Albert Ellis, Pioneering Psychologist Dies at 93
Albert Ellis, a controversial psychotherapist who departed from Freud's classic psychoanalysis, died on July 25th at age 93 in New York. Dr. Ellis' theory became Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in which he encouraged individuals to focus on what is happening in their lives at the moment and to take action. Dr. Ellis believed that people are born with a talent for what he termed "crooked thinking" or distortions of perception which sabotaged their attempts to be happy. He also felt that people could change through therapy by first accepting themselves and then retraining to avoid destructive thinking and emotions. Along with Dr. Aaron Beck, this approach became a foundation for today's Cognitive Behavior Therapy which is as effective as medication in treating depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other conditions. Ellis long prided himself on his ability to confront people in positive and helpful ways. He used humor and frankness to address issues which were uncomfortable for many. His approach encouraged people to change and to take charge of their lives. Dr. Ellis' impact on modern psychotherapy is significant and he will be long remembered as a charismatic pioneer.