CPP 518 Rollo May: Humanistic Psychology through an Existential Lens

Faculty: Michael L. Brock, PhD, PsyD, LPC (Profile)


Like each of the humanistic psychologists, Rollo May, America’s “public intellectual,” developed an approach to psychology and psychotherapy that grew out of his unique temperament and life experiences. Early on, he demonstrated an attraction to the tragic sense of life, which the more sanguine Maslow and Rogers might have overlooked in their emphasis on self-actualization. May is credited with introducing American psychology to European existentialism, a movement that would color his humanism—and his temperament, resulting in a fair share of angst throughout his life. During his heyday, his books dominated best seller lists, and he could barely keep up with all the requests for speaking engagements. To this day, according to biographer Robert Abzug, his name registers between four and six hundred thousand Google daily searches. His books—from The Art of Counseling and Man’s Search for Himself to Love and Will and The Cry for Myth—are readily accessible. Drawing upon the centuries old “Wisdom Tradition,” his words continue to matter as they address universal human concerns about identity, anxiety, love, spirituality, freedom with responsibility, and meaning. He was a major force in the humanistic psychology movement that included Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm.

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