May, Rollo

May, Rollo,

1909–94, American psychologist, b. Ada, Ohio. Previously a theological student and Congregational minister, May received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia Univ. in 1949, and introduced to American psychology the views of the European existentialists. A pioneer of the humanistic school of psychology, his work focused on the positive aspects of human potential and on the will of individuals toward self-fulfillment. May's writings include Love and Will (1969, repr. 1981) and The Courage to Create (1975).

May, Rollo (Reese)

(1909–94) psychoanalyst; born in Ada, Ohio. He studied psychology at Columbia University, theology under Paul Tillich, and psychoanalysis with Erich Fromm. He taught at various universities throughout his career, but starting in 1958 was most regularly affiliated with the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry in New York City. Influenced by Tillich's book The Courage to Be (1952), an introduction to European existentialism, he became a pioneer of humanistic psychology with the publication of Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology (with E. Angell and H. F. Ellenberger, 1958). In contrast to cognitive psychology, he emphasized individual values and uniqueness in the practice of psychotherapy. With such books as Psychology and the Human Dilemma (1967), Love and Will (1969), and Freedom and Destiny (1981), he reached a broad public and found himself frequently quoted and honored in his later years.