However, he had a different effect on many of his contemporaries. When she first described her approach, Freudian analysts suggested she was “not well-analyzed”, with the ultimate insider’s disdain implying that she wasn’t equipped to understand others because she didn’t fully understand herself in educational therapy.
Later, in the 1980s, Dr. Beck has been smitten on the other hand: so-called biological psychiatrists who focus on drug treatments have questioned the power of CBT studies, saying they’re not impressive compared to drug trials. To the extent that therapy works, he argued Donald KleinHe was then director of the New York State Institute of Psychiatry, mostly because of a general morale-boosting effect rather than a specific, targeted therapy.
Dr. Beck toughened up with a blunt New England edge when challenged. But he typically responded with a mass of new data and avoided intellectual feuds with other theorists.
Cognitive therapy has spread worldwide, partly because therapists find it helpful and partly because its techniques can be simply summarized in manuals, making it easy to standardize, teach, and use in research studies. Patient, outspoken and persuasive, Dr. Beck was his most influential ambassador.
In the first chapter of his classic 1967 book, Depression: Causes and Treatment, he observed: “There is a startling contrast between the self-image of the depressed person and the objective facts. A rich man moans that he does not have the financial resources to feed his children. A highly acclaimed beauty begs for plastic surgery, believing it’s ugly. A famous physicist scolds himself for being ‘stupid’.”
In addition to technical psychiatric topics, he has authored or co-authored 22 books on love, anger and chronic pain, three of them with his daughter Judith.
In his final years, Dr. Beck applied cognitive techniques to help largely forgotten groups of people, such as poor drug addicts and people with late-stage schizophrenia. “These people have the capacity to do better, but they have all these disruptive attitudes and expectations; They assume they’re going to fail,” Bala Cynwyd told The Times in 2009.
He was also counseling a friend who was terminally ill with cancer. “He’s having mood problems and who wouldn’t want to?” said. “At the beginning of the day, I make him spend 30 minutes each day thinking about how important this day is – whether it’s the most important day of his life or one of his richest.