The Beck Institute, a pioneer and guardian of cognitive therapy, hosted a gala gathering last night to launch a major new book lauded as”the best book on public policy and mental health ever written”, entitled Thrive: How Better Mental Health Care Transforms Lives and Saves Money, by Richard Layard and David M. Clark. PsychOdyssey’s Tom Pyle attended the event, held at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy.
Presiding for the evening was the legendary psychologist Aaron T. Beck, 94, the father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a major psychotherapy modality which today is an integral component of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery for loved ones with mental illness. Accompanying Dr. Beck was his daughter Judith Beck, a renowned psychologist in her own rite, and Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, the eminent American psychologist, educator, prolific author of self-help books, and a vanguard thought leader in the field of positive psychology.
Before a packed amphitheater of psychologists, clients, and students, Dr. Beck introduced Thrive’s two distinguished authors, both from England, Professor David M. Clark , a clinical psychologist at Oxford University and Professor Lord Richard Grenville Layard, a labor economist at the London School of Economics and member of the British House of Lords. Each presented findings from their recent collaboration studies showing the extraordinary deficiencies and costs of inadequate mental health care and compelling statistics about successful outcomes in public mental health in the United Kingdom.
The authors described mental illness as a leading cause of suffering worldwide and demonstrated the extraordinary effectiveness of modern psychological therapies such as CBT in helping loved ones turn their lives around at little or no public cost. They asserted from their research that such modern treatments can generate enormous social benefits from huge economic savings for society in many ways, as well as relief from suffering for millions.
Thrive promises to be a most useful instrument for addressing mental health public policy concerns especially with legislators, advocates, and politicians. As Professor Seligman himself writes, “Layard and Clark make a compelling case for a massive injection of resources into the treatment and prevention of mental illness. This is simply the best book on public policy and mental health ever written.” [Emphasis added].
Next week PsychOdyssey will be distributing copies of Thrive to U.S. congressmen during its forthcoming participation in “Hill Day” on Tuesday, October 6, a major lobbying event of a coalition of national mental health advocates including National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Council for Behavioral Health, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, and Mental Health America.