very diverse, multi-cultural population. In 2008, she transitioned to private practice, focusing on individual CBT with adults and adolescents. While in private practice, she held adjunct faculty appointments at Argosy University and Drexel University College of Medicine.
Education and Interests
Dr. Cavenagh earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, completed a clinical internship at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Kaiser Permanente. Before coming to the Beck Institute, she taught graduate coursework and supervised interns, fellows, and residents in cognitive behavioral therapy and the treatment of trauma. Her work with public sector medical patients has led to a particular interest in tailoring CBT for low-literacy, diverse, and underserved populations.