Albert Ellis’ ‘All Out’ Approach Offers Insight On Better Living For All Of Us

Aug 4th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 04 Aug 2010 – 0:00 PDT

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Albert Ellis – one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th and 21st centuries and a pioneer in the self-help movement – created Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy.

Jon Carlson, distinguished professor, Governors State University, notes that when “one of the most memorable and influential psychologists provides the ‘uncensored’ story of his life and times, including the development of [a] revolutionary approach to psychotherapy,” what you get is more than autobiography. “ALL OUT! (Prometheus Books, $30.98) is the master guide to full and rational living.”

The book recounts the memorable episodes of Albert Ellis’s life, discusses how he coped with emotional problems at different life stages, describes his love life, and subjects his own self-description to a ruthlessly honest critique.

The heart of ALL OUT! is Ellis’s analysis of the psychological leitmotifs that have appeared again and again throughout his life. He describes the aim of this autobiography as follows:

“As far as I can, I shall present my bad and good, stupid and intelligent, weak and strong points. Why? Because, following H. G. Wells’s recommendation, I want to go as all out as I can. I want to acknowledge my idiocies – and use REBT to feel sorry about but unashamed of them. I want to make the point – again a central tenet of REBT – that all humans are fabulously fallible – including, of course, me. We have no real choice about this, but we can unconditionally accept ourselves – our so-called essence or being – with our fallibility. That will momentously help us, probably encourage us to acquire unconditional self-acceptance (USA), and possibly inspire other people to give it to themselves, too.”

Debbie Joffe Ellis, the wife and work partner of the late psychologist, explains the influence of Ellis’s work: “Al was a pioneer in the self-help movement – being one of the first to push for people to help themselves and to not depend on therapists and therapy alone for improvement in their lives. He helped the self-empowerment of millions by showing them how they are the creators of their own emotional destinies and need not be the victims of circumstances. He taught people how to create healthy ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.”

She adds, “Many forms of cognitive therapy have developed from his work. His principles and methods are also incorporated widely into other fields of personal development, such as coaching, management, and assertiveness training. New Age and spiritual movements have incorporated his descriptions of the relationship between thinking and feeling, and many of his methods. Dr. Phil is a proponent of the cognitive approach. Variety magazine (in November 2005) named Albert Ellis as one of the icons of the past century – demonstrating that his influence extended way beyond the fields of psychology and psychotherapy, and that he had positively contributed to the lives of millions, helping individuals to help themselves and live happier lives.”

ALL OUT! is “an outrageously honest and astonishingly authentic autobiography,” says Stanley Krippner, PhD; professor of psychology, Saybrook University; and fellow at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He notes, “Ellis was one of the great humanitarians of his era; he certainly walked his talk, whether he was changing the course of psychotherapy, relieving the suffering of countless men and women, or demonstrating that one is never too old to find true love.”

Debbie Joffe Ellis adds, “Without Al’s influence, many lives might have gone in different, less healthy directions. Millions who now accept themselves unconditionally, warts and all, might still feel sad, guilty, and unworthy, yearning unhealthily for more approval and love from others. The world would be a less colorful place, less kind, less hopeful, and less encouraging, if the remarkable Albert Ellis had not existed.”

About the Author:
Albert Ellis, PhD (1913-2007) practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling, and sex therapy for over sixty years. Born in Pittsburgh and raised in New York City, he was founder and president of The Albert Ellis Institute. He created Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now-popular cognitive therapies. Consistently ranked among the most influential psychologists, he was the author of more than seventy-five books, including many popular bestsellers. Other Albert Ellis books available from Prometheus Books are: The Myth of Self-Esteem; The Road to Tolerance; Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me – It Can Work for You; Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy; and (with Raymond J. Yeager) Why Some Therapies Don’t Work: The Dangers of Transpersonal Psychology. Ellis died in 2007, at the age of ninety-three.

Jill Maxick
Prometheus Books

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