Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Albert Ellis

Today marked the death of Albert Ellis, the man who, in 1957, officially founded cognitive behavioral therapy. He was 93.

A 1982 survey of clinical psychologists ranked Ellis as the second-most influential in the field -- ahead of Freud and behind Carl Rogers, founder of humanistic psychology.

Ellis, who was born in Pittsburgh and raised in New York, wrote or co-wrote more than 60 books, including "A Guide to Successful Marriage," "How to Live With a Neurotic" and "A New Guide to Rational Living."

After receiving a doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University, Ellis started a private practice specializing in sex and marriage therapy. R.E.B.T. grew out of his own experiences and the teachings of Greek, Roman and modern philosophers.

While Freud's school focused intensely on childhood and the unconscious to explain the source of neuroses, Ellis' brand of talk therapy asked patients to take immediate action to confront irrational thoughts.

His work, along with that of others including Dr. Aaron Beck, is considered the foundation of cognitive behavior therapy. Ellis was also known for his irreverent lecture style and salty language.

He is also the founder of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York, which is thriving today.

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