History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 27, 1913 and was raised in New York City. He held an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Albert Ellis held many important psychological positions that included: Chief psychologist of the State of New Jersey and professorships at Rutgers and other universities. More importantly, Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT).

In 1954, Ellis began teaching his new techniques to other therapists, and by 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Two years later, Ellis published ‘How to Live with a Neurotic’, which elaborated on his new method.

Albert Ellis established the Albert Ellis Institute in 1959. The Albert Ellis Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a educative and preventative theory. The Albert Ellis Institute promoted Rational Behavioral Therapy’s practice and theory through training professionals and the public. Initially Albert Ellis ran everything from his own private practice as a psychologist. Then Albert Ellis purchased a six story townhouse in Manhattan in 1964. He took that town house that had previously been occupied by The Woodrow Wilson Institute and used it for his work. Albert Ellis donated the earnings of his books to purchase the building and to fund the running costs of the Institute.

Albert Ellis practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling as well as sex therapy for over sixty years at the Psychological Center of the Institute in New York. Albert Ellis also served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several profession societies including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Albert Ellis was ranked one of the most influential psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He also served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals. He published more than eight hundred scientific papers and more than two hundred audio and video cassettes. 

During his final years he collaborated with Michael S. Abrams, Ph.D., on his only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Albert Ellis also wrote an autobiography entitled “All Out!” published by Prometheus Books in June 2010. The book was dedicated to and contributed by his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis who Ellis described as “The greatest love of my whole life, my whole life”. He also entrusted the legacy of REBT to her. In early 2011, the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Dr. Albert Ellis and his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis was released by the American Psychological Association. The book explains the essentials of the theory of REBT and is considered an excellent basic guide in understanding the REBT approach for students and practitioners of psychology as well as for the general public.




History of Therapy – Boris Sidis

History of Therapy - Boris Sidis

Boris Sidis was an influential part of the history of therapy. He was a Ukrainian psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, and philosopher of education. Sidis founded the New York State Psychopathic Institute and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Boris Sidis was born in the Ukraine in 1867 and immigrated to the United States in 1887 to escape persecution. At that time, Jewish immigrants were subject to the Mays Laws. As a result, Boris Sidis was imprisoned for two years when he came to the United States.

Boris Sidis attended Harvard University and completed four degrees: a BA, MA, PhD, and an MD. He was very influential in the early 20th century in the field of psychopathology. He developed his own method of hypnosis and was successful at treating both cases of functional nervous and mental disorders. He worked in hospitals, private practice, and sanitariums. He is known for applying the Theory of Evolution to the study of psychology.

Sidis opposed World War One. He viewed war as a social disease. He also disagreed with the theory of eugenics, which was very popular at the time. Eventually, the theory of eugenics would gain even more popularity and become the cornerstone of Nazi propaganda in World War II. He tried to understand why people behave the way they do in cases of a mob frenzy or religious mania.

Boris Sidis raised his own son, William James Sidis, using his own psychotherapeutic theories. He was born on April 1, 1989. His parents lavished attention on him. At six months, he spoke his first word. By eighteen months, he was reading the New York Times and had learned to count. At three he was typing letters. He taught himself Latin and went on to learn Greek, Russian, French, German, Hebrew, Turkish and Armenian. During his life he mastered at least forty languages and it was said he could learn a new language in a day. At six, he could quote facts from books and even give the numbers of the pages on which those facts could be verified. He completed all seven grades of grade school in seven months. He devised his own speed-reading system and wrote four books between the ages of six and eight. By the time he was eight years old, he passed the Harvard Medical School anatomy examination and the entrance exam for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At eleven he enrolled as a ‘special student’ at Harvard and at twelve delivered a lecture on ‘four-dimensional bodies’ to the Harvard Mathematical Club. He is widely thought to be one of the most intelligent people to ever live, and his IQ was estimated at 250-300. Unfortunately, after receiving a lot of publicity for his childhood accomplishments, Boris Sidis’s son came to live an eccentric life and died in relative obscurity.

Later in life, Boris Sidis rejected the ideas of mainstream psychology and Sigmund Freud. He was a vehement opponent of psychoanalysis. Thus, at the end of his life he was ostracized from the community he helped to create.




History of Therapy – Abraham Maslow

History of Therapy - Abraham Maslow

History of Therapy – Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who is best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is a theory of human behavior that suggests that a person will satisfy a more pressing need before they give attention to the next highest need. The base needs are physiological things such as breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. The highest level are things which are needed for self-actualization like morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. According to Abraham Maslow, each lower level need must be met before moving up the hierarchy.

History of Therapy – Abraham Maslow: Biography

Abraham Harold Maslow was born in in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the oldest child of Russian Jewish immigrants. He pursued his higher education at the College of the City or New York. He transferred to Cornell for one semester and eventually ended up at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his master’s degree in psychology. He then continued his education at Columbia University.

After Columbia, Abraham Maslow returned to Brooklyn and joined the faculty at Brooklyn College. In the late 1950’s, the humanistic movement was developed, and Maslow was recognized as the founding father. He received the honor of being named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association in 1967.

History of Therapy – Abraham Maslow: Contribution to Psychology

Abraham Maslow was the father of humanistic psychology, which is based on the belief that people are born with the desire to achieve their maximum potential. Maslow called this “self-actualization.” He focused his research on mentally stable people.

History of Therapy – Abraham Maslow: Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs to demonstrate the psychological stages of human beings. Human needs are identified by Abraham Maslow as follows:

  • The bottom of the hierarchy contains the basic or physiological needs such as food, water, sleep and sex.
  • The next level is Safety Needs like security, order, and stability. These first two levels are important to the physical survival of the person. Once a person has fulfilled these needs of basic nutrition, shelter, and safety, they are free to accomplish more.
  • The third level of need is called Love and Belonging. These are psychological needs like friendship, family, and sexual intimacy.
  • The fourth level of the hierarchy has to do with Esteem. This is achieved when people feel comfortable with what they have accomplished. This is the need to be competent and recognized, and the need to give and receive respect from others.
  • The next level is the Cognitive level, where people are stimulated intellectually and explore the world around them.
  • After that is the Aesthetic level which includes the need for harmony, order, and beauty.

At the very top of the hierarchy is the Need for Self Actualization. This occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are achieving their full potential. Once a person has reached this level, they focus on themselves and try to build their own image.

Source: http://www.goodtherapy.org/famous-psychologists/abraham-maslow.html

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

Karen Horney was a German psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to humanism, self-psychology, psychoanalysis, and feminine psychology. Her refutation of Freud’s theories about women generated more interest in the psychology of women among experts in the psychological community. Horney also believed that people were able to act as their own therapists, emphasizing the personal role each person has in their own mental health.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Biography

Karen Horney was born in Germany on September 16, 2885 near Hamburg, Germany.  Her father was a ship’s captain and was very traditional and religious. According to Horney’s adolescent diaries, she felt neglected by her father and believed he preferred her brother. As a result, she became very attached to her mother. At around age nine, Karen developed a crush on her older brother. When he pushed her away, she became depressed. Bouts of depression would continue to plague her for the rest of her life.

Horney devoted herself to school. She began medical school in 1906 and married a law student Oskar Horney in 1909. In 1926, Horney left her husband. Four years later, she moved to the US with her three daughters. Once in the US, she befriended other prominent intellectuals and developed her theories.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Theory

Karen Horney developed theories based on her personal life and how she was able to deal with her problems. Her theory on neurosis is still widely used. Neurosis is a “psychic disturbance brought by fears and defenses against these fears, and by attempts to find compromise solutions for conflicting tendencies” (The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, 28-29). Horney believed that neurotic feelings and attitudes are determined by the way a person lives, and cannot be diagnosed without looking at cultural background. In contrast, Freud believed that instinctual drives that are frequent in culture are biologically determined.

Karen Horney’s theoretical approach to psychoanalysis is describing it towards people’s personalities. The goal of analysis is to change the person’s opinions and perception of life by seeking self-realization. It helps people towards their best further development.

Basically, Karen Horney viewed neuroses as coping mechanisms that are a large part of normal life. She identified ten neuroses. These include the need for power, the need for affection, the need for social prestige, the need to exploit others, the need for personal admiration, and the need for independence.

While Karen Horney followed much of Sigmund Freud’s theory she disagreed in one major area: his views on the psychology of women. She rejected the concept of “penis envy,” that women in essence, are envious of men. She thought it was both inaccurate and demeaning. Instead, Karen Horney proposed the concept of “womb envy.” This theory supposes that men experience feelings of inferiority because they are unable to give birth to children. She thinks that the impulse of men to engage in creative work in every field is borne from overcompensating from their lack of power in the creation of a human being.




History of Therapy: G. Stanley Hall

History of Therapy - G Stanley Hall


History of Therapy – G Stanley Hall

G. Stanley Hall is well-known in the history of therapy and in the field of education. He has been called the founder of organized psychology as a science and profession, the father of the child study movement, and a national leader of educational reform.

G Stanley Hall: Biography

G. Stanley Hall was born in Ashfield, Mississippi. He graduated in 1867 from Williams College and later was granted his Ph.D. in Psychology, which was the first Ph.D. in Psychology in America. He began as a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University in 1882. In 1889, he became the president of Clark University, and remained there until his death in 1924. Before taking the position at Clark University, he founded the first psychological journal in America, the American Journal of Psychology.

G Stanley Hall: Theory

G. Stanley Hall linked together genetic psychology and education. Hall is known for his theory of recapitulation. This theory postulates that each person goes through changes in both the psychic and somatic senses which follow the evolution of the mind and body. G. Stanley Hall believed that a pre-adolescent child develops best when it is not forced to follow constraints. He thought that it was best to let a child go through the stages of evolution freely.

Hall’s theory indicated that before a child was six or seven, the child should be allowed to experience how one lived in the simian stage. In this stage, the child would be able to express his or her animal spirits.

By age eight, G. Stanley Hall believed that the child was at stage two, and therefore can begin formal learning. This is when the brain is at the full size and weight. According to Hall’s theory, it is normal for a child in this stage to be cruel and rude to others because the reasoning skills are still not developed. A child in this stage should not have to deal with moral conflicts. The child’s physical health is the most important thing in this stage.

In the next stage, the stage of the adolescent, the child has a rebirth into a sexed life. G. Stanley Hall believed at this point, there should no longer be coeducation. He thought that children can’t optimally learn and get everything out of the lessons if they are in the presence of the opposite sex. In this stage, Hall believed, true education can begin. The child is ready to deal with moral issues, kindness, love, and service for others. Hall believed that high school should be more of a “people’s college” so that it could be more of an ending for children who would not be continuing their education to the next level.

Hall had no sympathy for the poor, the sick, or those with disabilities. He was a firm believer in selective breeding and forced sterilization. He thought that any respect or charity towards those he thought were weak or defective interfered with the natural selection toward the development of a super-race.



History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich was born on March 24, 1897 and lived until November 3, 1957. Wilhelm Reich is known for his work as an Austrian psychoanalyst. Wilhelm Reich’s work in the field of therapy came after Sigmund Freud but he was still one of the most radical figures in the history of therapy.

Wilhelm Reich wrote many books including Character Analysis, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, The Sexual Revolution, and contributed to the book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, written by Anna Freud. Wilhelm Reich also shaped what we known as body psychotherapy with his idea that the expression of the personality is in the way the body moves. He was also very influential in Fritz Perl’s gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen’s bioenergetics analysis and Arthur Janov’s primal therapy.

Wilhelm Reich influenced generations of intellectuals especially with his books. During a 1968 student uprising in Paris and Berlin students were throwing his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism at the police.

Wilhelm Reich got his start after graduating in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1922. Reich studied neuropsychiatry. Wilhelm Reich tried to settle psychoanalysis with Marxism. Wilhelm believed neurosis is rooted in physical, sexual and socio-economic conditions. Wilhelm was active in his work and went to see his patients in their homes to see how they lived. Reich developed therapeutic methods to help people give up their emotional armor, to become more emotionally alive; but he also approached the problem from the social and political side of things, working to pass laws against child abuse, opposing the rigid sex-repressions and legal powers of the Church, to give women equal rights and pay, and to make divorce and contraceptives more freely available. He openly criticized the Nazis and the Communist Party for their power-mongering and threats against individual freedoms. For this, he was severely attacked from all quarters.

From this point forward he became an extremely controversial figure in the field of therapy. During his entire life no one published his books except his own publisher. The promoting of sexual permissiveness did not sit well with the rest of the therapy community and his associates.

Wilhelm Reich moved to New York in 1939, in part to get away from the Nazis and in part to get a fresh start. Soon after he moved to New York he coined the term “orgone”-which he is still to this day most famously known for. What at first appeared to be only “bioelectricity” was later clarified by Reich as a much more powerful bioenergetics force — a form of life-energy at work within living organisms, expressing itself as emotion and sexuality, but also able to be seen in the microscope as a bluish-glowing field around living blood cells and other substances. This bluish-glowing energy, which he eventually called orgone energy, was later observed a glowing blue radiating from animals and people, from trees and even mountain ranges.  He said it was others referred to as God.

In 1940 he began building accumulators. Accumulators were devices that his patients sat inside of to gain health benefits by tapping into orgone energy. Newspapers told stories of Wilhelm Reich which described things such as sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following these boxes and his coining the term orgone, Wilhelm went to prison. After two articles about him were written in The New York Republic and Harper’s, the FDA got a hold of a shipment of orgone accumulators and the literature to go along with them. The FDA believed he was a fraud and so Wilhelm Reich was charged with contempt in 1956 and sentenced to two years in prison where he would die. In the August after he had been sentenced to prison, the United States burned many of his publications by order of the court-this is one of the most memorable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. Shortly after, Wilhelm Reich died in jail of heart failure

Sources: http://www.panacea-bocaf.org/wilhelmreich.htm

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

Carl Jung’s work left a notable impact on the field of psychology. His concepts of introversion and extroversion have influenced personality psychology and psychotherapy. His advice to a patient suffering from alcoholism led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people recover from alcoholism.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Early Life

Carl Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland in 1875. His father was a pastor. He was the fourth, but only surviving child. Carl Jung was an introverted and solitary child. When he was 12 years old, Carl Jung was pushed to the ground by another child and lost consciousness. Afterward, he had fainting spells frequently. He later explained the experience as his first encounter with neurosis.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Career

Carl Jung studied medicine, but he also had an interest in spiritual phenomena while in school. Later, he would combine medicine and spirituality into his theories about the human psyche. He eventually began to study psychiatry.

Early in his career, Carl Jung worked with psychiatric patients at the University of Zurich asylum. He wrote Studies in Word Association in 1906 and sent a copy to Sigmund Freud. This was the beginning of a friendship between the two. They finally met in person in 1907.

Sigmund Freud had an impact on Carl Jung’s later theories. It was this influence that led to Jung’s fascination for the unconscious mind. However, Jung’s theories began to diverge from Freud’s. He rejected Freud’s emphasis on sex as the sole source of behavior. Carl Jung became increasingly interested in dreams and theories. He formed his own theory called Analytical Psychology.

In the following six years, Carl Jung started to explore his own subconscious. He recorded his experience in a book known as The Red Book. The book was not published until 2009.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Theories

Carl Jung believed there were three parts of the human psyche. These were the ego, the personal conscious and the collective unconscious. The ego is the conscious mind. The collective unconscious is the reservoir of all the experience and knowledge of the human species.

Carl Jung also believed in the process of individuation. Individuation is a process by which the various parts of the psyche (the ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious) become integrated. When this happens, Jung believed, the person becomes their “true self.” Carl Jung thought that this process was essential for a person to become whole and fully developed as a human being.

Carl Jung once treated an American patient, Rowland Hazard, who was suffering from chronic alcoholism. He worked with him for some time and did not achieve any significant progress. Carl Jung then told the man that his alcoholism was nearly hopeless, and the only possibility of recovery would be through a spiritual experience. He noted that occasionally a spiritual experience could help alcoholics when all else failed. The influence of Carl Jung indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.




History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud is probably one of the most well-known therapists of all time. He pioneered new techniques that are still used in psychotherapy today. His theory of personality is the most comprehensive ever developed.  He was the founding father of psychoanalysis.

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud:  How he changed psychotherapy

Early psychology focused on conscious human experience. Sigmund Freud changed the face of psychology by proposing a theory of personality that emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind. It was Freud’s belief that all of our actions and behaviors can be traced back to their unconscious thoughts and desires. Freud worked with many patients suffering from what was known then as hysteria. He postulated that their early childhood experiences and unconscious impulses contributed to their adult personality and behavior.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Development of psychoanalytic therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy is based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who developed his theories in the 1800’s. In 1885, Freud went to work with another psychiatrist, Jean-Martin Charcot, who used hypnosis to treat women who were suffering from what was then known as hysteria. These women presented with partial paralysis, hallucinations, and nervousness.

Freud took what he learned and continued to research hypnosis in treatment. He then worked with another psychiatrist who had discovered that women suffering from hysteria benefited by talking about it. Freud combined the “talk therapy” technique with hypnosis and began to use them both in his practice.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Ongoing work

Sigmund Freud continued to develop his theory over a period of over half a century. In 1923, Sigmund Freud described his constructs of the id, ego, and the superego. According to Freud, the id is the most primitive part of personality. It operates according to the pleasure principle and seeks instant gratification. Freud also believed that every living human had a life and death instinct. He called the life instinct the eros and the death instinct the thanatos. Both the life and death instinct are part of the id. The energy that powers the id, according to Freud, is the libido.

In Freud’s theory, the ego is extremely objective. It operates according to reality and deals with the demands of the environment. It regulates the libido and keeps the id in check. It acts as the control center.

The superego represents the values and standards of an individual’s feelings of pride and heightened self-esteem. The superego is the part of the personality that strives for perfection.

Freud believed that the development of these three factors determines a person’s behavior in any given situation. Their behavior in a situation in turn develops their personality. Sigmund Freud put a lot of importance on the early years of childhood because that’s when he believed the three parts of personality were developed. He called these early years the psychosexual years, and he believed that each child went through five stages. Some people, Freud believed, became stuck in certain stages and for that reason; they were unable to fully develop.