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R.I.P. Albert Ellis

Updated on February 12, 2012

Dr. Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Dead at 93

Albert Ellis, whose innovative straight-talk approach to psychotherapy made him one of the most influential and provocative figures in modern psychology, died July 24, 2007, at his home above the institute he founded in Manhattan. He was 93.

"Neurosis," he said was just a high-class word for whining."

"The trouble with most therapy is that it it helps you to feel better," he said in a 2004 article in the NY Times. "But you don't get better. You have to back it up with action, action, action."

His admirers credited Dr. Ellis with adapting the "talking cure," the dominant theory in extended Freudian sessions, to a pragmatic, stop-complaining-and-get-on-with-your-life form of guidance later popularized by television personalities like Dr. Phil.

Ellis was the author of more than 75 books, many of them best sellers. Among them were "'A Guide to a Successful Marriage," "Overcoming Procrastination," "How to Live with a Neurotic," "The Art of Erotic Seduction," "Sex Without Guilt," "A Guide to Rational Living," and "How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything--Yes Anything."

"Do you know why your family is trying to control you?" he asked a volunteer who had joined him in front of an audience. "Because they are out of their fucking minds!"

Despite his failing health, Dr. Ellis maintained a a demanding schedule late into his life.

"I'll retire when I'm dead," he said at 90. "While I'm alive, I want to keep doing what I want to do. See people. Give workshops. Write and preach the gospel according to St. Albert."

Read the entire long NYTimes obituary on this unusual man here


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