Dr. Albert Ellis, headed the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy based in New York City for over 50 years. Under his leadership, Rational Emotive Therapy became an international movement and the first real alternative to the psychoanalytic approach. A reader recently commented on my you tube Cognitive-Therapy Video that Dr.Albert Ellis is considered the “grandfather” of Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and not Dr. Aaron Beck. Actually, Dr.Ellis is the founder of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) a similar approach with some important differences in both principles and practice. REBT tries to get people to change their fundamental “beliefs” rather just their negative self-talk. Also, in REBT the therapist is often more vigorous, forceful and confrontational is getting clients to change their way of thinking than is typically done through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
There are two separate major training Centers for these approaches, the Albert Ellis Institute, based in New York and the Cognitive Therapy Center based in Philadelphia.
Dr.Albert Ellis was a prolific writer with over 50 books and hundreds of articles to his credit. For much of his professional life he saw individual clients and ran groups almost every day of the week. Known for his hard nosed, no nonsense approach, he was well known for vigorous disputing of negative beliefs using strong and even vulger language to get clients to give up their “screwy thinking”. Almost every Friday night, he would demonstrate Rational Emotive Therapy in live demonstrations at the Institute choosing a member from the audience to come up and get therapy on the spot. Ellis was also known for giving clients homework to do between sessions to reinforce the work done in the therapy sessions.
Not everyone appreciated the loud style of Dr. Albert Ellis and the softer, more personable style of Dr. Aaron Beck may have lead to the greater popularity of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.