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I AM ALBERT ELLIS Paperback – 2017
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In the beginning we are introduced to Albert as a child and his family. With an absentee father and neglectful mother, he looks after his younger brother and sister and becomes self-reliant very early in life.
"We all live together in one house but separately."
Isn’t that the reality for most of us? Ensconced firmly in our (technological) bubbles we come to the surface only when we are in dire need of real time and face-to-face social contact.
Albert starts seeing clients and his success as a marriage counsellor leads to the formation of Love and Marriage Problems Institute (LAMP). To make it official, he decides to register his organization and get a degree in psychology. He decides to train in psychoanalysis and the course of history is forever altered. Psychoanalysis as it was then didn’t appeal to his scientific mind. The philosophy of Epictetus resonated with him and thus was born Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a new approach to psychotherapy. The theory of REBT states that our behavior and emotions originate from our beliefs towards the events, not the events themselves.
Albert is adept at self-counselling and comes out of whatever life throws at him with the right attitude.
Since many universities called him for training, he established Institute for Advanced Study in Rational Psychotherapy. He also opened The Living School with the aim to better the mental health of children. He incurred a debt of a million dollars since profit wasn’t his primary motive. The school had to be closed down but the experiment was a success which delighted Albert.
To people who don’t know him he will appear to be a rebel without a cause but he arrives at a conclusion only after critical evaluation. He makes it amply clear that his job is not to be agreeable but to question tried and tested norms.
The writing is free from jargon and ideas are presented lucidly. At over 430 pages, I am Albert Ellis would have benefitted greatly from a contents page because the chapters are quite long. The English is stilted in some places and the copy editor hasn’t gone over the book with a fine toothed comb. Since I haven’t read the original I cannot comment on the translation.
I am Albert Ellis is a book you should read if you are interested in psychology, and would like to know a little more about the things you do, see patterns and change a behaviour which you thought was set in stone.
Note – Thanks to the publishers for the review copy.