Aaron Beck (born July 18, 1921) is known as the father of cognitive therapy as he pioneered several cognitive theories and treatments through working with the schemas or the cognitive frameworks of his clients. His new approach, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) opened doors for related treatments and researches. In fact, The American Psychologist, the official journal of the American Psychological Association (APA) named Beck as one of the “five most influential psychotherapists of all time” as well as one of the “Americans in history who shaped the face of American psychiatry”. Some of his works include the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) , Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), more than 600 journal articles, and 25 books (authored and/or co-authored).
Beck believed that a person’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings are interrelated and that his core beliefs influence how he sees himself, others, and the future. It is then helpful to challenge pessimistic thoughts and replace them with healthier ones.
Specifically, Beck believed that there are three dysfunctional belief systems:
1. “I am defective or inadequate” 2. “All of my experiences result in defeats or failure”; and 3. “The future is hopeless”.