- Rollo May (1909-1994) introduced existentialism to American psychologists, and has remained the best known proponent of this approach in America. Trained in a fairly traditional format as a psychoanalyst, May considered the detachment with which psychoanalysts approached their patients as a violation of social ethics.
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Theory Rollo May is the best known American existential psychologist. Much of his thinking can be understood by reading about existentialism in general, and the overlap between his ideas and the ideas of Ludwig Binswanger is great.
Rollo Reece May (April 21, 1909 – October 22, 1994) was an American existential psychologist and author of the influential book Love and Will (1969). He is often associated with humanistic psychology and existentialist philosophy, and alongside Viktor Frankl, was a major proponent of existential psychotherapy.
2 days ago · Source: Courtesy Robert Abzug. Photo by Benjamin Abzug. Robert H. Abzug, author of Psyche and Soul in America: The Spiritual Odyssey of Rollo May (2021, Oxford University Press) has taught at the ...
- Early life
- Academic career
- Personal life
The extential psychologist, Rollo May was born on in Ada, Ohio on April 21, 1909. Unfortunately, May did not experience a very happy childhood. Never getting along, his parents got divorced and his sister suffered a psychotic breakdown.
Rollo May studied English at Michigan State and graduated with a bachelors degree from Oberlin College after which he went to Greece and taught English for three years at Anatolia College. During this time, May spent some time as an itinerant artist studying briefly with Alfred Adler. Upon returning to the US, May entered a seminary where he made friends with Paul Tillich, an existentialist theologian who heavily influenced Mays thinking. In 1938, May received his BD.
Mays health declined significantly when he suffered tuberculosis due to which he had to spend three years in a sanatorium. Facing the possibility of death, this period was a turning point in Mays life. He spent most of his time during these days reading various pieces of literature. Among the authors he read was Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish religious writer. Kierkegaards work heavily inspired the extential movement and also became the basis of inspiration for Rollo Mays theory.
May eventually completed his education in 1949 at Columbia University earning a PhD in clinical psychology from Teachers College. Mays PhD was the first that Columbia University awarded in clinical psychology. After becoming a PhD doctor, May set out to teach at some of the top schools in the country. In 1958, along with Ernest Angel and Henri Ellenberger, May edited the book Existence. This book is known to introduce extential psychology to the United States.
Although May was an extential psychologist, he was also highly under the influence of other philosophical theories and humanism. He often studied the works of Freud and also believed Otto Rank to be a genius. Mays own contributions to extential psychology are many. He founded the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco and also published numerous articles. Some of his best works include The Courage to Create and Love & Will. Spending the last years of his life in Tiburon, California, Rollo May passed away in the October of 1994.
Rollo Reese May was best known as an American existential psychologist and he was referred as the father of existential psychotherapy. May was associated with the humanistic psychology; he had a different way of thinking on the Human existence, then other psychologist, his human existence was sharper on the tragic dimension.
Aug 16, 2020 · Rollo May (1909-1994) introduced existentialism to American psychologists, and has remained the best known proponent of this approach in America. Trained in a fairly traditional format as a psychoanalyst, May considered the detachment with which psychoanalysts approached their patients as a violation of social ethics.
Nov 15, 2018 · The existential psychotherapy Rollo May proposed is a process by which people explore the existence of those individuals who ask for help. It seeks to determine said individuals’ concerns and analyzes them through dialogue. Its goal is to identify prejudice and detect the things that lead to negative consequences.
- Understanding The Philosophy of Existentialism
- Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy
- Rollo May and Existential Psychology
- Buddhism and Existentialism: The Completion of A Circle?
- Some Final Thoughts of Existentialism and Existential Psychology
- Review of Key Points
The roots of existentialism as a philosophy beganwith the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard was intensely interested in man’srelationship with God, and its ultimate impossibility. Man is finite and individual, whereas God isinfinite and absolute, so the two can never truly meet. In pursuing the relationship, however, mangoes through three stages or modes of existence: the aesthetic mode, the ethicalmode, and the religious mode. The aesthetic mode is concerned with the here and now, and focusesprimarily on pleasure and pain. Youngchildren live primarily in this mode. The ethical mode involves making choices and wrestling with the conceptof responsibility. An individual in theethical mode must choose whether or not to live by a code or according to therules of society. This submission torules and codes may prove useful in terms of making life simple, but it is adead end. In order to break out of thisdead end, one must live in the religious mode by making a...
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was truly an extraordinaryman. His first paper was submitted forpublication by Sigmund Freud; his second paper was published at the urging ofAlfred Adler. Gordon Allport wasinstrumental in getting Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl,1946/1992) published in English, a book that went on to be recognized by theLibrary of Congress as one of the ten most influential books in America. He lectured around the world, and receivedsome thirty honorary doctoral degrees in addition to the medical degree and thePh.D. he had earned as a student. He wasinvited to a private audience with Pope Paul VI, even though Frankl wasJewish. All of this was accomplished inspite of, and partly because of, the fact that he spent several years in Naziconcentration camps during World War II, camps where his parents, brother,wife, and millions of other Jews died.
Rollo May (1909-1994) introduced existentialism toAmerican psychologists, and has remained the best known proponent of thisapproach in America. Trained in a fairlytraditional format as a psychoanalyst, May considered the detachment with whichpsychoanalysts approached their patients as a violation of social ethics. For example, if a psychoanalyst helps apatient to be the best they can be, and the person happens to earn their livingin an unseemly or criminal way, it hardly seems proper (Stagner, 1988). On the other hand, who is to decide whichvalues should be preferred in a particular society? In the pursuit of freedom, May suggested thatsometimes individuals might reasonably oppose the standards or morality oftheir society. Politics, a wonderfultopic for lively debates, is dependent on opposing viewpoints. Only when an individual lives an authenticlife, however, should their opinion be considered valid, and existentialpsychology seeks to help individuals live authentic lives.
Buddhism is by far the oldest theory of psychology thatwe will cover in this book. Appliedexistentialism, particularly the work of Rollo May, is one of the more recentdevelopments in psychology. And yet,these two approaches share a great deal in common, a fact readily acknowledgedby May: …The likenesses betweenthese Eastern philosophies and existentialism go much deeper than the chancesimilarity of words. Both are concernedwith ontology, the study of being. Bothseek a relation to reality which cuts below the cleavage between subject andobject. Both would insist that theWestern absorption in conquering and gaining power over nature has resulted notonly in the estrangement of man from nature but also indirectly in theestrangement of man from himself. Thebasic reason for these similarities is that Eastern thought never suffered theradical split between subject and object that has characterized Westernthought, and this dichotomy is exactly what existentialism seeks toovercome. (pp. 58-5...
Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (1943) isconsidered the defining text of modern existentialism. Sartre was an atheist, so the briefintroduction to existentialism in this chapter went in the direction ofatheism. However, Frankl and May werenot atheists, and one of May’s most influential mentors, as well as a closepersonal friend, was Paul Tillich. Tillich remains a well-known and respected existential philosopher inthe spiritual tradition. May went so faras to say that Tillich’ book The Courage to Be might be the best andmost understandable presentation of existentialism as an approach to life thathas been written in English (May, 1983). It is also interesting to note that both Frankl and Maywere significantly influenced by Alfred Adler. Frankl worked closely with Adler for a time, and May took a summercourse with Adler. Both cite Adlerregularly in their writings. Adler’sfocus on the childhood struggle against one’s own inferiority, his emphasis onsocial interest as a respon...Existentialism focuses on an individual’s subjective “truth.” The freedom and responsibility that come with personal truth lead to anxiety, but they can also elevate the individual to lead an authe...Heidegger believed that all creatures are connected, but that only humans can become aware of this connection. Dasein, the realization of this connection, allows us to connect with Being. Awareness...Sartre believed that humans were unique, something he called en-soi. Awareness of the nothingness that separates the en-soi from the pour-soi is what drives some individuals to make something signi...Viktor Frankl developed his ideas for logotherapy (an existential psychoanalysis) during his impressive early career. He had an extraordinary opportunity to put his ideas to the test while imprison...