Albert Ellis, whose innovative straight-talk approach to psychotherapy made him one of the most influential and provocative figures in modern psychology, died yesterday at his home above the institute he founded in Manhattan. He was 93.
This anecdote was particularly helpful to me:
But at 19 he was painfully shy and eager to change his behavior. In one exercise he staked out a bench in a park near his home, determined to talk to every woman who sat there alone. In one month, he said, he approached 130 women.
“Thirty walked away immediately,” he said in the Times article. “I talked with the other 100, for the first time in my life, no matter how anxious I was. Nobody vomited and ran away. Nobody called the cops.”
Though he got only one date as a result, his shyness disappeared, he said. He similarly overcame a fear of speaking in public by making himself do just that, over and over. He became an accomplished public speaker.