Rollo May

Rollo Reese 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, existentialist philosophy and, alongside Viktor Frankl, was a major proponent of existential psychotherapy. The philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich was a close friend who had a significant influence on his work.[1][2]

As well as Love and Will, May's works also include The Meaning of Anxiety (1950, revised 1977) and, titled in honor of Tillich's The Courage to Be, The Courage to Create (1975).

Rollo May
BornApril 21, 1909
Ada, Ohio, U.S.
DiedOctober 22, 1994 (aged 85)
  • Psychologist
  • Author
Known forLove and Will (1969)


May was born in Ada, Ohio, on April 21, 1909. He experienced a difficult childhood when his parents divorced and his sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was the first son of a family with six children. His mother often left the children to care for themselves, and with his sister suffering from schizophrenia, he bore a great deal of responsibility.[3] His educational career took him to Michigan State University, where he pursued a major in English, but he was expelled due to his involvement in a radical student magazine. After being asked to leave, he attended Oberlin College and received a bachelor's degree in English. He later spent three years teaching in Greece at Anatolia College. During this time, he studied with doctor and psychotherapist Alfred Adler, with whom his later work also shares theoretical similarities. He became ordained as a minister shortly after coming back to the United States, but left the ministry after several years to pursue a degree in psychology. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1942 and spent 18 months in a sanatorium. He later attended Union Theological Seminary for a BD during 1938, and finally to Teachers College, Columbia University for a PhD in clinical psychology in 1949. May was a founder and faculty member of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco.[4]

He spent the final years of his life in Tiburon on San Francisco Bay. May died due to congestive heart failure at the age of 85.[5] He was attended in the end by his wife, Georgia, and friends.[6]

May's Books

The Art of Counseling (1939)

May's first book, was used by May to talk about his experience of counselling. Some of the topics he looks at are empathy, religion, personality problems and mental health. May also gives his perspective on these and also discusses how to handle those particular types of issues should a counselor encounter them (May, 1965).

The Springs of Creative Living: A Study of Human Nature and God (1940)

Here May presents a personality theory influenced by critiquing the work of others, including Freud and Adler, claiming that personality is deeper than they presented it as. This is also where May introduces his own meaning for different terms such as libido from Freudian Psychology. May then goes on to talk about the theoretical such as god and humanity (May, 1940).

The Meaning of Anxiety (1950)

This book explores anxiety and how it can affect mental health. May also discusses how he believes that experiencing anxiety can aid development and how dealing with it appropriately can lead to having a healthy personality.

Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

In this book May talks about his experience with his patients and the reoccurring problems they had in common such as loneliness and emptiness. May looks deeper into this and discusses how humans have an innate need for a sense of value and also how life can often present an overwhelming sense of anxiety. As the cover suggests, May also gives signposts on how to act during these periods. (May, 1953)

Existence (1958)

Not entirely written by May but his part of this book examines where the roots of Existential Psychology may have begun and why Existential Psychology is important in understanding a gap that lies in human beings. He also talks about the Existential Psychotherapy and the contributions it has made. (May, Ernest, Ellenberger & Aronson, 1958)

Psychology and the Human Dilemma (1967)

May uses this book to reflect on a lot of both his ideas so far and those of other thinkers and also mentions some contemporary ideas despite the book’s publication date. May also expands on some of his previous perspectives such as anxiety and people’s feelings of insignificance (May, 1967).

Love and Will (1969)

One of May’s most influential books. He talks about his perspective on love and the Daimonic; how it is part of nature and not the superego. May also discusses how love and sex are in conflict with each other and how they are two different things. May also discusses depression and creativity towards the end. Some of the views in this book are the ones that May is best known for (May, 1967). Love and will are most of that focus about sex.

Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence (1972)

May uses this book to start some new ideas and also define words according to his way of thinking; such as power and physical courage and how power holds the potential for both human goodness and human evil. Another idea May explores is civilisation stemming out of rebellion (May, 1972).

Paulus: Reminiscence of a Friendship (1973)

May identified Paul Tillich as one of his biggest influences and in this book May episodically recalls Tillich’s life trying to focus just on the key moments over the eight chapters, taking a psychoanalytic approach to the tale (May, 1973)

The Courage to Create (1975)

Listening to our ideas and helping form the structure of our world is what our creative courage can come from; this is the main direction of May in this book. May encourages that people break the pattern in their life and face their fears to reach their full potential (May, 1975).

Freedom and Destiny (1981)

As the title suggests, May focuses on the area of Freedom and Destiny in this book. He examines what freedom might offer and also, comparatively, how destiny is imposing limitations on us, but also how the two have an interdependence. May draws on artists and poets and others to invoke what he is saying (May, 1981).

The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology (1983)

May draws on others perspectives, including Freud’s, to go into more detail on existential psychotherapy. Another topic May examines is how Psychoanalyses and Existentialism may have come from similar areas of thinking. There is attention paid to searching for stability with strong feelings of anxiety (May, 1983).

My Quest for Beauty (1985)

Serving as a type of memoir, May discusses his own opinions the power of beauty. He also states his belief that beauty must be both understood and also valued in the world (May, 1985).

The Cry for Myth (1991)

Argued in this book is May's belief that humans can use myths to help them make sense of their lives, based on cases studies May uses from his patients. May discusses how this could be particularly useful to those who need direction in a confusing world (May, 1991).

The Psychology of Existence (1995)

Two days before May’s death, he edited an advanced copy of this book. It was co-authored by Kirk Schneider and was intended to bring some life back into Existential Psychology. Like some previous books this talks of existential psychotherapy and targets scholars (May & Schneider, 1995).


  • In 1970, May's most popular work, Love and Will(1969), won the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for humane scholarship and became a best-seller.
  • In 1971, Rollo May won the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Contribution to Science and Profession of Clinical Psychology award.
  • In 1972, the New York Society of Clinical Psychologists presented him with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for his book Power and Innocence(1972).
  • In 1987, he received the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Contributions to Professional Psychology.

Influences and psychological background

May was influenced by North American humanism, and interested in reconciling existential psychology with other philosophies, especially Freud's.

May considered Otto Rank (1884–1939) to be the most important precursor of existential therapy. Shortly before his death, May wrote the foreword to Robert Kramer's edited collection of Rank's American lectures. "I have long considered Otto Rank to be the great unacknowledged genius in Freud's circle", wrote May.[7]

May is often grouped with humanists, for example Abraham Maslow, who provided a good base for May's studies and theories as an existentialist. May delves further into the awareness of the serious dimensions of a human's life than Maslow did.

Erich Fromm had many ideas with which May agreed relating to May's existential ideals. Fromm studied the ways people avoid anxiety by conforming to societal norms rather than doing what they please. Fromm also focused on self-expression and free will, on all of which May based many of his studies.

Stages of development

Like Freud, May defined certain "stages" of development. These stages are not as strict as Freud's psychosexual stages, rather they signify a sequence of major issues in each individual's life:

  1. Innocence – the pre-egoic, pre-self-conscious stage of the infant: An innocent is only doing what he or she must do. However, an innocent does have a degree of will in the sense of a drive to fulfill needs.
  2. Rebellion – the rebellious person wants freedom, but does not yet have a good understanding of the responsibility that goes with it.
  3. Ordinary – the normal adult ego learned responsibility, but finds it too demanding, so seeks refuge in conformity and traditional values.
  4. Creative – the authentic adult, the existential stage, self-actualizing and transcending simple egocentrism

The stages of development that Rollo May set out are not stages in the conventional sense (not in the strict Freudian sense) i.e. a child may be innocent, ordinary or creative at any given time. An adult can also be rebellious as the expression "mid-life crisis" suggests (Ellis & Abrams,2009).[8]



Anxiety is a major focus of Rollo May and is the subject of his work "The Meaning of Anxiety". He defines it as "the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his existence as a self" (1967, p. 72). He also quotes Kierkegaard: "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom". May's interest in isolation and anxiety developed strongly after his time in the sanatorium when he had tuberculosis. His own feelings of depersonalization and isolation as well as watching others deal with fear and anxiety gave him important insight into the subject. He concluded that anxiety is essential to an individual's growth and in fact contributes to what it means to be human. This is a way that humans enact their freedom to live a life of dignity. He is adamant in the importance of anxiety and feelings of threat and powerlessness because it gives humans the freedom to act courageously as opposed to conforming to be comfortable ((8)). This struggle gives humans the opportunity to live life to the fullest (Friedman). One way in which Rollo proposes to fight anxiety is by displacing anxiety to fear as he believes that “anxiety seeks to become fear”.[9] He claims that by shifting anxiety to a fear, one can therefore discover incentives to either avoid the feared object or find the means to remove this fear of it.[9]


May's thoughts on love are documented mainly by Love and Will, which focuses on love and sex in human behavior and in which he specifies five particular types of love. He believes that they should not be separate, but that society has separated love and sex into two different ideologies.

  • Libido : Biological function that can be satisfied through sexual intercourse or some other release of sexual tension.
  • Eros : Psychological desire that seeks procreation or creation through an enduring union with a loved one.
  • Philia : Intimate non-sexual friendship between two people.
  • Agape: Esteem for the other, the concern for the other’s welfare beyond any gain that one can get out of it, disinterested love, typically, the love of God for man.
  • Manic : Impulsive, emotionally driven love. Feelings are very hot and cold. The relationship transitions between thriving and perfect, or bitter and ugly.

May particularly investigated and criticized the "Sexual Revolution" in the 1960s, in which many individuals were exploring their sexuality. "Free sex" was replacing the ideology of free love. May explains that love is intentionally willed by an individual, whereas sexual desire is the complete opposite. Love is real human instinct reflected upon deliberation and consideration,which is part of his construct and system for motivation which he called the Daimonic. May then shows that to give in to these impulses does not actually make one free, but to resist these impulses is the meaning of being free. May perceived the Hippie subculture and sexual mores of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as commercialization of sex and pornography, as having influenced society such that people believed that love and sex are no longer associated directly. According to May, emotion has become separated from reason, making it acceptable socially to seek sexual relationships and avoid the natural drive to relate to another person and create new life. May believed that sexual freedom can cause modern society to neglect more important psychological developments. May suggests that the only way to remedy the cynical ideas that characterize our times is to rediscover the importance of caring for another, which May describes as the opposite of apathy.


According to May, Guilt occurs when people deny their potentialities, fail to perceive the needs of others or are unaware of their dependency on the world. Both anxiety and guilt include issues dealing with one’s existence in the world. May mentioned they were ontological, meaning that they both refer to the nature of being and not to the feelings coming from situations. (Feist & Feist, 2008)[10]

Feist and Feist (2008) outline May’s three forms of ontological guilt. Each form relates to one of the three modes of being, which are Unwelt, Mitwelt and Eigenwelt. Unwelt’s form of guilt comes from a lack of awareness of one’s existence in the world, which May believed to take place when the world becomes more technologically advanced, and people are less concerned about nature and become removed from nature.

Mitwelt’s form of guilt comes from failure to see things from other’s point of view. Because we cannot understand the need of others accurately, we feel inadequate in our relations with them.

Eigenwelt’s form of guilt is connected with the denial of our own potentialities or failure to fulfil them. This guilt is based in our relationship with the self. This form of guilt is universal because no one can completely fulfil their potentialities.

Criticism of modern psychotherapy

May believed that psychotherapists towards the end of the 20th century had fractured away from the Jungian, Freudian and other influencing psychoanalytic thought and started creating their own 'gimmicks' causing a crisis within the world of psychotherapy. These gimmicks were said to put too much stock into the self where the real focus needed to be looking at 'man in the world'. To accomplish this, May pushed for the use of existential therapy over individually created techniques for psychotherapy.[11]


Year Title Published by ISBN
1940 The Springs of Creative Living Whitmore & Stone unknown
1950a The Meaning of Anxiety W W Norton (1996 revised edition) 0-393-31456-1
1953 Man's Search for Himself Delta (1973 reprint) 0-385-28617-1
1956 Existence Jason Aronson (1994 reprint) 1-56821-271-2
1965 The Art of Counseling Gardner Press (1989 revised edition) 0-89876-156-5
1967 Psychology and the Human Dilemma W W Norton (1996 reprint) 0-393-31455-3
1969 Love and Will W W Norton / Delta (1989 reprint) 0-393-01080-5 / 0-385-28590-6
1972 Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence W W Norton (1998 reprint) 0-393-31703-X
1973 Paulus: A personal portrait of Paul Tillich Harper & Row 0-00-211689-8
1975 The Courage to Create W W Norton (1994 reprint) 0-393-31106-6
1981 Freedom and Destiny W W Norton (1999 edition) 0-393-31842-7
1983 The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology W W Norton (1994 reprint) 0-393-31240-2
1985 My Quest for Beauty Saybrook Publishing 0-933071-01-9
1991 The Cry for Myth Delta (1992 reprint) 0-385-30685-7
1995 The Psychology of Existenceb McGraw-Hill 0-07-041017-8

a revised 1977.
b with Kirk Schneider.

  • "Humanity's dark side: Evil, destructive experience, and psychotherapy", Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2013.
  • "Existential psychology East-West", Colorado Springs, Colorado: University of the Rockies Press, 2009.
  • "Rollo May on the Courage to Create" in Media and Methods 10 (1974), 9:14-16.
  • De Castro, Alberto, "An integration of the existential understanding of anxiety in the writings of Rollo May, Irvin Yalom, and Kirk Schneider", ProQuest Information & Learning, 2011 (AAI3423854).

See also


  1. ^ "Paul Tillich as Hero: An Interview with Rollo May". Archived from the original on 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  2. ^ "Paul Tillich Resources". Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  3. ^ "American Psychologist (April 1996), 51 (4), pg. 418-419". Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  4. ^ [1] Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Pace, Eric, "Dr. Rollo May Is Dead at 85; Was Innovator of Psychology", "The New York Times", October 4, 1994
  6. ^ James F.T.Bugental
  7. ^ (Rank, 1996, p. xi).
  8. ^ "Rollo Reese May".
  9. ^ a b Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential Psychotherapy. United States of America: Basic Books.
  10. ^ Feist, Jess; Feist, Gregory (15 July 2008). Theories of Personality. McGraw-Hill Education.
  11. ^ May, Rollo. (October 2009) Rollo May on Existential Therapy. Volume 49 Number 4. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 419-434.

Sources and further reading

  • Rank, Otto, A Psychology of Difference: The American Lectures [talks given 1924–1938; edited and with an introductory essay by Robert Kramer], Princeton University Press 1996 (ISBN 0-691-04470-8).
  • Friedman, Howard S. and Miriam W. Schustack, Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research, Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon, 2012 (ISBN 9780205050178).

External links

Primary sources
Association for Humanistic Psychology

The Association for Humanistic Psychology is a professional organization in the field of humanistic psychology, founded in 1963. Among the founders of the organization is the late psychologist Rollo May.


Chaining is an instructional procedure used in behavioral psychology, experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis. It involves reinforcing individual responses occurring in a sequence to form a complex behavior. It is frequently used for training behavioral sequences (or "chains") that are beyond the current repertoire of the learner. The term is often credited to the work of B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist working at Harvard University in the 1930s.

Clinical pluralism

Clinical pluralism is a term used by some psychotherapists to denote an approach to clinical treatment that would seek to remain respectful towards divergences in meaning-making. It can signify both an undertaking to negotiate theoretical difference between clinicians, and an undertaking to negotiate differences of belief occurring within the therapeutic relationship itself. While the notion of clinical pluralism is associated with the practice of psychotherapy, similar issues have been raised within the field of medical ethics.

Cognitive shifting

Cognitive shifting is the mental process of consciously redirecting one's attention from one fixation to another. In contrast, if this process happened unconsciously, then it is referred to as task switching. Both are forms of cognitive flexibility.

In the general framework of cognitive therapy and awareness management, cognitive shifting refers to the conscious choice to take charge of one's mental habits—and redirect one's focus of attention in helpful, more successful directions. In the term's specific usage in corporate awareness methodology, cognitive shifting is a performance-oriented technique for refocusing attention in more alert, innovative, charismatic and empathic directions.


The idea of the daimonic typically means quite a few things: from befitting a demon and fiendish, to be motivated by a spiritual force or genius and inspired. As a psychological term, it has come to represent an elemental force which contains an irrepressible drive towards individuation. As a literary term, it can also mean the dynamic unrest that exists in us all that forces us into the unknown, leading to self-destruction and/or self-discovery.

Danish philosophy

Danish philosophy has a long tradition as part of Western philosophy.

Perhaps the most influential Danish philosopher was Søren Kierkegaard, the creator of Christian existentialism, which inspired the philosophical movement of Existentialism. Kierkegaard had a few Danish followers, including Harald Høffding, who later in his life moved on to join the movement of positivism. Among Kierkegaard's other followers include Jean-Paul Sartre who was impressed with Kierkegaard's views on the individual, and Rollo May, who helped create humanistic psychology.

Ernst Angel

Ernst Angel (11 August 1894, Vienna, Austria – 10 January 1986, Newark, New Jersey) was an Austrian born poet, theatre and film critic, screen play author, film director and publisher who later became a psychologist. He was Jewish.For a period of time, he worked with Rollo May, coauthoring a book.

He died in Newark Airport.

History of psychotherapy

Although modern, scientific psychology is often dated at the 1879 opening of the first psychological clinic by Wilhelm Wundt, attempts to create methods for assessing and treating mental distress existed long before. The earliest recorded approaches were a combination of religious, magical and/or medical perspectives. Early examples of such psychological thinkers included Patañjali, Padmasambhava, Rhazes, Avicenna and Rumi (see Islamic psychology and Eastern philosophy and clinical psychology).

In an informal sense, psychotherapy can be said to have been practiced through the ages, as individuals received psychological counsel and reassurance from others. Purposeful, theoretically-based psychotherapy was probably first developed in the Middle East during the 9th century by the Persian physician and psychological thinker, Rhazes, who was at one time the chief physician of the Baghdad bimaristan. In the West, however, serious mental disorders were generally treated as demonic or medical conditions requiring punishment and confinement until the advent of moral treatment approaches in the 18th century. This brought about a focus on the possibility of psychosocial intervention - including reasoning, moral encouragement and group activities - to rehabilitate the "insane".

In the 19th century, one could have his or her head examined, literally, using phrenology, the study of the shape of the skull developed by respected anatomist Franz Joseph Gall. Other popular treatments included physiognomy—the study of the shape of the face—and mesmerism, developed by Franz Anton Mesmer—designed to relieve psychological distress by the use of magnets. Spiritualism and Phineas Quimby's "mental healing" technique that was very like modern concept of "positive visualization" were also popular.

While the scientific community eventually came to reject all of these methods, academic psychologists also were not concerned with serious forms of mental illness. That area was already being addressed by the developing fields of psychiatry and neurology within the asylum movement and the use of moral therapy. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century, around the time when Sigmund Freud was first developing his "talking cure" in Vienna, that the first scientifically clinical application of psychology began—at the University of Pennsylvania, to help children with learning disabilities.

Although clinical psychologists originally focused on psychological assessment, the practice of psychotherapy, once the sole domain of psychiatrists, became integrated into the profession after the Second World War. Psychotherapy began with the practice of psychoanalysis, the "talking cure" developed by Sigmund Freud. Soon afterwards, theorists such as Alfred Adler and Carl Jung began to introduce new conceptions about psychological functioning and change. These and many other theorists helped to develop the general orientation now called psychodynamic therapy, which includes the various therapies based on Freud's essential principle of making the unconscious conscious.

In the 1920s, behaviorism became the dominant paradigm, and remained so until the 1950s. Behaviorism used techniques based on theories of operant conditioning, classical conditioning and social learning theory. Major contributors included Joseph Wolpe, Hans Eysenck, and B.F. Skinner. Because behaviorism denied or ignored internal mental activity, this period represents a general slowing of advancement within the field of psychotherapy.Wilhelm Reich began to develop Body psychotherapy in the 1930s.

Starting in the 1950s, two main orientations evolved independently in response to behaviorism—cognitivism and existential-humanistic therapy. The humanistic movement largely developed from both the Existential theories of writers like Rollo May and Viktor Frankl (a less well known figure Eugene Heimler) and the Person-centered psychotherapy of Carl Rogers. These orientations all focused less on the unconscious and more on promoting positive, holistic change through the development of a supportive, genuine, and empathic therapeutic relationship. Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and Irvin Yalom acknowledge the influence of Otto Rank (1884-1939), Freud's acolyte, then critic.

During the 1950s, Albert Ellis developed the first form of cognitive behavioral therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and few years later Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy. Both of these included therapy aimed at changing a person's beliefs, by contrast with the insight-based approach of psychodynamic therapies or the newer relational approach of humanistic therapies. Cognitive and behavioral approaches were combined during the 1970s, resulting in Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Being oriented towards symptom-relief, collaborative empiricism and modifying core beliefs, this approach has gained widespread acceptance as a primary treatment for numerous disorders.

Since the 1970s, other major perspectives have been developed and adopted within the field. Perhaps the two biggest have been Systems Therapy—which focuses on family and group dynamics—and Transpersonal psychology, which focuses on the spiritual facet of human experience. Other important orientations developed in the last three decades include Feminist therapy, Somatic Psychology, Expressive therapy, and applied Positive psychology. Clinical psychology in Japan developed towards a more integrative socially-orientated counseling methodology. Practice in India developed from both traditional metaphysical and ayurvedic systems and Western methodologies.Since 1993, the American Psychological Association Division 12 Task Force has created and revised a list of empirically supported psychological treatments for specific disorders. The Division 12 standards are based on 7 "essential" criteria for research quality, such as randomization and the use of validated psychological assessments. In general, cognitive behavioral treatments for psychological disorders have received greater support than other psychotherapeutic approaches. Passionate debate among clinical scientists and practitioners about the superiority of evidence-based practices is ongoing, and some have presented correlational data that indicate that most of the major therapies are about of equal effectiveness and that the therapist, client, and therapeutic alliance account for a larger portion of client improvement from psychotherapy. While many Ph.D. training programs in clinical psychology have taken a strong empirical approach to psychotherapy that has led to a greater emphasis on cognitive behavioral interventions, other training programs and psychologists are now adopting an eclectic orientation. This integrative movement attempts to combine the most effective aspects of all the schools of practice.

Humanistic psychology

Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in answer to the limitations of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and B. F. Skinner's behaviorism. With its roots running from Socrates through the Renaissance, this approach emphasizes individuals' inherent drive towards self-actualization, the process of realizing and expressing one's own capabilities and creativity.

This psychological perspective helps the client gain the belief that all people are inherently good. It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and positive human potential. It encourages viewing ourselves as a "whole person" greater than the sum of our parts and encourages self exploration rather than the study of behavior in other people. Humanistic psychology acknowledges spiritual aspiration as an integral part of the psyche. It is linked to the emerging field of transpersonal psychology.Primarily, this type of therapy encourages a self-awareness and mindfulness that helps the client change their state of mind

and behaviour from one set of reactions to a healthier one with more productive self-awareness and thoughtful actions. Essentially, this approach allows the merging of mindfulness and behavioural therapy, with positive social support.

In an article from the Association for Humanistic Psychology, the benefits of humanistic therapy are described as having a "crucial opportunity to lead our troubled culture back to its own healthy path. More than any other therapy, Humanistic-Existential therapy models democracy. It imposes ideologies of others upon the client less than other therapeutic practices. Freedom to choose is maximized. We validate our clients' human potential."In the 20th century, humanistic psychology was referred to as the "third force" in psychology, distinct from earlier, even less humanistic approaches of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. In our post industrial society, humanistic psychology has become more significant; for example, neither psychoanalysis nor behaviorism could have birthed emotional intelligence.

Its principal professional organizations in the US are the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association). In Britain, there is the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners.

James Bugental

James Frederick Thomas Bugental (December 25, 1915 – September 17, 2008) was one of the predominant theorists and advocates of the Existential-Humanistic Therapy movement. He was a therapist, teacher and writer for over 50 years. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University, was named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 1955, and was the first recipient of the APA's Division of Humanistic Psychology's Rollo May Award. He held leadership positions in a number of professional organizations, including president of the California State Psychological Association.

Kirk J. Schneider

Kirk J. Schneider is a psychologist and psychotherapist who has taken a leading role in the advancement of existential-humanistic therapy, and existential-integrative therapy. Schneider is also the current editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. His major books are Existential-Humanistic Therapy (2010), Existential-Integrative Therapy (2008), The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology (with James Bugental and Fraser Pierson) (2001), The Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May)(1995), Rediscovery of Awe (2004), Awakening to Awe (2009), and "The Polarized Mind" (2013).

He worked closely with existential and humanistic psychology pioneer Rollo May, and in 2004, was himself the recipient of the Rollo May Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association for “outstanding and independent pursuit of new frontiers in humanistic psychology.” He has been integral in fostering global dialogs surrounding existential themes in psychology, and in April 2010, he delivered the opening keynote address at the First (East-West) International Existential Psychology Conference in Nanjing, China. He is also a Fellow of three Divisions of the American Psychological Association (Humanistic, Clinical, and Independent Practice) and has published over 100 articles and chapters and has authored or edited eight books. He is currently vice-president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI), adjunct faculty at Saybrook University, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies, and contributor to Psychology Today.

Land of Dreams (1988 film)

Land of Dreams is a 1988 Swedish essay film by Jan Troell. Its original Swedish title is Sagolandet, which means "The land of tales". Through a series of reportages from contemporary Sweden, Troell uses the film to ponder on the country's transformation since his childhood, into a society he argues has become permeated by rationality at the expense of creativity. Interweaved with the reportages are conversations with the American existential psychologist Rollo May, the politician Ingvar Carlsson soon before he became the prime minister of Sweden, and former prime minister Tage Erlander. Filming took place from 1983 to 1986.


Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, on a concept based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. It is considered the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy" along with Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology.Logotherapy is based on an existential analysis focusing on Kierkegaard's will to meaning as opposed to Adler's Nietzschean doctrine of will to power or Freud's will to pleasure. Rather than power or pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. A short introduction to this system is given in Frankl's most famous book, Man's Search for Meaning, in which he outlines how his theories helped him to survive his Holocaust experience and how that experience further developed and reinforced his theories. Presently, there are a number of logotherapy institutes around the world.

Lorna Smith Benjamin

Lorna Smith Benjamin (born 1934) is an American psychologist best known for her innovative treatment of patients with personality disorders who have not responded to traditional therapies or medications.

Love and Will

Love and Will (1969) is a book by American existential psychologist Rollo May, in which he articulates the principle that an awareness of death is essential to life, rather than being opposed to life.The book explores how the modern loss of older values, whose structures and stories provided society with explanations of the mysteries of life, forces contemporary humanity to choose between finding meaning within themselves or deciding that neither oneself, nor life, has meaning.

Stephen A. Diamond

Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. (born 1951) is a licensed American clinical and forensic psychologist, a former pupil and protégé of Dr. Rollo May, and notable author of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity (with Foreword by Rollo May, SUNY Press, 1996). His work focuses on the psychological topics of anger, violence, evil, mental illness, and the daimonic.

The Meaning of Anxiety

Meaning of Anxiety is a book by Rollo May. It was published first in 1950 and then again in a revised 1977 edition. The book is notable for questioning fundamental assumptions about mental health and asserts that anxiety in fact aids in the development of an ultimately healthy personality. The revised edition discusses the in-between two and half decades of research on anxiety, especially that of Charles Spielberger. Other researchers and their work mentioned include Richard Lazarus, James Averill, and Seymour Epstein's work among others. May says his views are close to those of H.D. Kimmel, a critic of behaviorists.

Thinking Allowed (TV series)

Thinking Allowed is an American independent public television series which was broadcast from 1986 to 2002. It began as The Mind's Eye on KCSM-TV in San Mateo, California, in 1986 and changed to Thinking Allowed in 1988 when it was distributed to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It was an interview program providing alternative points of view on a wide variety of subjects in humanistic psychology, living philosophically, frontiers of science, personal and spiritual development, health and healing, mythology, parapsychology, computers and cognition, management psychology, and global awareness.

The series' host was Jeffrey Mishlove, and featured more than 200 prominent intellectual figures, which included Rupert Sheldrake, Russell Targ, Joseph Campbell, Jacques Vallée, Albert Ellis, H. Dean Brown, Riane Eisler, Virginia Satir, Rollo May, Terence McKenna, Arthur M. Young, Irvin Yalom, Jean Houston, Colin Wilson, Jacob Needleman, J. Nigro Sansonese, Rachel Naomi Remen, Michael Talbot, Theodore Roszak, Robert Ornstein, Jean Shinoda Bolen and many others.

The original interviews can be seen on the show's YouTube channel.Mishlove returned to the format with new interviews titled New Thinking Allowed in 2015, also on YouTube.


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