Albert Ellis (b. September 27 1913, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American cognitive therapy who in 1955 developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. He is considered by many to be the grandfather of cognitive-behavioral therapies and, based on a 1980s professional survey of USA and Canadian psychologists, probably the most influential living psychotherapist.
Ellis founded and is the president emeritus of the New York City-based (http://www.rebt.org) Albert Ellis Institute. The board of the Institute removed him from all official functions in September 2005, in response to which Ellis filed a lawsuit, which is still pending. Ellis currently works independently of his former institute while endeavoring to regain his position, which he claims was eliminated due to the cost of his remunerations and health care.
Ellis was born to a Jewish family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest of three children, with a brother two years younger and a sister who was four years younger. Ellis's father was a businessman who experienced minimal success at a succession of business ventures; he showed only a modicum of affection to his children and was often away from home on business trips during their early childhood.
In his autobiography, Ellis characterized his mother as a self-absorbed woman with a bipolar disorder. At times, according to Ellis, she was a "bustling chatterbox who never listened". She would expound on her strong opinions on most subjects but rarely provided a factual basis for these views. Like his father, Ellis' mother was emotionally distant from her children. Ellis recounted that she was sleeping when he left for school and was usually not at home when he returned. Instead of reporting feeling bitter, he took on the responsibility of caring for his siblings. He purchased an alarm clock with his own money and woke and dressed his younger brother and sister. When the Great Depression struck, all three children sought work to assist the family.
Ellis was sickly as a child and suffered numerous health problems through his youth. At the age of five he was hospitalized with a kidney disease. He was also hospitalized with tonsillitis, which led to a severe Group A streptococcal infection requiring emergency surgery. He reported that he had eight hospitalizations between the ages of five and seven. One of these lasted nearly a year. His parents provided little or no emotional support for him during these years, rarely visiting or consoling him. Ellis stated that he learned to confront his adversities as he had "developed a growing indifference to that dereliction".
Education and early career
Ellis entered the field of clinical psychology after first earning a Bachelor of Arts academic degree in business from the City University of New York. He began a brief career in business, followed by one as a writer. These endeavors took place during the Great Depression that began in 1929, and Ellis found that business was poor and had no success in publishing his fiction. Finding that he could write non-fiction well, Ellis researched and wrote on human sexuality. His lay counseling in this subject convinced him to seek a new career in clinical psychology.
In 1942, Ellis began his studies for a Doctor of Philosophy in clinical psychology at Columbia University, which trained psychologists mostly in psychoanalysis.
He completed his Master's degree in clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University in June 1943, and started a part-time private practice while still working on his Ph.D degree – possible because there was no licensing of psychologists in New York at that time. Ellis began publishing articles even before receiving his Ph.D.; in 1946 he wrote a critique of many widely-used pencil-and-paper personality tests. He concluded that only the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory met the standards of a research-based instrument.
Development of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
After the completion of his doctorate, Ellis sought additional training in psychoanalysis. Like most psychologists of that time, he was interested in the theories of Sigmund Freud.
Shortly after receiving his Ph.D in 1947, Ellis began a personal analysis and program of supervision with Richard Hulbeck (whose own analyst had been Hermann Rorschach, a leading training analyst at the Karen Horney Institute.) Karen Horney would be the single greatest influence in Ellis's thinking, although the writings of Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan also played a role in shaping his psychological models. Ellis credits Alfred Korzybski and his book, Science and Sanity, for starting him on the philosophical path for founding rational-emotive therapy.
By January 1953 his break with psychoanalysis was complete, and he began calling himself a rational therapist. Ellis was now advocating a new more active and directive type of psychotherapy. By 1955 he dubbed his new approach Rational Therapy (RT). RT required that the therapist help the client understand — and act on the understanding — that his personal philosophy contains beliefs that lead to his own emotional pain. This new approach stressed actively working to change a client’s self-defeating beliefs and behaviors by demonstrating their irrationality and rigidity.
In 1954 Ellis began teaching his new technique to other therapists, and by 1957 he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for neuroses. Two years later Ellis published the book How to Live with a Neurotic which elaborated on his new method. In 1960 Ellis presented a paper on his new approach at the American Psychological Association convention in Chicago. There was mild interest, but few recognized that the paradigm that in a generation would become the zeitgeist had been set forth.
At that time the prevailing interest in experimental psychological was behaviorism, while in clinical psychology it was the psychoanalytic schools of notables such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Fritz Perls. Despite the fact that Ellis’ approach emphasized cognitive, emotive, and behavioral methods, his strong cognitive emphasis provoked almost everyone with the possible exception of the followers of Alfred Adler.
Consequently, he was often received with hostility at professional conferences and in print. At symposia at APA conventions, his strong cognitive emphasis provoked almost everyone with the possible exception of the followers of Alfred Adler. Consequently, he was often received with hostility at professional conferences and in print (http://www.rebt.ws/albertellisbiography.html).
Despite the slow adoption of his approach, Ellis founded his own institute. The Institute for Rational Living was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1959. By 1968 it was chartered by the State of New York Board of Regents as a training institute and psychological clinic. This was no trivial feat as New York State had a Mental Hygiene Act which mandated psychiatric management of mental health clinics. http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/researchroom/rr_health_mh_timeline.shtml Ellis had broken ground by founding an institute purely based on psychological control and principles.
In 2003 Albert Ellis received an award from the Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (UK) for the formulation and development of REBT. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Association.
In recognition of the fact that his institute now places less emphasis on REBT, supporters of Dr. Ellis established the Albert Ellis Foundation in June, 2006. And a Justice for Albert Ellis Campaign can be found here, and here. There is also an Online Petition calling for justice for Albert Ellis. The Archives of the Justice for Albert Ellis Campaign can be found here. And there is an Albert Ellis Discussion Fourm where individuals can discuss the present position of Albert Ellis and his former Institute.
Sex and the Single Man. Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1963. Homosexuality: Its causes and Cures. Lyle Stuart, 1965. A Guide to Rational Living. Wilshire Book Company, 1975, ISBN 0-87980-042-9. How to Live With a Neurotic. Wilshire Book Company, 1979, ISBN 0-87980-404-1. When AA Doesn't Work For You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol. Barricade Books, 1992, ISBN 0-942637-53-4. The Art and Science of Rational Eating, with Mike Abrams Ph.D. and Lidia Abrams Ph.D. Barricade Books, 1992, ISBN 0-942637-60-7. How to Cope with a Fatal Illness, with Mike Abrams Ph.D. Barricade Books, 1994, ISBN 1-56980-005-7. How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons, with Arthur Lange. Citadel Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8065-1670-4. Alcohol : How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did, with Philip Tate Ph.D. See Sharp Press, 1996, ISBN 1-884365-10-8. How to Control Your Anger Before It Controls You, with Raymond Chip Tafrate. Citadel Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8065-2010-8. The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life, with Marcia Grad Powers. Wilshire Book Company, 2000, ISBN 0-87980-445-9. Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Prometheus Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57392-879-8. Overcoming Procrastination: Or How to Think and Act Rationally in Spite of Life's Inevitable Hassles, with William J. Knaus. Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better: Profound Self-Help Therapy For Your Emotions. Impact Publishers, 2001, ISBN 1-886230-35-8. The Road to Tolerance: The Philosophy of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Prometheus Books, 2004, ISBN 1-59102-237-1. The Myth of Self-Esteem. Prometheus Books, 2005, ISBN 1-59102-354-8.
Aaron T. Beck David D. Burns Cognitive therapy
Albert Ellis, Mike Abrams, and Lidia Abrams. Theories of Personality. New York: Sage Press, 2007 (in press).
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/