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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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Early Views of Cognitive Therapy

In this video from a recent Beck Institute workshop, Dr. Aaron Beck discusses the psychoanalytic community’s early views of cognitive therapy. A common misconception about cognitive therapy was that it could only provide symptomatic relief. Dr. Beck explains, however, that even early in his career, he followed his patients for as long as 5 years and most of them improved and maintained their improvements. Today there are many similarities between cognitive therapy and modern psychodynamic therapy, which Dr. Beck briefly describes here.

For CBT Resources, visit our website.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Dr. Aaron Beck discusses his experience in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and some of the strategies he used early in his career. Dr. Beck explains how using what he learned from the behavior movement and Albert Ellis he was able to modify his therapeutic strategies to be more effective.  Click here to learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Aaron T. Beck, M.D. appears on the Charlie Rose Show!

As part of a panel discussion, Dr. Beck discusses Cognitive Therapy (which he developed in the 1960s) and how it differs from Freud’s psychoanalysis. His segment starts 8 minutes into the show and runs until 19 minutes in. You can view video footage from this episode, entitled The Charlie Rose Science Series – Part One: The Human Brain, which aired on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006.