PJ Media

RIP Dr. Ellis

I was at work all day and just saw the news at a href=”http://instapundit.com/archives2/007543.php”Instapundit/a and a href=”http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/07/neurosis-is-just-high-class-word-for.html”Ann Althouse’s blog/a that a href=”http://www.albertellis.org/albert_ellis_notice.html”Albert Ellis has died./a I have followed Ellis’s work since I was in grad school in New York and he gave free Friday night seminars to students and others on his a href=”http://www.albertellis.org/albert_ellis_notice.html”rational emotive behavior therapy techniques:/abr /br /blockquoteAs a practicing psychoanalyst from 1947 to 1953, Dr. Ellis grew increasingly doubtful about the efficacy of that form of psychotherapy, concerned that no amount of talk would help his clients if they failed to take action against their habitual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By late 1953, he had stopped calling himself a psychoanalyst and begun developing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), an action-oriented therapy aimed at making emotional and behavioral change through challenging self-defeating thoughts. br /br /REBT is today widely acclaimed as a pioneering approach to psychotherapy and the foundation of all modern cognitive behavior therapies. In 2003, the American Psychological Association named Dr. Ellis the second most influential psychologist of the 20th century, second only to Carl Rogers. In 2005, Dr. Ellis’s 78th book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591023548?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1591023548″The Myth of Self-esteem,/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1591023548″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / was published. /blockquotebr /br /My favorite Ellis book is a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0806527382?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0806527382″How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable about Anything: Yes Anything!/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0806527382″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / The main theme of the book is that “No matter how badly you act, no matter how unfairly others treat you, no matter how crummy are the conditions you live under–you virtually alway (yes, A-L-W-A-Y-S) have the ability and the power to change your intense feelings of anxiety, despair, and hostility. Not only can you decrease them, you can practically annihilate and remove them.” His book goes on to explain his methods for doing so. br /br /Does it always work? No, but I have used his methods in my work at times and have found it moderately successful with certain individuals. What I admired most about Ellis is not the fact that he wrote 78 books, but that he was rejected many times in his life and did not a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/25/nyregion/25ellis.html?pagewanted=2en=0911654eac86e8dbex=1343102400partner=permalinkexprod=permalinkamp;amp;amp;ei=5124″let it cripple him in any way:/a br /br /blockquote“I was hated by practically all psychologists and psychiatrists,” he recalled. They thought his approach was “superficial and stupid,” he said, and “they resented that I said therapy doesn’t have to take years.”br /br /In 2005, Dr. Ellis sued the institute after it removed him from its board and canceled his Friday seminars. He and his supporters claimed that the institute had fallen into the hands of psychologists who were moving it away from his revolutionary therapy techniques./blockquotebr /br /In a recent short interview in span style=”font-style:italic;”Psychology Today,/span Ellis talks about self confidence, having a happy existence and learning to accept rejection no matter what and he encourages people to “keep moving, moving, moving and to try scary things and not to give a s**t when they are rejected.” He practiced what he preached and was an authentic individual. br /br /He will be sorely missed.