Richard G. Petty, MD

Albert Ellis, R.I.P.

I just heard that Albert Ellis has passed away at the age of 93.

I think that most people who have ever done a psychology course will have heard of him. He was always controversial and upset a lot of people, particularly in regard to some of his early comments about religion and human sexuality, but he also made some important contributions to psychologyadn , was not afraid of changing is position if he thought tht he was wrong.

In 1955 he developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and he was considered by many to be the grandfather of cognitive-behavioral therapies.

In 1982 a professional survey of U.S. and Canadian
psychologists, declared that he was one of the most influential psychotherapists in history (Carl Rogers placed first in the survey; Sigmund Freud placed third). Ellis founded and was the president and president emeritus of the New York City-based Albert Ellis Institute. His 90th birthday party was attended by Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

Here are a few of his quotations that I found in my library and database.

“Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.”

“As a result of my philosophy, I wasn’t even upset about Hitler. I was willing to go to war to knock him off, but I didn’t hate him. I hated what he was doing.”

“By not caring too much about what people think, I’m able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed.”

“Cognitive behavior therapy and rational emotive behavior therapy are much more popular with the public than they ever were.”

“For that again, is what all manner of religion essentially is: childish dependency.”

“Freud had a gene for inefficiency, and I think I have a gene for efficiency.”

“From the start, I always included philosophic techniques as well as experiential, emotional and behavioral techniques.”

“I eventually gave up being an analyst. You had to be too passive and not speak up.”

“I get people to truly accept themselves unconditionally, whether or not their therapist or anyone loves them.”

“I had a great many sex and love cases where people were absolutely devastated when somebody with whom they were compulsively in love didn’t love them back. They were killing themselves with anxiety and depression. “

“I had used eclectic therapy and behavior therapy on myself at the age of 19 to get over my fear of public speaking and of approaching young women in public.”

“I hope to die in the saddle seat.”

“I just had a client this week who came to me after 10 years of Freudian therapy. He’s in love with his analyst, and she is sort of in love with him.”

“I regret that I’ve been so busy with clinical work that I haven’t been able to spend much time on experiments and outcome studies.”

“I started to call myself a rational therapist in 1955; later I used the term rational emotive. Now I call myself a rational emotive behavior therapist.”

“I think it’s unfair, but they have the right as fallible, screwed-up humans to be unfair; that’s the human condition.”

“I think the future of psychotherapy and psychology is in the school system. We need to teach every child how to rarely seriously disturb himself or herself and how to overcome disturbance when it occurs.”

“I thought foolishly that Freudian psychoanalysis was deeper and more intensive than other, more directive forms of therapy, so I was trained in it and practiced it.”

“I would have liked having children to some degree, but frankly I haven’t got the time to take the kids to the goddamn ballgame.”

“I wrote several articles criticizing psychoanalysis, but the analysts weren’t listening to my objections. So I finally quit after practicing it for six years.”

“I’ll be 87 tomorrow. When I’m in New York, I see as many 70 or more clients per week.”

“I’m very happy. I like my work and the various aspects of it-going around the world, teaching the gospel according to St. Albert.”

“I’ve lived in sin with the executive director of our institute for 35 years. I was married twice briefly before that.”

“If I had been a member of the academic establishment, I could have done other experiments.”

“If something is irrational, that means it won’t work. It’s usually unrealistic.”

“In the old days we used to get more referrals, because people had insurance that paid for therapy. Now they belong to HMOs, and we can only be affiliated with a few HMOs.”

“Let’s suppose somebody abused you sexually. You still had a choice, though not a good one, about what to tell yourself about the abuse.”

“Many psychoanalysts refused to let me speak at their meetings. They were exceptionally vigorous because I had previously been an analyst and they were very angry at my flying the coop.”

“Most people would have given up when faced with all the criticism I’ve received over the years.”

“People could rationally decide that prolonged relationships take up too much time and effort and that they’d much rather do other kinds of things. But most people are afraid of rejection.”

“People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness.”

“People got insights into what was bothering them, but they hardly did a damn thing to change.”

“People have motives and thoughts of which they are unaware.”

“Rational beliefs bring us closer to getting good results in the real world.”

“Self-esteem is the greatest sickness known to man or woman because it’s conditional.”

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

“The psychotics, naturally, don’t think straight. Severe personality disorders take much longer to treat than people who are neurotic.”

“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational.”

“We teach people that they upset themselves. We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.”

“We teach people to be flexible, scientific and logical in their thinking and therefore to be less prone to brainwashing by the therapist.”

“We’re a nonprofit organization, and it usually costs $100 an hour for individual therapy. Participating in a group costs $120 a month.”

“You largely constructed your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.”

“I just got fed up. I was ready to blow up. This country is about enforcing our laws and if we don’t, we’ll have chaos worse than we already do.”

“The more sinful and guilty a person tends to feel, the less chance there is that he will be a happy, healthy, or law-abiding citizen. He will become a compulsive wrong-doer.”

“Tolerance is anathema to devout divinity-centered religionists."

“Anyway, devout religionists are frequently attracted to and bound to their piety largely because it presumably offers them holier-than-thouness and one-up-man-ship over non-religionists."

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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