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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Albert Ellis

posted by on July 25 at 13:50 PM


I love a good psychotherapist obit. (Go ahead, put your Freudian analysis of that statement in the comments, make my day.)

And I am not alone. Jen Graves and I were walking back from lunch just now and she said:

“Did you read that thing about the thera…”

We got distracted, and moved on to something else, but I knew what she was talking about. A moment later, I said:

“The obituary?”

Here is my favorite part of the obituary, the part where the psychotherapist-as-a-young-man does some completely understandable things that today would probably get him tagged as a sexual predator.

At 19 he was painfully shy and eager to change his behavior. In one exercise he staked out a bench in a park near his home, determined to talk to every woman who sat there alone. In one month, he said, he approached 130 women.

“Thirty walked away immediately,” he said in the Times article. “I talked with the other 100, for the first time in my life, no matter how anxious I was. Nobody vomited and ran away. Nobody called the cops.”

Though he got only one date as a result, his shyness disappeared, he said.

Here is Jen’s favorite quote from Dr. Ellis:

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

RSS icon Comments



Posted by Ryan | July 25, 2007 1:54 PM

Very awesome.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | July 25, 2007 2:13 PM

I knew this guy. During the 70's REBT's building was used for consciousness raising sessions. It was a gorgeous place... the original townhouse of Eleanor and Franklin and right next to his mother's townhouse. She'd bought both so Franklin would never be far from her. Yikes.

I would sit in the library which had all the original furniture and think... wow... Franklin used to sit right there at that very desk! I was star struck.

Ellis was deliciously crazy.

One of the 'exercises' he wanted us to do to show that embarrassments don't matter was to put a string through a banana and walk it down the street like a dog. We ignored that kind of advice, but Ellis was a fun guy for sure.

Posted by Doris Nicastro | July 25, 2007 5:54 PM

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