In the early hours of the morning on November 1, 2021, the founder of Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Aaron T. Beck, passed away in his sleep at the age of 100 years. His development of cognitive therapy led to a revolution in the field of mental health treatment and we will be forever indebted to his contributions. His theories and treatment protocols have empirical support and focus on clients learning skills to change their thinking and as a result, their behaviors and emotions. Instead of doctors prescribing pills for depression, anxiety, OCD, social phobia, and sleep problems, they are able to prescribe cognitive behavior therapy and trust they will see good results in their patients and reduced relapse rates.
Dr. Aaron T. Beck was a man who dedicated his life, his intellect, and all his energy into developing the best psychotherapy approaches that would alleviate pain and suffering and empower people to help themselves. He was our dear friend and we will miss him greatly.
New York Times Obituary
We originally linked to an article in the New York Times on January 11, 2000. The article was titled: "A Pragmatic Man and His No-Nonsense Therapy" and featured Dr Aaron T. Beck at age 78. It describes how he came to develop cognitive therapy and covers his development from a young boy to a brilliant scientist whose endless curiosity led him to develop one of the most successful psychotherapies of all time, Cognitive Therapy.
On June 13, 2005, an historical conversation took place. The founder of Cognitive Therapy, Aaron T. Beck, and the 14th Dalai Lama had a “meeting of the minds” at an international congress for cognitive psychotherapy in Göteborg, Sweden.
Later, Dr. Beck reflected on that meeting and summarized some of the highlights of their discussion, including the similarities between Cognitive Therapy and Buddhism regarding the mind, thinking, common assumptions and change. The Dalai Lama referred to cognitive practices as Analytical Meditation and stated that Dr. Beck’s book Prisoners of Hate was almost like Buddhist literature.
This video clip is 2 minutes 47 seconds in length. By clicking on the photo, you will be directed to vimeo to watch the video.
In 2005, the International Congress of Cognitive Psychotherapy (ICCP) met in Göteborg, Sweden. Keynote speakers addressed the latest issues in CBT, researchers reported on empirical and theoretical findings, workshops presented state-of-the-art clinical practices, and students displayed their research and new ideas.
On June 13, the attendees were treated to a most amazing dialogue between the founder of Cognitive Therapy, Aaron T. Beck, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
The topics were wide ranging and included discussions of: the human condition, thinking processes, common assumptions, the process of change, and anger. The Dalai Lama’s intelligence coupled with his joyous demeanor offers a fascinating glimpse into the philosophical world of Buddhist thinking along with Dr. Beck’s clear and concise conceptualizations of the human condition. Both reflect on their philosophies of change and note the similarities of their world views.
The filmed version of the conversation is divided into eleven separate clips ranging in length from about 3 to 11 minutes. The 90 minute “Meeting of the Minds: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Professor Aaron T. Beck” (in conversation) was filmed live and on location by the Center for Cognitive Psychotherapy and Education in Göteborg.
CLICK BELOW to view the 90 minute June 13, 2005 conversation.
The YouTube site does not list the focus of each segment so we have provided that list for you below. You may wish to copy it for reference when watching the video.
Time Stamps - Topic
0:00:00 - 0:02:47 Introduction
0:02:47 - 0:13:58 Negative Thoughts
0:13:59 - 0:25:48 Defining Negative, Positive, and Emotional Feelings
0:25:49 - 0:30:18 Views on Attachment, Attention, and Discontent
0:30:19 - 0:38:31 Pain and Suffering
0:38:32 - 0:50:11 Self-Centered and Society
0:50:12 - 0:57:39 Negative/Positive Imagery
0:57:40 - 1:06:58 Analytical Meditation
1:06:59 - 1:14:48 Secular Education of Modern Ethics
1:14:49 - 1:21:21 Environmental Factors and Society Influence Positive Thinking
1:21:22 - 1:30:06 Closing
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