BALA CYNWYD, PENNSYLVANIA – Dr. Aaron T. Beck, co-founder of Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, passed away peacefully in his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the morning on November 1st, 2021, at the age of 100.  

Widely known as the father of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that has been demonstrated to be effective for an array of psychiatric problems, psychological disorders, and medical issues, Dr. Beck’s contribution to the field of mental health has been recognized across the globe. Since he developed CBT in the 1960s, the practice has become one of the most prevalent forms of psychotherapy practiced across geographic and cultural boundaries. It has been demonstrated to be effective in more than 2,000 studies.  

“My father was an amazing person who dedicated his life to helping others,” said Dr. Judith Beck, co-founder of Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy. “When he and I started Beck Institute over 25 years ago, we continued my father’s vision of providing excellent CBT training to health and mental health professionals around the world. As a result, the lives of countless individuals and their families worldwide have improved. He has inspired students, clinicians, and researchers for several generations with his passion and his groundbreaking work.”   

The Drs. Beck co-founded Beck Institute in 1994. Dr. Beck’s wife, the Honorable Phyllis W. Beck, served as the board chair for 25 years.  

Throughout his career developing, researching, and teaching CBT, Dr. Beck authored or co-authored over 600 published works related to the field. He received over 50 academic awards for his research and contributions to the field of mental health, including the Heinz Award for the Human Condition in 2001 and the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 2006. He was also an avid and charismatic speaker. In 2005 and 2014, he engaged in public and private dialogues with the Dalai Lama. They concluded that CBT and Buddhism have much in common.   

Dr. Beck continued to develop and research the theory and practice of CBT throughout his life. His most recent work was the development of Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R), a revolutionary new form of CBT that may change the future of psychotherapy. Originally developed to empower individuals given a diagnosis of serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, CT-R extends the principles of traditional CBT to help individuals suffering from a range of psychiatric disorders and psychological problems, including those with extensive behavioral, social, and physical health challenges.  Practitioners and researchers are now applying the underlying principles of CT-R to the treatment of depression, anxiety, substance use, self-injury, aggression, and more. Dr. Beck was the lead author of the newly published book Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy for Serious Mental Health Conditions. He continued to author and co-author books, chapters and articles right up to his passing. 

Dr. Beck’s legacy lives on through the tens of thousands of practitioners who will continue to use CBT to provide effective mental health treatment for countless patients, and to the continued development of CT-R. The Aaron T. Beck Fund has been established in Dr. Beck’s name at Beck Institute.  

The life and contributions of Dr. Aaron T. Beck will always be remembered and honored by Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy.