Aaron Temkin Beck (born July 18, 1921) is an American psychiatrist and a professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
Beck is regarded as the father of cognitive therapy, and his pioneering theories are widely used in the treatment of clinical depression.
Beck also developed self-report measures of depression and anxiety including Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Hopelessness Scale, Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and Beck Youth Inventories. Beck is noted for his research in psychotherapy, psychopathology, suicide, and psychometrics, which led to his creation of cognitive therapy and the BDI, one of the most widely used instruments for measuring depression severity. Beck collaborated with Maria Kovacs, PhD, in the development of the Children’s Depression Inventory, which used the BDI as a model. Beck’s work at the University of Pennsylvania inspired Martin Seligman to refine his own cognitive techniques and exercises, and later work on learned helplessness. Beck is the President Emeritus of the non-profit Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the Honorary President of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, which certifies qualified cognitive therapists.