Albert Ellis entered the field of clinical psychology after first earning a degree in business from the City University of New York.

He commenced a brief career in business, followed by one as a writer.However, these endeavors took place during the depression that began in 1929, making business a refractory enterprise. He also found that writing fiction was not his calling, but did find that he had a talent for non-fiction.

This talent led him to write about the field of human sexuality, a field he had developed a noted expertise in.

The dearth of experts in this area led to his being sought out for advice on the subject leading him to counsel many in this area.

His lay counseling led him to discovery of his calling which convinced him to seek a new career in clinical psychology.

Academic & Career

In 1942 he began his studies for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University which trained psychologists in the psychoanalytic tradition.

Upon the completion of his M.A. in clinical psychology from Teachers College, Columbia, in June, 1943, Ellis started a part-time private practice while still working on his PhD degree.

This was possible because there was no licensing of psychologists in New York at that time. Ellis began publishing innovative articles even before receiving his PhD. For example in 1946 he wrote a critique of many widely used pencil-and-paper personality tests that were not sufficiently validated. He concluded that only the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory met the standards of a research based instrument (Ellis, 1946.)

After the completion of his doctorate, Ellis sought additional training in psychoanalysis.

Like most psychologists of that time he had been taken by the mystique and complexity of Freudian theories. So shortly after receiving his PhD degree in 1947 Ellis began a personal analysis and program of supervision with Richard Hulbeck (whose own analyst had been Herman

Rorschach) who was a leading training analyst at the Karen Horney Institute. Horney would be the single greatest influence in his thinking, although the writings of Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan also played a role in shaping his psychological models.

Albert Ellis as a rational therapist.