The Story of Albert Ellis: A Review

Albert Ellis, the psychotherapist who played a large role in the development of cognitive behavioral therapy and the self-help movement, passed away in 2007. But a new book chronicles the story of his life, a story which sets the groundwork for his professional work in the field of psychology. The book, Ellis’ autobiography, is titled “ALL OUT!” and was written by Ellis in an attempt to be as forthcoming, as all-out, as possible about his personal successes and failures. One of Ellis’ main personal and professional convictions was that of self-acceptance: “to feel sorry about but unashamed of” one’s personal flaws and mistakes. By owning them, it gives us the opportunity to take them into our own hands and change ourselves for the better.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most widely-used types of psychotherapy. It focuses on working closely with the therapist to identify problems and stresses, then creating individual goals to improve those situations. By working through life’s important issues with a good therapist, a person can become more aware of his or her strengths and weakness, as well as the relationships between beliefs, thoughts, and actual behaviors. Understanding why we respond to things the way we do is one of the chief benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy, as it helps us be more aware of ourselves and more conscious of or own behaviors.

In addition to helping develop cognitive behavioral therapy, Ellis developed a specific form of psychotherapy that is considered to be quite successful: rational emotive behavior therapy, or REBT. He played a large role in the growth and respect of cognitive behavioral therapy and influenced the self-help movement with his strong belief in self-acceptance and self-improvement as two of the core pillars of personal growth. His autobiography illustrates how Ellis’ own personal experiences led him to the beliefs and understandings that underscored early cognitive behavioral therapy and led to its wide success today.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • NICK


    August 8th, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    I am in the HR department of a company and often see at interviews that many people do not actually know their own strengths or weaknesses.When you ask them about their strengths,they always say general things like hard-working and active and other things.But when asked why they think so,whether there has been an incident that has proven this,there is complete silence.

    The silence continues when asked about their weaknesses.

    This just shows how less people know themselves and how much they have to discover their own selves.

  • Marlon Samuels

    Marlon Samuels

    August 9th, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    Its funny how we spend time with others discovering them and interacting and knowing about them, yet we spend so little time in discovering ourselves, knowing what we actually are ourselves. I would definitely want to discover myself more and I want to do it before I actually have a problem.

  • Paula


    August 9th, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    Great to learn all about those who were the pioneers in the field

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on