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Even in Death, Albert Ellis Keeps Fighting the Ellis Institute

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The influential Upper East Side psychologist Albert Ellis, who died yesterday at 93, won a lawsuit in 2005 that forced the board of the Albert Ellis Institute, which he founded in 1959 and practiced from for decades, to reinstate him after he'd essentially been thrown out. But he had new litigation pending against the institute when he died yesterday, and his lawyer says he's prepared to continue the suit on behalf of the estate. The breach-of-contract action was filed in New York Supreme Court on June 6, and it seeks to have the institute reimburse Ellis for medical expenses he paid out of pocket and return his personal papers and documents, which the lawyer, Michael B. deLeeuw, claims were suddenly "put under lock and key" last spring.

Groundbreaking Shrink Albert Ellis Dies at 93

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Albert Ellis, the groundbreaking and sometimes controversial psychotherapist who invented Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in the fifties and in a 1982 APA survey was ranking the second most influential psychotherapists of the last hundred years, ahead of Freud, died today at 93. Matt Dobkin profiled Ellis for New York in 2005, when the board of directors of his Albert Ellis Institute had essentially thrown him out. Dobkin found Ellis characteristically pugnacious, fighting for his institute and continuing to see patients and hold his long-running weekly seminars. A state Supreme Court judge reinstated him the next year, and he died this morning in his apartment above the institute. Behaviorists Behaving Badly [NYM] Albert Ellis, Who Streamlined Freud, Dies at 93 [NYT]

It's Not Easy Being a Steamroller

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• Eliot Spitzer admits to the Times that his feud with Joe Bruno has become "ugly" and "eclipse[d] all discussion of policy and legislation." Plus, all the personal attacks are upsetting Mrs. Spitzer, who now regrets her husband didn't go into real estate. [NYT] • The city is opening 290 "cooling centers" to help New Yorkers beat the heat; "I don't care how strong you are, you should take some precautions," Mayor Bloomberg declared, sounding even more like a testy grandmother than usual. [amNY] • Now this is getting interesting: The Department of Transportation under Janette Sadik-Khan is trying to hire Danish planner Jan Gehl as a consultant (as Daily Intel reported two weeks ago), and now word is that his proposals include banning cars from Times Square. [NYDN] • At the Phil Spector trial, the judge has allowed in a piece of blockbuster testimony from the producer's bodyguard — who says he's heard Spector say "all women should be shot in the head." [WNBC] • And a Manhattan psychologist, William Swan, is accused of groping a prospective assistant during an interview and showing her porn to boost her "assertiveness." In an apparent triumph, she's now assertive enough to sue and go to the press. [NYP]

Battling Behaviorists Move Fight Online

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When New York profiled the legendary psychotherapist and sexologist Albert Ellis in November 2005, he had lost control of the Upper East Side's Albert Ellis Institute, which he'd founded and where, till then, he'd worked. Now three supporters of Ellis, who at 93 is ailing, have had to shut down a Website, AlbertEllisFoundation.org, because the Ellis Institute claims it owns rights to his name and threatened a $500,000 lawsuit for copyright infringement and unfair competition. "It's a pragmatic decision because we don't have deep pockets," said William Knaus, a former training director at the institute who is one of the three behind the site, which provides information on Ellis's work, news about his much-publicized legal battles with the trustees, and updates on his medical condition. David Blasband, the intellectual-property lawyer representing the institute's trustees, said he'll file for an injunction tomorrow unless he hears "directly" from the defendants that the site has been dismantled. The old Web address, meantime, now directs readers to REBTNetwork.org, after Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Of course, the institute's site is REBT.orgMary Reinholz Behaviorists Behaving Badly [NYM]