Ellis, Albert, 1913-2007

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BIOGHIST REQUIRED Albert Ellis was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 1913 to Hettie and Henry Oscar Ellis. He was the eldest son, with a brother, Paul, and sister Janet. Not long after Ellis was born, his family moved to New York City, where he was raised. When Ellis was 12 years old, his parents divorced. As a child, he also suffered from kidney disorder. He became a voracious reader, focusing on philosophy, and used many of these philosophic teachings to train himself to tackle his shyness and overall anxiety about a variety of undertakings in life.

Ellis wanted to be a writer, more specifically a novelist. Between the ages of 19-28, he sent multiple book-length manuscripts out for publication. After continuous rejection, he decided to attempt non-fiction instead. He began to write about sex and many of his friends and family sought his advice. He enjoyed counseling and decided to become a professional therapist. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the City College of New York in 1934, and M.A. (1943), and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 1947.

During the 1940s, Ellis taught at Rutgers and New York University. He also acted as senior clinical psychologist at the New Jersey Mental Hygiene Clinic, served as Chief Psychologist of the New Jersey State Diagnostic Center and at the New Jersey Department of Institutions and Agencies. In addition, he acted as consultant in clinical psychology to the New York City Board of Education and to the Veterans Administration.

Ellis originated Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 1955 as a cognitive behavioral system of psychotherapy. REBT teaches clients to use cognitive, emotive, and behavioral methods to counter their self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors. During the 1960s and 1970s, similar forms of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) were developed, many of which drew on REBT.

In 1957, Ellis published his first book on REBT, How to Live with a Neurotic. He went on to publish 54 books and hundreds of articles. He founded and organized the Institute for Rational Living (Albert Ellis Institute) in 1959, in Manhattan where it is still operating presently. He gave Friday Night Workshops, which demonstrated REBT methodology in a public forum, at the Institute for over 30 years. Ellis served as President Emeritus of the Institute until his death on July 24, 2007. Ellis is survived by his wife, Dr. Debbie Joffe Ellis, who continues his legacy by advocating for REBT through presentations, articles, and counseling.

Ellis served as President and fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division of Consulting Psychology. He was a president, of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, and was a fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Applied Anthropology. He was a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, of the Clinical Hypnosis of the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, of the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists, and of the American Board of Sexology. Ellis has been President of the Advisory Council of Distinguished Humanists, has served as Vice-President of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, as Chairman of the Marriage Counseling Section of the National Council of Family Relations, and as Executive Committee Member of the Divisions of Psychotherapy and of Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and of the New York Society of Clinical Psychologists.

Ellis has served as Consulting or Associate Editor of the following journals: • Journal of Marital and Family Therapy • The International Journal of Sexology • Existential Psychiatry • The Journal of Individual Psychology • The Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy • Journal of Sex, Research • Voices: the Art and Science of Psychotherapy • Cognitive Therapy and Research • Psychological Reports • Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy • Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy • Psychotherapy in Private Practice • Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality • International Journal of Eclectic and Integrative Psychotherapy

From the guide to the Albert Ellis Papers, 1920-2007, [Bulk Dates: 1965-1997]., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Maslow, Abraham H. (Abraham Harold). Abraham Maslow papers, 1929-1972. University of Akron, Bierce Library
referencedIn Lyle Stuart Papers, 1926-2010, [Bulk Dates: 1949-2003] Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn John Collier papers, 1910-1987 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Wais, Kurt, 1907-. Letter. 1936 Dec. 3. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
referencedIn John Collier papers Yale University Library
creatorOf Albert Ellis Papers, 1920-2007, [Bulk Dates: 1965-1997]. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Academy of Psychotherapists. corporateBody
associatedWith American Association of Marriage Counselors. corporateBody
associatedWith American Psychological Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Ard, Ben. person
associatedWith Barricade Books. corporateBody
associatedWith Barron, Jules. person
associatedWith Beck, Aaron T. person
associatedWith Branden, Barbara. person
associatedWith Branden, Nathaniel. person
associatedWith Carol Publishing. corporateBody
associatedWith Ciardi, John. person
associatedWith Clark, Le Mon, 1897- person
associatedWith Collier, John, 1884-1968. person
associatedWith Corsini, Raymond J. person
associatedWith Crawford, Ted. person
associatedWith DiGiuseppe, Raymond. person
associatedWith Dryden, Windy. person
associatedWith Ellis, Debbie Joffe, 1956- person
associatedWith Gebhard, Paul H. person
associatedWith Geis, H. Jon. person
associatedWith Gillette, Paul J. person
associatedWith Grieger, Russell. person
associatedWith Gullo, John M. person
associatedWith Guze, Henry. person
associatedWith Harper, Robert Allen. person
associatedWith Hauck, Paul. person
associatedWith Hawthorn Books. corporateBody
associatedWith Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Institute for Sex Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Kinsey, Alfred C. (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956 person
associatedWith Lazarus, Arnold A. person
associatedWith Legman, Gershon, 1917- person
associatedWith Maslow, Abraham H. (Abraham Harold) person
associatedWith Maultsby, Maxie C. person
associatedWith May, Rollo. person
associatedWith Meehl, Paul E. (Paul Everett), 1920-2003 person
associatedWith Montagu, Ashley, 1905-1999 person
associatedWith Pillay, A. P. (Alyappin Padmanabbha), 1890- person
associatedWith Pomeroy, Wardell Baxter. person
associatedWith Powers, Melvin, 1922- person
associatedWith Rand, Ayn. person
associatedWith Rogers, Carl R. (Carl Ransom), 1902-1987 person
associatedWith Sagarin, Edward, 1913- person
associatedWith Science and Behavior Books. corporateBody
associatedWith Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Spectorsky, Auguste C., 1910- person
associatedWith Stuart, Carol. person
associatedWith Stuart, Lyle. person
associatedWith Twayne Publishers. corporateBody
associatedWith Vernon, Ann. person
associatedWith Wais, Kurt, 1907- person
associatedWith Weinrach, Stephen G. person
associatedWith Wolfe, Janet L. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Behavior therapy
Cognitive therapy
Marital psychotherapy
Marriage counseling
Objectivism (Philosophy)
Psychotherapy, Rational
Rational emotive behavior therapy


Birth 1913-09-27

Death 2007-07-24




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