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: 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.







Adventure Therapy

Adventure Therapy

Adventure Therapy

Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy is a much more different type of psychotherapy that has been around since the 1960s. The underlying philosophy of adventure therapy refers to experiential education. The research behind adventure therapy supports the improvement of a self-concept and self-esteem. It also improves help seeking behavior or the want to help, increased mutual aid, pro-social behavior and trust behavior.

History of adventure therapy

Adventure therapy as a healing process can be traced back in history to many cultures. These cultures include Native American, Jewish, and Christian traditions. Tent therapy came around in the early 1900s. This therapy brought patients out of the hospital and into tents on the hospital’s lawn. In the later 1930s adventure therapy was mainly camping programs for troubled youth. This still partly holds true today because the extent of adventure therapy programs are with adolescents. One of the first adventure therapy programs was the Salesmanship Club Camp in Dallas, Texas after that came Outward Bound in the 1940s.

The difference between adventure therapy, wilderness therapy, and outdoor experiential therapy.

Adventure therapy may be better known as treatment in the middle of the wilderness or wilderness therapy although this is not accurate. There is a distinct difference between adventure therapy, wilderness therapy and outdoor experiential therapy. The difference is that adventure therapy uses outdoor activities involving risk and physical and emotional challenge. Wilderness therapy refers to the use of primitive methods in the middle of the wilderness that require adaptation and the ability to cope. Outdoor experiential therapy is an outdoor treatment to promote rehabilitation, growth, development and the enhancement of an individual’s physical, social, and psychological well-being. This is done through structured activities involving direct experience.

The meaning of adventure therapy

Recently adventure therapy has begun using adventure activities which are supported by traditional therapy. Most often adventure therapy is done with a group or family although it is quickly being used with individuals. Adventure therapy uses psychological treatment through experience and action in cooperative games, trust activities, problem solving initiatives, high adventure, outdoor pursuits, and wilderness expeditions. The activities used in adventure therapy can include rock climbing/rappelling, rope courses, peak ascents, backpacking, canoeing, dog sledding, sailing etc. Wilderness therapy, adventure based therapy and long term residential camping are the most common forms of adventure therapy. Adventure therapy is a cognitive-behavioral approach which uses existentialism in humans to strategically enact change through direct experiences that are challenging.

Does adventure therapy work?

There are still questions to date about whether or not adventure therapy is effective. Some research suggests adventure therapy is effective for treatment. The concepts that support adventure therapies effectiveness are: increases in self-esteem, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-perceptions, problem solving, behavioral and cognitive development, decrease in depression, and decrease in conduct disordered behaviors, improved attitude and overall positive behavioral changes. This is because adventure therapy can give an individual a sense of reward and accomplishment when they overcome the challenges. Adventure therapy is also effective with its concepts of increasing group cohesion, diagnosing conduct disorders in adolescents, improving clinical functioning, facilitates connecting participants with the therapist, improve psychosocial related difficulties.

Adventure therapy has more support in its effectiveness especially when it comes to those specific concepts listed above.

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic Therapy

When people think of the stereotypical psychological method, they are usually picturing psychoanalytic therapy. It is one of the most well-known types of therapy, but it is also one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Psychoanalytic Therapy: Theories

Psychoanalytic therapy is based off the theories and practice of Sigmund Freud, who founded the school of psychology known as psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic therapy focuses on how the unconscious mind influences ideas and behaviors. Many times, the therapy will look at experiences from childhood and early adolescence to determine how these experiences have affected the patient in the present. People who get psychoanalytic therapy usually meet with the therapist at least once a week and may remain in therapy for years. It is a long-term type of treatment.

Psychoanalytic Therapy: History

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.

Psychoanalytic Therapy: How it works

Psychoanalysis is a process by which you work with a therapist to identify the root cause of dysfunctional ideas and behaviors and why you think the way you do. Therapists who practice psychoanalytic therapy generally spends time listening to patients talk about their lives. The therapist looks for patterns of behavior or thought that may be playing a role in the patient’s current difficulties.  They pay close attention to childhood events. They believe that unconscious thoughts and feelings play a role in mental illness and negative behaviors.

Psychoanalytic Therapy: Strengths and Weaknesses

Psychoanalytic therapy is sometimes criticized because it is very time consuming and expensive. Many clients are in therapy for years, so the financial and time costs are very high. Psychoanalytic therapy is generally not covered by insurance. Psychoanalytic therapy is also sometimes criticized because it isn’t effective. Some studies show that there is no difference between those receiving psychoanalytic therapy and a placebo group. Other studies show that psychoanalytic therapy is effective, but those studies have been criticized for the way they were conducted.  Some critics also say that psychoanalytic therapy lacks a scientific basis for its theories.

The strengths of psychoanalytic therapy are that it provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment for the client to reveal feelings or thoughts that have led to stress in his or her life. Just sharing these things with another human being can be beneficial for some clients. Even though it has been criticized, it is still a very popular method for treatment among mental health professionals. However, it’s use is declining and it may soon be an obsolete type of therapy.

Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy

A Brief History of Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy


Aside from the scientifically long and intimidating name neuro-linguistic psychotherapy is a simple type of therapy that was developed in the 1970s.


Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy or NLP emerged with the work of two men named, John Grinder and Richard Bandler. John Grinder was a linguistics professor and Richard Bandler, a mathematics and IT research student at the University of Santa Cruz.


Inspired by and drawn from the work of Noam Chomsky, Alfred Korzybski, Gregory Bateson, Fritz Pearls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson, John and Richard, found a practical approach to self-exploration through the connection of specific and direct links between language verbal and non verbal and internal processing and habitual behaviors.


What does a neuro-linguistic psychotherapy session consist of?


The client is actually the one in charge. The client initiates and concludes the therapy. Each session of neuro-linguistic psychotherapy is determined by the outcomes set by the client. The client may have a desired outcome that can form the focus for the neuro-linguistic psychotherapy and an individual outcome for the session. These outcomes and focus the client wants to achieve during a session may change during the process. Nothing can be assumed until the start of each session of neuro-linguistic psychotherapy.


What does a neuro-linguistic psychotherapy therapist do?


Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy therapists act much like explorers because they don’t know how each session is going to progress. The therapists take the starting point on the belief that the client already has the answers and solutions within their own system- and their job is to reveal them in order for the client to put them to use. The neuro-linguistic psychotherapy therapists enable the client to discover what is generating the problem so the client can have a bigger and clearer picture of what would serve them better.


Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy uses visual, auditory, kinaesthetic as well as cognitive channels of information to tap into the clients deep structure stored at an unconscious level. This allows the client to express information somatically using physiology, symbolically using metaphors and representation, and cognitively using a wide range of language patterns.


What is the benefit of using neuro-linguistic psychotherapy?


Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy works incisively with language which means that the therapists can quickly get to the source of the client’s problem without going too far into background history. The highly interactive approach of neuro-linguistic psychotherapy is a lot like Brief Therapy movement but not as rigorous. Depending on the issue the client wants to focus on and the outcome desired, neuro-linguistic psychotherapy can be very short term-up to 10 hours, medium term, or even long term. Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy or NLP is very unique to each individual and can be extremely structured or flexible depending on what the client wants and needs.


Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

By Jenny Hunt

May 21, 2012

Hypnosis is a mental state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination. Hypnotherapy is simply therapy that is undertaken with a person in hypnosis. The practice of using hypnosis in therapy, to treat certain conditions, dates back for centuries. Some practitioners swear by its legitimacy and its ability to treat all kinds of ailments.

Hypnosis has been represented in various ways in popular culture. The most common is the hypnotherapist lulling someone into a trance with a swinging watch. Once hypnotized, the subject is compelled to obey, no matter how strange or immoral the request. This representation does not have much in common with actual hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Subjects in a hypnotic state actually have absolute free will; they are not slaves to their masters. In addition, those undergoing hypnotherapy are also not in a semi-sleep state; they are actually hyperaware. Hypnosis can teach people how to master their own states of awareness.

Hypnosis is generally preceded by a hypnotic induction technique. This is the means by which a hypnotherapist can induce a hypnotic state.  One popular technique to induce hypnosis is known as the “eye-fixation” technique. This technique involves positioning an object so that the patient can focus his or her eyes on it, but at an angle that causes eyestrain to do so. However, research suggests that a hypnotic induction technique is not necessary in every case and that it does not contribute as much as previously believed to the process of hypnosis.

Hypnosis is considered an aid to psychotherapy, not a treatment in and of itself. Hypnosis helps with psychotherapy because the hypnotic state allows people to explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have hidden from their conscious minds. During the session, the hypnotherapist will guide you through recalling those memories, and changing your reaction to them or how you feel about them. This approach uses the relaxed state to find the root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that you have hidden in your unconscious memory.

Another use of hypnotherapy is to change behaviors or the way we respond to certain events.  When something happens to us, good or bad, we remember it and learn a particular behavior in response to what happened. Each time something similar happens; our physical and emotional reactions attached to the memory are repeated. In some cases these reactions are unhealthy. In hypnotherapy, the hypnotist uses the hypnotic state to guide you through these behaviors and replace unhealthy responses with new, healthy ones. This works because when you are under hypnosis, you approach the suggestions of the hypnotist, or your own ideas, as if they were reality. In hypnotherapy, the therapist can suggest that you are sitting in the sun, and your skin will become warm. They can tell you that you are eating candy, and you will taste it in your mouth. This is why hypnotherapy can be so effective in a short amount of time.