Albert Ellis, Ph.D., is an author and psychologist who developed Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), a therapeutic approach that stimulates emotional growth and teaches people to replace self-defeating thoughts and actions with more effective ones. REBT gives individuals the power to change the unhealthy behaviors that interfere with their ability to enjoy life. The Albert Ellis Institute is a world center for research, training, and practice of REBT.
Born in 1913, Dr. Ellis established his interest in counseling while promoting what he called the “sex-family revolution.” As he was collecting materials for a treatise called “The Case for Sexual Liberty,” his friends, considering him an expert on the subject, started to ask him for advice. In 1942, he entered the clinical psychology program at Columbia University and started a part-time private practice in family and sex counseling soon after receiving his master’s degree.
Dr. Ellis, who earned his Ph.D. from Columbia as well, began to practice classical psychoanalysis and became a college professor and clinical psychologist. By 1955, he gave up psychoanalysis entirely and instead concentrated on changing people’s behavior by persuading them to confront their irrational beliefs and adopt rational ones. He has written approximately 800 articles and 75 books on REBT, sex, and marriage, including A Guide to Rational Living.
Currently the president of The Albert Ellis Institute, Dr. Ellis remains one of the most influential psychologists of our time. His Friday Night Workshop offers the opportunity to see REBT in action through two lively problem-solving sessions with audience volunteers. A devoted writer, playwright, and novelist, Dr. Ellis finished almost two dozen full-length manuscripts by age 28.
• The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you partly control your own destiny.
• Studies have shown that having an optimistic attitude tends to appreciably help people to be productive, to eventually live healthier and happier lives."
• The more sinful and guilty a person tends to feel, the less chance there is that he will be a happy, healthy, or law-abiding citizen. He will often become a compulsive wrongdoer. This is because he does not nearly blame his behavior—but also blames his total self, his entire being.
• U.S.A. or Unconditional Self-Acceptance means that you can accept yourself 100 percent even when faced with failure or rejection by others. U.S.A. is a very healthy state to be in.
• Irrational Beliefs/Rational Beliefs (IB’s and RB’s):
IB’s are very disrupting and harmful for a person to have. They will often think worse of themselves and what others think of them then is really reality. Phrases such as “I must” or “I have too” are IB’s. RB’s are constructive and helpful beliefs to have. They enable a person to realize what is important and what is reality. They breed healthy life styles and patterns of thought.
Albert Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), which is the foundation for the cognitive therapy approaches that are used today by many therapists. He has written many articles for therapists and psychologists, describing in detail the workings of and benefits of REBT. One of his most important books targeted individuals (the layman) to enable them to apply the principles of REBT themselves. It is A Guide to Rational Living, co-written with Robert A. Harper, and it is the best place to get started.
In the “Albert Ellis Biography” section above, we provided a basic definition of REBT. This book takes you to the next step. In it, Dr. Ellis provides many examples and very specific instructions on how to change negative, irrational, and destructive feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. He gives us a method for disputing these thoughts and brings us closer to “rational living.”
The title of the first chapter in A Guide to Rational Living is “How Far Can You Go With Self Therapy?”. Here are some other chapters that effectively deal with a wide range of irrational thoughts and behavior:
• Overcoming the influences of your past.
• Refusing to be desperately unhappy.
• Tackling dire needs for approval.
• Eradicating dire fears of failure.
• How to feel undepressed though frustrated.
• Conquering anxiety.
Will self therapy work for everybody? Absolutely not. Can self therapy help many people? Definitely. How do we determine if we need to work with a trained therapist or can apply self therapy? The best way to find out is by trying.
ADDRESS: The Albert Ellis Institute
45 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10021
PHONE: (800) 323-4738 or (212) 535-0822