Dr. Aaron Beck’s Transition from Psychoanalysis to Cognitive Theory

During a recent Beck Institute Workshop, Dr. Aaron Beck describes how he transitioned from psychoanalysis to cognitive theory. Dr. Beck explains that his transition period spanned two years and began when he discovered a lack of empirical evidence supporting psychoanalytic theory of depression. He subsequently began to question the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in the treatment of depression. In 1963, Dr. Beck published “Thinking and Depression: Idiosyncratic Content and Cognitive Distortions” in the Archives of General Psychiatry, widely recognized as his first publication on Cognitive Therapy.

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