Historical Roots of CBT [Source: Beck Institute Video]

Dr. Beck rebelled against the theory of psychoanalysis, but agreed with the research findings and theories of Albert Ellis (Founder of Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) and George Kelly (Psychologist, Ohio State University). The information he gathered from their work provided him with the structure for the development of his own theories. 

Go to video link here @ https://psychwire.com/beck/resources/historical-roots-cbt – provided in the spirit of sharing the knowledge of psychology


  • Dr Beck was trained in psychiatry and psychoanalysis
  • his first published paper was “Cognitive Distortions in Depression”
  • Ellis’s work provided both support and inspiration for Beck to further develop his own theories and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Kelly wrote a 2 volume work called “The Constructs of Psychopathology”

Personal construct theory or personal construct psychology (PCP) is a theory of personality and cognition developed by the American psychologist George Kelly in the 1950s. From the theory, Kelly derived a psychotherapy approach and also a technique called the repertory grid interview that helped his patients to analyze their own constructs (schemas or ways of seeing the world) with minimal intervention or interpretation by the therapist. The repertory grid was later adapted for various uses within organizations, including decision-making and interpretation of other people’s world-views.

Kelly explicitly stated that each individual’s task in understanding their personal psychology is to put in order the facts of his or her own experience. Then the individual, like the scientist, is to test the accuracy of that constructed knowledge by performing those actions the constructs suggest. If the results of their actions are in line with what the knowledge predicted, then they have done a good job of finding the order in their personal experience. If not, then they can modify the construct: their interpretations or their predictions or both. This method of discovering and correcting constructs is simply the scientific method used by all modern sciences to discover the truths about the universe we live in.

Kelly proposed that every construct is bipolar, specifying how two things are similar to each other (lying on the same pole) and different from a third thing, and they can be expanded with new ideas. More recent researchers have suggested that constructs need not be bipolar.


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