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Thus, he believed that through cognitive changes the emotional life of the individual would be improved.

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Ellis was a pioneer in the therapy, rejecting the psychoanalytic tradition that had dominated for years, and equally rejecting behaviorism and those that promoted religion as supportive of psychological health. For Ellis it was the intellect that dominates our life; when we hold on dogmatically to an irrational belief whether that be religious dogma, uncritical acceptance of a political or scientific doctrine, or the need for individual achievement and perfection, it becomes unhealthy. The way to psychological health, therefore, for Ellis was to develop healthy thinking, which he defined as rational thought unadulterated by such dogmatic beliefs.

Despite his atheism , Ellis acknowledged that belief in a loving God was psychologically healthy. Taking this further, which Ellis did not do, one can realize that it is true love that brings health, not merely correct thinking. He was the eldest of three children. Ellis' father was a businessman , often away from home on business trips who reportedly showed only a modicum of affection to his children. 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.

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Like his father, Ellis' mother was emotionally distant from her children. Ellis recounted that she was often sleeping when he left for school and usually not 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 reported that he had eight hospitalizations between the ages of five and seven.


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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.

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Ellis stated that he learned to confront his adversities as he had "developed a growing indifference to that dereliction. Ellis entered the field of clinical psychology after first earning a Bachelor of Arts 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 , 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 , Ellis began his studies for a Ph. He completed his Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Columbia University in June , and started a part-time private practice while still working on his Ph.

D degree — possibly because there was no licensing of psychologists in New York at that time. Ellis began publishing articles even before receiving his Ph. He concluded that only the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory met the standards of a research-based instrument.

In Ellis was taken ill with serious intestinal problems, which led to hospitalization and the removal of his large intestine. He returned to work after a few months of being nursed back to health by Debbie Joffe, his assistant, who later became his wife. In he was subjected to removal from all his professional duties, and from the board of his own institute after a dispute over the management policies of the institute.

Ellis was reinstated to the board in January , after winning civil proceedings against the board members who removed him. The suit alleges a breach of a long-term contract with the AEI and sought recovery of the 45 East Sixty-fifth Street property through the imposition of a constructive trust.


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In April , Ellis was hospitalized with pneumonia, and spent more than a year shuttling between hospital and a rehabilitation facility. He eventually returned to his residence on the top floor of the Albert Ellis Institute. His final work—a textbook on Personality Theory—was completed shortly before his death. It will be posthumously published by Sage Press in early Ellis's age and ill health did not prevent him from working and teaching.

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He once said at 90 years of age:. See people. Give workshops. Write and preach the gospel according to St. 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.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: A Therapist's Guide

Karen Horney would be the single greatest influence in Ellis' 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 , 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.

If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Journal of Clinical Psychology Volume 65, Issue 2. William Hathaway Corresponding Author E-mail address: willhat regent. Erica Tan Regent University Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access.

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Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Abstract The interface of religiously accommodative and oriented treatments and the cognitive—behavioral tradition is explored. Citing Literature. Volume 65 , Issue 2 February Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID.