All Out!: An Autobiography

Front Cover
"One of the memorable and influential psychologists provides the `uncensored' story of his life and times, including the development of the revolutionary REBT approach to psychotherapy. All Out! is the master guide to full and rational living and a must read."---Jon Carlson, PSYD, EDD, distinguished professor, Governors State University

"All Out! is an outrageously honest and astonishingly authentic autobiography by one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth Century, and of the twenty-first century as well. Ellis was also one of the great humanitarians of his era; he certainly walked his talk, whether he was changing the course of psychotherapy, relieving the suffering of countless men and women, or demonstrating that one is never too old to find true love."---Stanley Krippner, PHD, professor of psychology, Saybrook University. coauthor of Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans, and fellow at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality

"For those famous psychotherapists who have the knowledge, charisma, and creativity to create a whole new approach to psychotherapy, the question of how they live their Own lives and integrate their own therapeutic principles into the art of living is a source of continual curiosity. In this book, and in his inimitable way, Albert Ellis reminisces on over ninety years of his life and provides very frank but deep insight into his fears, anxieties, and failings, and how he dealt with them using the principles of change he pioneered. All psychotherapists, and anyone who has ever sought psychotherapy, will benefit greatly from this entertaining and insightful book."---David H. Barlow, PHD, ABPP, professor of psychology and psychiatry, and director, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University

"Albert Ellis lived an `all out' life, and he has gone `all out' in this no-holds-barred autobiography. Intense, quirky, and brutally honest, the book reflects the man himself both in content and in style. Expect to be prodded, shaken, and stirred by one of the most remarkable psychologists of the modern era."---Steven C. Hayes, foundation professor, University of Nevada, and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life

"All Out! is an emotional romp that engagingly recounts the life of one of history's greatest and most prolific contributors to psychotherapy. With uncompromising flair, Ellis dragged psychotherapy from its murky beginnings, clarified its essential lessons, made it practical, and brought it into people's homes. Inimitably Ellis: revolutionary, iconoclast, humorist, legend---always teaching always entertaining, always provoking attitudes that lead to self-determined joy."---Jeffrey K. Zeig, PHD, director, the Milton H. Erickson Foundation

"Dr. Ellis has had such an impact that...clinical psychologists ranked him ahead of Freud when asked to name the figure who had exerted the greatest influence on their field."---New York Times

In this audacious, illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable memoir, Albert Ellis, pioneer of cognitive psychology and the renowned creator of one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy---Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)---does indeed go "all out." Ellis recounts the memorable relationships, fascinating experiences, and challenging disappointments of his life from early childhood to age ninety-three (Ellis died in 2007). He discusses how he used REBT to work his way through all manner of challenges and emotional roadblocks.

A tour de force of stimulating ideas, colorful descriptions of memorable and often very personal relationships, and straightforward self-analysis, All Out! is pure Ellis: witty, brilliant, unique, and, above all, honest. This memoir is the definitive summation of the life and work of one of the world's most fascinating, successful, and honored therapists.

During his long and successful professional life, Ellis wrote more than eighty books and eight hundred articles, established the Albert Ellis Institute, conducted his famous Friday Night Workshops, trained professionals, saw clients and groups, and traveled the world to spread the word about REBT. With this hectic yet stimulating schedule, finding the time to write one's memoirs might seem a daunting task to an ordinary individual.

Luckily for all of us, Ellis was far from ordinary.

In All Out! Ellis takes an unflinching look at the ups and downs of his personal life and how he continually used his famous therapeutic technique on himself to work through many choices, challenges, and relationships.

As Ellis says in his introduction, "Because I am a well-known therapist, people would like to know whether I... follow my own teachings. Doctor, cure thyself. Well, do I?"

Indeed he does. With candor and humor, Ellis demonstrates that he has learned from life experiences to find ways to deal with the many issues he confronted by reflecting on both his victories and his defeats. And, yes, Ellis considers that people might be just a little curious about the personal life of a noted sexologist.

The first five chapters chronicle Ellis's early years. In part 2, Ellis includes some astonishing revelations about his personal life never before made public, and in typical Ellis fashion he examines these controversial actions under a ruthlessly honest light. One chapter deals with those who influenced Albert Ellis both personally and professionally. In later chapters, he discusses how he faced serious health issues without giving in or giving up. And throughout the book, he unabashedly shares his feelings about his union with the greatest love of his life, his wife and soul mate Debbie Joffe Ellis, who had the most profound and transforming effect on his life and experience of love.

In the chapter Ellis wrote shortly before his death, he recounts with considerable sadness and frustration being ousted from the institute he founded by members of the board of directors in 2005. Until the very end of his life, Ellis fought for the right to practice in the facility he established in 1959. Some readers might feel a sense of helpless anger at how Ellis was treated by the forces of the "bogus Albert Ellis Institute."

The volume's final chapter was written by Ellis's wife, psychologist and writer Debbie Joffe Ellis, who provides a touching account of her husband's final years, which were consumed with fighting the injustices mentioned above, as well as severe and debilitating illness. Not surprisingly, given the life he led, Ellis met these challenges with typical bravery, strength, humor, and love. It is a fitting conclusion to an amazing life that was truly lived All Out!

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Sidewalks of Pittsburgh
Chapter 1D Critique of Chapter 1
Chapter 2D Critique of Chapter 2

24 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Albert Ellis, PHD, authored more than eighty books, including many popular bestsellers, and was president of the Albert Ellis Institute for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. He practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling, and sex therapy for over sixty years. Other books by Albert Ellis available from Prometheus Books include The Myth of Self-Esteem; The Road to Tolerance; Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: It Works for Me---It Can Work for You; Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors: New Directions for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy; and (with Raymond J. Yeager) Why Some Therapies Don't Work: The Dangers of Transpersonal Psychology.