Beck, Aaron T.

Alternative names
Birth 1921-07-18

Biographical notes:

Aaron Temkin Beck was born July 18, 1921 in Providence Rhode Island. He entered Brown University in 1938 and graduated with B.A. in 1942. He went on to Yale University for his medical education and obtained his M.D. in 1946.

Beck served a rotating internship and a residency in pathology at the Rhode Island Hospital from 1946 to 1948, had a residency in neurology and later in psychiatry at the Cushing Veterans Administration Hospital in Framingham, Massachusetts, from 1948 to 1950, and served as a Fellow in psychiatry at the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA, from 1950 to 1952. He was in military service from 1952 to 1954, serving as Assistant Chief of the Department of Neuro-Psychiatry at the Valley Forge Army Hospital, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He was certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1953.

Beck started his career at the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. He was an Instructor of the Department of Psychiatry from 1954 to 1957, was appointed as an Associate in 1957 and became Assistant Professor in 1958. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1967 and Professor of Psychiatry in 1971.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Beck formulated his cognitive model of depression and cognitive therapy of depression in 1962. In 1965, he founded the Center for Cognitive Therapy and served as its Director until 1994. The Center is a leading tertiary care facility, conducting therapy, education and clinical training, and research.

Beck has authored and co-authored over two hundred articles and books. Among the book he published are: Depression: Clinical, Experimental, and Theoretical Aspects (1967); Diagnosis and Management of Depression (1967); Prediction of Suicide (1974); Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders (1976); Cognitive Therapy of Depression (1979); Anxiety Disorders and Phobias (1985); Love is Never Enough (1988); Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders (1990); and Prisoners of hate: the cognitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence (1999).

Beck's contribution to the psychotherapy of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior has been widely acknowledged. He has been honored by a Foundation Fund Prize for Research in Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, a Distinguished Scientific Award for Applications of Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Paul Hoch Award from the American Psychopathological Association, and the Louis Dublin Award of the American Association of Suicidology. He received an honorary Doctor of Medical Science degree from Brown University in 1982, was designated by the University of Pennsylvania as University Professor of Psychiatry in 1983, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1987.

Beck has been member of many professional and scientific institutions of national and international importance, among them the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychopathological Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Suicidology, the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the Eastern Psychological Association, the Psychiatric Research Society, and the Society for Psychotherapy Research.

Aaron is married to Phyllis, who was a Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge. The couple live near Philadelphia.

From the description of Papers, 1953-2000. (University of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 465256577


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  • Psychotherapy--Diagnosis
  • Behavior therapy--Research
  • Panic disorders--Research
  • Medicine--Study and teaching
  • Psychiatry--Methodology
  • Panic disorders--Diagnosis
  • Cognitive therapy--Research
  • Research grants
  • Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation--Research
  • Psychiatry--Study and teaching
  • Anxiety--Diagnosis--Research
  • Suicidal behavior--Risk factors--Research
  • Depression, Mental--Research
  • Mental health--Study and teaching
  • Depression, Mental--Diagnosis
  • Cognitive therapy--Study and teaching
  • Distress (Psychology)--Research
  • Beck Depression Inventory--Research
  • Psychiatry--Research
  • Workshops (Adult education)--Study and teaching
  • Psychotherapy--Research


  • Psychiatrists--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia


  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)