Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Beck who received the Changing Minds Award at the Minding Your Mind Annual Blue Gene Gala, in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania on October 19, 2014. Dr. Beck received this award for his lifetime achievement in psychiatry. During his acceptance speech, Dr. Beck discussed the influence of catastrophizing across all of the psychological disorders. He described how catastrophizing was adaptive in the wild, and that individuals with the “catastrophizing gene” were at the top of the evolutionary ladder. His message was to de-stigmatize mental illness and to show the positive aspects of some symptoms in an evolutionary sense.
Dr. Judith Beck, a featured speaker for this event, provided the Keynote address. Dr. Beck talked about ways to reduce stigma, first, by providing a rationale for labeling both mental illness and physical illness as just “illness. ” Second, she discussed how people with mental illness need help to de-stigmatize themselves by evaluating their self-critical thoughts, especially those that interfere with seeking treatment. Dr. Beck also talked about Cognitive Behavior Therapy and noted the overwhelming amount of research that demonstrates its effectiveness for a large number of problems. Dr. Beck described what a typical therapy session is like and how it leads to improvement. She concluded with why we should all have hope for people with mental illness—because good therapy can help them get better and stay better. Dr. Judith Beck was also presented with a plaque in recognition of her advances in the field.