Pragmatism example: Aaron T. Beck and his pragmatic approach to overcome depression

Pragmatism example: Aaron T. Beck and his pragmatic approach to overcome depression

Aaron T. Beck is a prominent psychotherapist, clinical theorist,and the founder of cognitive therapy. He has devoted his entire life to helping his patients overwhelm depression. In the field of clinical depression treatment, he pioneered to a challenging program of research designed to attempt Freud’s notion that depression was a consequence of unconscious anger (Nordhaus & Shellenberger, 2007).Through such a big challenge at the start and high concentration on dealing with psychiatric crises later on, he is considered as a groundbreaking pragmatist who is mentioned by environmentalists Nordhaus and Shellenberger in our reader. Therefore, this paper mainly focuses on supporting arguments for Aaron T. Beck is a great example of pragmatism. Firstly, it gives a brief background of his major contributions to psychotherapy. By doing so, it supports and gives examples of his pragmatic approach in his career.

His cognitive therapy (CT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have affected nearly all of the non-psychotic disorders (such as panic and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and addiction, childhood disorders, etc.), as well as personality disorders (borderline bipolar disorder and antisocial personality) and the psychoses (including schizophrenia (Butler, Chapman, Forman, & Beck, 2006).He initially began this approach by testing Freudian psychoanalysis tradition which is an outstanding example of practicality. He was skeptical about the previous notion of treating depression. By looking back on the efficacy of it, he found out that the results had not been successful. Afterwards, he realized that fixating on the repressed childhood traumas or the causes of particular depression could even deteriorate the depressed condition. Instead, he suggested an idea that patients had to be taught to redefine their stories and re-narrate their lives and as a consequence they visualize their future they want to have. Our brains consistently receive and send back information. Hence, once the brain is informed by positive plans for the future, it delivers back reasonable actions to achieve those and at the same time overcome, forget about the traumas in the past (Nordhaus & Shellenberger, 2007). Here it comes again the scientific paradigm of learning from the past mistakes and finding new meaning in old experiences.

For him, the unconscious does not play an important role that Freud schemed. One of Beck’s favorite axioms is “there is more to the surface than meets the eye (Goode ,2000). The cognitive method involves a person using rational thoughts to overcome fears rather than delving into the unconscious causes of those fears. In cognitive therapy the fears of the client are carefully examined and confronted rationally. The key to many psychological difficulties, Dr. Beck has found in over 40years of research and experience, roots in “thinking problems” that are much closer to conscious awareness. Thereupon, I think that since this pragmatic approach of cognitive therapy as a lesson for post environmentalism, today’s main such global issues should be as climate change, air pollution, or energy consumption problems should be considered similarly. Rather than discussing on what has caused such problems or assuming the negative imaginary of our future if not solved, we should narrate, generalize the reality and identify what constrains our possibilities and construct our new alternative solutions.

In conclusion, a study of cognitive therapy pioneered by Aaron T.Beck is very good example of how to deal with crises and overcome them through a consciously pragmatic approach. When there is a particular problem or issue, we cannot find a solution by analyzing the root cause or the bad effects of it. We should be more open-minded, innovative and at the same time learn to forget but learn from our past mistakes.