Monday, April 03, 2006

Reinstate Dr Albert Ellis to the Board of His Own Institute

Campaign to Restore Albert Ellis to the Board of the Albert Ellis Institute for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), New York.

Hello and welcome. Given that you have landed on this page, you are most likely interested in one of two things:

1. If you are looking for information about the campaign to support Dr Albert Ellis, in New York City, then please stay on this page.

2. However, if you are looking for information about Jim Byrne's counselling, therapy and related services, then please click here: Jim's Home Page.


Section 1:

Thank you for taking the time to consider this campaign.

  • If you are new to the campaign to reinstate the 92 year-old Dr Albert Ellis as President of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City, then please continue to read this section.

  • If you are familiar with the campaign, and have visited this page previously, then it is probably best to go to page 3 of this site, by clicking *Ellis/REBT Campaign Updates*.

    "92 year old Albert Ellis, President of the Albert Ellis Institute, New York, has been unfairly and unlawfully removed from his role, and denied payment of his medical costs incurred as a result of a life-threatening illness. This is a clear case of injustice and elder abuse, and various forms of campaigning protest are being planned. In particular, if you live in New York, then Jimmy Walter is planning a protest outside the Institute in Manhattan, from 7th November. This is a one-person event, for various reasons. Please call by and speak to him, and think about mounting your own personal or group protest in suitable parts of the city. (Outside the Institute might not be the most appropriate place, because of client’s going in and out". Jim Byrne, 23rd October 2005.

    I know you are busy, and I will not waste your time. This brief introduction takes you to some links where you can quickly decide if you want to take some simple action to support Dr Ellis, or you want to read on and collect more information.

    Dr Ellis, who is 92 years of age, established the Albert Ellis Institute with his own money, bought the building in which the institute is housed, donated his royalties from books and public lectures to the institute, drew a paltry salary, and worked incredibly hard for 50 years to make the Institute what it is today. (Of course he had help from others along the way, but none of them would disagree with the view that he wholeheartedly devoted himself, his time and his money to the Institute). He has been a member of the board from the start, and the mainspring behind everything that has happened at the Institute.

    It was recently announced that the board of the Albert Ellis Institute has dismissed Dr Albert Ellis from the board, and denied him the right to engage in running training events that he has run for more than 30 years; and withdrawn his medical cover. It turns out that the board meeting at which this happened was NOT LEGALLY CONSTITUTED. It was a regular meeting, and not a special meeting to discuss a dismissal, in accordance with the relevant law. It was also held without the legally required period of notice. And Dr Broder used legalistic and dishonest coercion and manipulation, with the support of a lawyer who was not supposed to be present, and whose presence had not been pre-announced, to force members of the board to vote for his motion. For example, he used misrepresentations of the actual financial state of the Institute to frighten some individuals into taking action to reduce payments on Dr Ellis's healthcare. (For example, the Institute has more than $US5-million in the bank, and possibly between $8 and $9 million!) This then is a clear case of unfair dismissal, abuse of due process, and gross misrepresentation with malicious intent, which is in contravention of the law, and a speedy reinstatement of Dr Ellis is a legal requirement.

    It also transpires that the Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Michael Broder, who is supposed to report to Dr Ellis and the rest of the board, is trying to change the basic teachings of the institute, and is drawing unreasonable levels of remuneration for himself: more than $300,000 from a non-profit charity in the past year, and between $400,000 and $500,000 in the current financial year! It was when Dr Ellis raised these two issues that he was dismissed.

    Here are some options we would like you to consider:

    • On the basis of this sketch of the situation, would you be willing to sign a petition calling on the Board of the Albert Ellis Institute to reinstate Dr Ellis, and to remove Dr Broder from his current role, pending further investigations by board members who do not support Dr Broder? If so, then please click on the following link: Online Petition. (However, if you are using AOL as your search engine, this link probably will not work. Instead, go to Internet Explorer, or some other search engine, and key in this web address:

    • Whether you want to sign the petition or not, would you be willing to consider sending a message of support to Albert Ellis to let him know that we are thinking of him out here; and that we do not support this unjust and illegal action. If so, then please Email Albert Ellis.

    • Would you be willing to send a message of disapproval or protest to Dr Michael Broder, criticising his unjust and illegal victimization of the 92 year old founder of the Institute in which Dr Broder is a recent employee. If so, then please Email Dr Broder.

    • Or would you be willing to make a financial contribution to Dr Ellis's Legal Fighting Fund, at
      Albert Ellis's Website.

    • If you want further information before making your mind up, then please continue to read Section 2 of this page. The first "bombshell" in Section 2 is a recent statement from two board members about the machinations and illegality that gave rise to this unlawful and inhumane act.

    Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy is too precious as a gift to the world to be allowed to perish in the scramble for the material assets of the Institute, and the substitution of a more 'popular' form of pop psychology.

    Jim Byrne
    ABC Coaching and Counselling.
    Jim's Email.
    Albert Ellis’s address.
    Justice for Albert Ellis.
    Campaign Updates.
    On-Site Archive.
    Albert Ellis's Website.
    Albert Ellis Biography Site.
    Albert Ellis Discussion Forum.
    Online Petition for the Reinstatement of Albert Ellis.
    Albert Ellis Training System.
    Advice Goddess on the Coup againstDr Ellis.

    My first archive at Blogger is stored at : First Campaign Archive.

    My second blog has the user name of abc5rebt
    url: Ellis Archive Two.


    Section 2:

    RECENT NEWS (Thursday 20th October)

    I have just received the following statement from two board members:

    Two Board Members Speak:

    We too are saddened by the dispute between Dr. Ellis and the Board of the Albert Ellis Institute.

    This letter is our response to the Institute’s comments regarding recent articles in the press.

    We respectfully differ with several of the Institute’s statements and offer our comments for your consideration:

    1. This dispute is NOT about personal loyalty for Dr. Ellis taking precedence over the Institute’s obligation to act within the law. Dr. Ellis and his attorneys have always maintained respect for the law and for its boundaries.

    2. Although we commend our fellow Board members for their efforts to prevent the loss of the Institute’s tax exempt status, we maintain that removing Dr. Ellis from all positions of responsibility, including the Board, was not the correct or the respectful way to address these matters.

    3. We contend that the Board was NOT “compelled” to act with the haste and the secrecy that characterized Dr. Ellis’ removal on September 18th 2005 at the last meeting of the Board.

    • Where is the evidence for the necessity and immediacy of this action?

    • Where is the unambiguous proof that the payments made for Dr. Ellis’ medical care are “excess benefits”?

    Dr. Ellis has received minimal compensation for the last 50 years. All his income went to support the Institute and purchase its building whose value is in the millions and worth many times over the original purchase price. Furthermore, because of Dr. Ellis’ conservative fiscal policies, the Institute is financially sound and debt-free with a bank account in excess of 5 million dollars.

    The only alleged “excess benefits” paid to Dr Ellis were for the purpose of medical bills incurred in the last 2 years since his illness. It was in fact the Board itself that established a trust for the purpose of covering Dr. Ellis’ medical expenses.

    4. We oppose the hurtful and hasty removal of Dr. Albert Ellis, founder of REBT, the Institute, and grandfather of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, from the Board of Trustees. We hereby register our objection to the violation of the Institute’s own By-laws “to provide that at least one week’s notice of the proposed action shall have been given to the entire Board of Trustees then in office”.

    In addition, the Board seems to have forgotten a basic psychological principle whereby penalties or consequences are most usually meted out only after clear and advanced warning has been given.

    5. We agree that “negotiations recently reached an impasse”. However, we disagree with the Board’s hasty and cruel response to this impasse. We suggest instead that rational thinking, feeling, and behaving could have generated effective and productive problem solving.
    Where good will exists, alternative actions are discussed, not imposed.

    The American Psychological Association requires a high standard of conduct from its members. By removing Dr Ellis without notice or warning, in a secretly hatched plan, sprung at the last minute on unsuspecting Board members, we believe the Board has failed to model the high standard of professional conduct one would have hoped to have expected from them.

    Nevertheless, because there is so much at stake -- the future of the Institute and of REBT as well -- we invite our fellow Board members to join us in dialogue and mediation with an impartial consultant.

    We remain hopeful that Dr. Ellis may yet spend this precious time doing the work he loves for the thousands of people who continue to benefit from his efforts.

    We encourage our fellow Board members to work together with us for the good and welfare of the Institute, of REBT, and of its founder, Dr. Albert Ellis.


    Deborah Steinberg and Emmett Velten

    Jim Byrne
    Albert Ellis’s Email address.
    Campaign to Reinstate Dr Ellis.
    ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.
    Jim's Email Address.
    Regular Campaign Updates.
    Albert Ellis Biography and Research Site.
    Albert Ellis Discussion Forum.
    On Site Archive.
    Albert Ellis's Official Website.
    Online Petition for the Reinstatement of Dr Albert Ellis.
    Albert Ellis Institute Training Sytem.
    Advice Goddess on the Ousting of Dr Ellis.
    My first archive at Blogger is stored at : First Ellis Campaign Archive.
    My second blog has the user name of abc5rebt
    url: Ellis Archive Number Two.


    If you now have enough information to make a decision, please take one or all of the following actions:


    However, if you do now have sufficient information on the background to this case, and would like to look at some recent updates, then please, either scroll to the end of this page, and take one or more of the recommended actions; or go to the Daily Updates page.

    Jim Byrne
    ABC Coaching.
    ABC Coaching.
    Dr Ellis’s Email address.
    Campaign to Reinstate Albert Ellis.
    Regular Updates.
    On Site Archive and Links.
    Official Website.
    Biography and Research Site.
    The Discussion Forum.
    Online Petition.
    Ellis Training Sytem.
    Advice Goddess on the Palace Coup.

    My first archive at Blogger is stored at : First Archive - Ellis Campaign.

    My second blog has the user name of abc5rebt
    url: Second Ellis Archive.

    Section 3:

    This page has been given over to the Campaign to Reinstate Dr Albert Ellis as President of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York. Dr Ellis is under serious threat, and urgent action is required to help him in his hour of need. If we don't work very hard on this we could lose the battle, and a grave injustice will scar the history of psychology for all time.

    This page is organized in a fairly logical format. First there is a brief newsflash, as at Sunday morning, 16th October, which is intended to be encouraging. This is followed by some background to the unfair dismissal of Dr Ellis from the Presidency of his own Institute, including an open letter from Dr Ellis about his situation, and an open letter from Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne calling on Dr Michael Broder, Institute Director, to resign, as he instigated the 'palace coup' in the first place. This is followed by an article from the *New York Times* about the background to this case. And there are a few brief News-flashes interspersed here and there.

    There are then a few links, which mainly duplicate the links shown above; for examples: to a petition that you can sign calling on the "Albert Ellis Institute" to reinstate Albert Ellis; and email addresses for letters of support for Dr Ellis, or complaint about Dr Michael Broder, as appropriate. The change here is that there is a new link to page 3: Daily Updates.

    Page 3 currently contains detailed updates on campaign progress, for the period since Monday 17th October. In that time, some small progress has been made, but much ground still remains to be covered.

    *News-flash*: Sunday morning, 16th October, 9.00am (UK time)

    Dr Albert Ellis is delighted with the large and growing number of messages of support that are flooding in to his besieged home in New York City. He wants only one thing: Justice. His right to return to active duty, and to be treated with the respect he deserves after fifty years of exemplary service to the Albert Ellis Institute; including the medical support that he needs to cope with his current medical problems. He is more than capable of working. His medical costs amount to little more than $1,200 dollars for each year of his service, which, given that he drew a derisory salary for all of those years, can hardly be objected to. Grateful thanks go to everybody who has phoned, written, called around, or emailed.

    Jim Byrne
    Albert Ellis’s Email.
    Campaign for Justice for Dr Ellis.
    Justice Campaign Updates.
    Jim’s Home Page with Campaign Links.
    Jim's Email.
    Collected Archives.
    Albert Ellis's Official Website.
    Albert Ellis Research Site.
    Albert Ellis Discussion Workshop/Forum.
    Online Petition for Reinstatement of Albert Ellis.
    Albert Ellis Institute System.
    The Ousting of Dr Ellis.
    My first archive at Blogger is stored at : First Ellis Archive.
    My second blog has the user name of abc5rebt
    url: Ellis Archive Two.



    Dr Albert Ellis could benefit from the help of his supporters at this difficult moment in his 92nd year. He has been ousted from his position as President of the Albert Ellis Institute by a gang of usurpers on the Board of the Institute. According to grapevine soundings, there are good reasons to believe that unfair and unreasonable tactics were used by the usurpers to silence and neutralize the remainder of the board. More on this later.


    NEWS-FLASH 2: 13th October 2005

    Albert Ellis PhD has been removed from his position as President of the board of his own institute, and kicked off the board. He asserts that this is the result of retribution by the executive director for being taken to task for not following Ellis's methods and ethical standards. Ellis is asking for help from those who appreciate his methods and contributions. Please email:



    Dear Dr Broder,

    You have made an enormous error of judgement, not to mention an incredibly immoral and inexcusable act of folly. Around the world, countless thousands of individuals and couples have been helped, directly and indirectly, by the words of wisdom uttered and written by Dr Albert Ellis. Do you imagine they are going to accept your unjustified action without a fight? If you do, then you are very wrong. If you persist in your folly, then the name "Albert Ellis Institute" will become something to be resisted, rejected, and opposed. You will not benefit from your greedy overthrowing and dismissing of Dr Ellis. Rather, the "Institute" will die if Dr Albert Ellis (Al) is not reinstated, and treated with the respect and dignity he deserves, including funding his medical costs at an hour of great need on his part.

    Please just do the decent thing - leave! You are not true rational emotive behaviour therapists - you are masquerading as such. No true REBTer would ever treat another human being - much less the founder of REBT - the way you have treated Dr Ellis. Find your *own* centre. Do your *own* work. Don't *parasite* off the genius of Dr Ellis any longer.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jim Byrne

    Renata Taylor-Byrne

    Supporters of Albert Ellis and promoters of his work.

    West Yorkshire, UK.


    UPDATE 3: Call for action

    It is very important that as many individuals as possible contact the "Albert Ellis Institute" with letters and emails of complaint about the unjust actions of Dr Michael Broder. Send your emails to Michael Broder at and/or Let him know how you feel about his callous mistreatment of the 92 year old founder of one of the most profound therapies of all time. A man who has devoted about 60 of his 92 years to helping others with little regard for his own material circumstances.


    Additionally, you can go to theOnline Petition, and sign a public, world-wide petition for Albert Ellis's reinstatement. Or go to our sister site in the US, at Albert Ellis's Website.

    Or, if you want to read the New York Times' account of this outrageous development, I have appended it below.



    Dear Supporters:

    Thank you to all who have written to offer support in my serious disagreements with the Albert Ellis Institute. I appreciate all of your kind words and thoughts. Many of you have expressed an interest in forming or joining a committee to help me in my current struggles, and I am, again, very appreciative of these thoughts. I have heard that there is, in fact, such a committee being formed. As I understand it, the main goals of the committee are to:

    1. Raise awareness in the psychological community -- and in the broader community -- about what has happened to me and the Institute;

    2. Return me to the Board of Trustees of the Institute so that I can continue to play a role in shaping the future of the Institute;

    3. Return the main focus of the Institute to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, as opposed to the watered-down general forms of therapy that are favored by the current management of the Institute (I have always been and continue to be open to new developments within the study of REBT, but I am not in favor of forms of therapy that run counter to the very essence of REBT);

    4. Return me to "Active Duty" so that I can restart the Friday Night Workshops at the Institute. They were cancelled without reason by the Institute.

    5. Raise money to assist me with my legal bills and other costs associated with my struggles.

    You should all be hearing from the founders of this committee over the next several weeks, and your support will be critical in our efforts. If you would be interested in assisting the committee please let me know and I will pass that information along to the committee’s founders.

    Respectfully yours,

    Dr. Albert Ellis




    Final newsflash, before the New York Times article:

    Albert Ellis is asking for the support of the people he has helped and influenced to allow him to work in his own Institute.

    He reports being fired from his own Institute after accusing executive director Michael Broder and board member Jim McMahon of dropping REBT as the premise of the institute and for taking excessive pay.

    Dr. Ellis strongly asserts that the management of the Albert Ellis Institute has fallen into incompetent and unethical hands.


    If you now have enough information to make a decision, please take one or all of the following actions:


    Coaching and Counselling Services.
    Email Address.
    Ellis’s Email.
    Campaign to Reinstate Ellis.
    Regular Updates.
    Ellis's Official Website.
    Albert Ellis Biography.
    Albert Ellis Workshop.
    Online Petition for Reinstatement of Albert Ellis.
    Albert Ellis Institute Training System.
    Advice Goddess on Dr Ellis.
    My first archive at Blogger is stored at : Campaign Archive 1.
    My second blog has the user name of abc5rebt
    url: Ellis Archive 2.

    Section 4:

    And now, here's an extract from the New York Times article. (The article in full has been displayed on this site for the past week, and now is somewhat dated, as new information has come in. Therefore I have slightly edited it to remove unnecessary repetition).


    Albert Ellis, 92, working Monday from his bed in Manhattan, is considered a provocative and influential figure in modern psychology


    New York Times
    October 11, 2005


    By Benedict Carey and Dan Hurley

    In a drama worthy of a field that thrives on conflict, a bitter feud has erupted between Albert Ellis, one of the most provocative and influential figures in modern psychology, and the Upper East Side psychotherapy institute he founded almost a half-century ago.

    Dr. Ellis, 92, has filed a lawsuit against the Albert Ellis Institute, after the institute kicked him off its board of directors and cancelled his popular Friday evening seminars.

    Dr. Ellis and his defenders claim that the non-profit institute has fallen into the hands of psychologists who are moving it away from the revolutionary therapy techniques pioneered by Dr. Ellis in the 1960's and 1970's.

    The lawsuit, reported on Sunday by The New York Post, charges that the board acted improperly in removing Dr. Ellis and seeks his reinstatement, as well as unspecified damages. But Daniel Kurtz, a lawyer for the institute, said that the board acted out of economic necessity: payouts to Dr. Ellis for medical and other expenses were jeopardizing the institute's tax-exempt status and its viability, he said.

    Dr. Ellis, who lives above the institute on East 65th Street, has been in declining health since an infection that nearly killed him several years ago and has daily nursing care.

    In the last year, the dispute has turned personal. ...

    And some of Dr. Ellis's supporters have hinted that the institute's current managers are little more than overpaid self-promoters, intent on turning the institute into an outlet for pop psychology in the style of Dr. Phil, according to Mike Abrams, a psychologist in private practice in New Jersey who has worked with Dr. Ellis.

    The board also fired Dr. Ellis's assistant, whom he has now married, a fact that he has interpreted as additional evidence of personal animosity on the part of board members.

    In an interview from his bedside yesterday, Dr. Ellis said that neither money nor his health was the most important issue in the dispute.

    It is natural for any psychological institute to change and adapt with the times, he said, "but it's unusual for them to change and go completely against the main principles" of its founder "and still call it the Albert Ellis Institute, and say they're doing the therapy, which they are not."


    But historians say that the current quarrel is unusual, given the relationship between Dr. Ellis and the institute.

    "I can't think of anything else where somebody had a theory and a practice and an institute in their name and that there was a coup going on internally over it," said David Baker, a professor of psychology at the University of Akron and director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology there. "This sounds nasty."



    Most therapists thought Dr. Ellis was off-track when he founded the institute in 1959 and used it as a platform to promote a revolution in psychotherapy.

    At the time, psychotherapy drew its methods and inspiration from Freudian theory, which held that mental distress could be traced to unconscious conflicts rooted in early childhood. In a radical departure, Dr. Ellis insisted that therapists spend less time probing distant childhood experiences and concentrate instead on what was happening in people's lives at the moment.

    In his own practice, he had observed that people's conscious personal philosophies and beliefs - the need to be appreciated, the fear of never finding anyone to love - often drove them to despair and distraction.
    Dr. Ellis devised a method for exposing and defusing these habits, called rational emotive behavior therapy. ...

    Dr. Ellis was a board member at the institute for 46 years and hired most of its employees. ...


    Dr. Ellis's lawyer, Michael de Leeuw, said: "Either these people really believe he is losing it, which he is not - in which case their lack of sympathy and fairness is appalling - or it's a palace coup.

    "They have created a lot of animus. It's not what anyone would want to do to a guy who's 92 and the founder of a major school of psychology, especially one from whom they have all been directly enriched."



    Michael Broder, the director of the Institute, said yesterday that the action by the board was not personal and was within the law. Dr. Ellis's lawyers responded that Dr. Broder himself earned more than $200,000 last year and that Dr. Ellis's expenses were legitimate, especially given his modest salary - less than $50,000 a year - and his years of devotion to the institute.

    ... "Dr. Ellis didn't trust Dr. Broder and was frustrated that even though he was president of the board, Dr. Broder often ignored his directives."


    In his new identity as a therapist unaffiliated with the Albert Ellis Institute, Dr. Ellis said he has been seeing a few clients. He said he does not hate those who removed him from the institute, nor is he angry about it.

    "I think it's unfair, but they have the right as fallible, screwed-up humans to be unfair, that's the human condition," he said.



    What Dr Ellis meant by this comment about "the right to be fallible, screwed-up humans" is that "if that's they way they are then that's the way they are". It does not mean they have "the right" to behave immorally and unethically, in the sense that somebody else (like Albert Ellis) has "a duty" to put up with this kind of bad behaviour. No. They have behaved immorally, and unethically, and to some extent even illegally, and they will be held to account for that in the American judicial system. They will also be held to account by their peers, and we will make sure they are penalized for this outrageous behaviour!

    Now would be a good time to take a look at the Petition to Reinstate Albert Ellis, at the Online Petition. Please consider supporting this campaign by signing the petition.

    Thanking you,

    Jim Byrne
    ABC Coaching.
    13th October 2005
    Updated: 17th October 2005
    Re-edited: 21st October 2005
    Re-edited: 10th November 2005