Chapter 11 May: Existential PsychologyChapter 11May: Existential PsychologyLearning ObjectivesAfter reading Chapter 11, you should be able to:1.List the common assumptions found among most existential thinkers.2.Define being-in-the-world and nonbeing.3.Distinguish between normal and neurotic anxiety. 4.Discuss the interrelationship between care, love, and will.5.List and give examples of the four forms of love.6.Discuss May's concept of myth and explain why the Oedipal myth is important in today's world.7.Describe the relationship between freedom and destiny.8.Define existential freedom and essential freedom.Feist, Theories of Personality, 8eStudent Study Guide-11 | 1
Chapter 11 May: Existential Psychology9.Discuss research on terror management theory and explain how it relates to Rollo May's concept of anxiety.10.Explain how physical fitness can be a defense against mortality awareness.Summary OutlineI.Overview of May's Existential TheoryExistential psychology began in Europe shortly after World War II and spread to the United States, where Rollo May played a large part in popularizing it. A clinical psychologist by training, May took the view that modern people frequently run away both from making choices and from assuming responsibility.II.Biography of Rollo MayRollo May was born in Ohio in 1909, but grew up in Michigan. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1930, he spent 3 years as an itinerant artist roaming throughout eastern and southern Europe. When he returned to the United States, he entered the Union Theological Seminary, from which he received a Master of Divinity degree. He then served for 2 years as a pastor, but quit in order to pursue a career in psychology. He received a PhD in clinical psychology from Columbia in 1949 at the relatively advanced age Feist, Theories of Personality, 8eStudent Study Guide-11 | 2
Chapter 11 May: Existential Psychologyof 40. During his professional career, he served as lecturer or visiting professor at a number of universities, conducted a private practice as a psychotherapist, and wrote a number of popular books on the human condition. May died in 1994 at age 85.III.Background of ExistentialismSøren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher and theologian, is usually considered to be the founder of modern existentialism. Likelater existentialists, he emphasized a balance between freedom and responsibility. People acquire freedom of action by expanding their self-awareness and by assuming responsibility for their actions. However, this acquisition of freedom and responsibility is achieved at the expense of anxiety and dread. A. What Is Existentialism?The first tenet of existentialism is that existence takes precedence over essence, meaning that process and growth are more important than product and stagnation. Second, existentialists oppose the artificial split between subject and object. Third, they stress people's search for meaning in their lives. Fourth, they insist that each of us is responsible for who we are and what we will become.