individuals are subject to experiences and self-reflection (May, 2000). Since experiences are subjective to the individual, they should be interpreted as such. Basic concepts of existential psychology focus on freedom, isolation, ultimate concerns, meaning, and death (May, 2000). Existential psychology utilizes a philosophy emphasis to encompass literature from European influences. The “meta-ontically” discipline finds similarities and differences within existential and the European Humanistic psychology. Rollo May’s research crowned him father of existentialism in America, however, he learned much of his core material from Heidegger and Binswanger (Craig, 2008). May was an existential-phenomenologist that used humanistic psychology to enhance his views on the existentialist mind frame. He was concerned about what makes humans unique individuals. He believed the opposite of his peers, and proposed that God was able to love people individually (May, 1969). Love was a big focus of his research. May was impartial to things like death because he believed they could hinder growth in those living. May focused on qualities that made us human and encouraged personal choices. As the father of existential psychology, May stressed the need of incorporating cultural and social contexts into the self-actualization process to understand the individual. Much of his existential concept claims people are born with the capability of doing inappropriate as well as appropriate actions. It further claims that the actions they choose are the ones that describe them best. Synthesis Behaviorism undoubtedly emerged as the child of Watson. He was interested in changing the world during a volatile time in the United States. Though his predecessors were more interested in studying the unconscious mind, Watson focused on behaviors. He believed no reference to the conscious or unconscious mind was necessary to predict humans. Other well-
Major Psychological Movements 9 known sciences (such as physics and chemistry) did not consider inner workings of the mind in research. Across the other side of the world, Freud was perfecting his research with the help of his clients. His treatment at a Vienna hospital made him well known to the public and colleagues. Psychoanalysis as we know it focused on sexuality, aggression, early infancy, dreams, myths, literature and anthropology (Ardila, 1992). Freud’s work was often criticized, but eventually recognized. Behaviorism and psychoanalysis’ research centered on observations, though psychoanalysis did add unconscious thought into the scientific realm. Humanistic psychology dealt with understandings of human experience that psychoanalysis and behaviorism didn’t examine. Maslow was more interested in the highest levels of human achievement and potential, like self-actualization. Existential psychology gained notary in the United States with the help of Rollo May. Existential psychology used humanistic framework to heighten their movement and is sometimes also referred to as humanistic-existential psychology or existential-humanistic psychology (Hoffman, 2012). Transpersonal psychology shared similar research qualities as
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