Harvard Health Columns

Dr. Aaron T. Beck: “Father” of Cognitive Therapy

Few individuals have had as great an impact on psychiatry as Dr. Aaron T. Beck, who is often referred to as the father of cognitive therapy (CT). In the 1950s, when Dr. Beck was beginning his career in psychiatry, psychoanalytic theory dominated the field. Psychoanalysis recognizes that the relationships and circumstances of early life continue to affect people as adults, and that human behavior results from unconscious as well as conscious or rational…

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