Albert Ellis (1913 - )

Born in Pittsburgh, although soon moving to New York, Ellis is the prolific founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, writing more than 700 articles, 50 books, starting the Journal of Rational-Emotive Behavior and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. In his 80s, he continues to work 80+ hour weeks.

Ellis' work emphasizes the role of irrational beliefs in maintaining our depression. As a result, his work, at least as he practices it, is fairly confrontational as he attacks those beliefs leading to maladaptive emotional consequences. However, he believes in criticizing the behavior and thoughts of a person, not the person. This latter idea is similar to Roger's unconditional positive regard, and not usually associated with Ellis. Look here for a comparison of Ellis' views of psychotherapy to Aaron Beck's.

Ellis is known for his humorous ways of challenging the "stinking thinking" of his clients. Here are two songs he uses:

"Whine, Whine, Whine"
(To the tune of "The Whiffenpoof Song," by Guy Schull)

I cannot have all of my wishes filled-
Whine, whine, whine!
I cannot have every frustration stilled-
Whine, whine, whine!
Life really owes me the things that I miss,
Fate has to grant me eternal bliss!
And since I must settle for less than this-
Whine, whine, whine!

"Love Me, Love Me, Only Me!"
(To the tune of "Yankee Doodle")

Love me, love me, only me or I'll die without you!
Make your love a guarantee, so I can never doubt you!
Love me, love me totally; really, really try, dear;
But if you must rely on me, I'll hate you till I die, dear!
Love me, love me all the time, thoroughly and wholly;
Life turns into slushy slime 'less you love me solely!
Love me with great tenderness, with no ifs or buts, dear:
For if you love me somewhat less, I'll hate your goddamned guts, dear!

(Lyrics by Albert Ellis, copyright 1977 by the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy.)

Look here for references to some of Ellis' work.

This page was written to support my Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy class.

Page by jms

Last modified August 31, 2000.

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