Definitely the highlight of the convention for me. When I was searching through the convention program and I saw Aaron Beck’s name listed I knew there was simply no way I could miss it. There tends to be moments in one’s life when things come together…when you read something and you feel like the author understands you…thinks like you. Their words form a counterpoint to your thoughts. That’s how I felt the first time I read Aaron Beck’s work and his description of the cognitive model*. His model really connected with the way I saw and thought about the world. That moment of insight laid the groundwork for all future therapeutic work I would and will do. Needless to say, it was pretty special when I could meet (or rather just see) the man in person.
1. Keep things in proportion. 2. Turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
I thought this advice was quite remarkable and essentially described cognitive therapy in a nutshell. Keeping things in proportion is the opposite of the the well-known phrase “catastrophizing” taken from cognitive therapy in addition to cognitive therapy approaches such as examining the evidence and identifying cognitive distortions which attempt to bring cognitions back into proportion.
*An aside: I am a strong believer in the zeitgeist view of history (as opposed to great man (person) theory of history). Therefore, if Dr. Beck didn’t introduce us to the cognitive model, someone else eventually would have created a similar idea because that was the spirit of the times. Although, it might have been called the thought-centered therapy…or analytical therapy..who knows. Regardless, Aaron Beck has been a tremendous scholar and has catapulted the practice and science of psychotherapy over the past 40+ years.