For instance, the people who routinely get themselves screened for being a carrier for Tay-Sachs disease are a demographic who have an extremely strong historical reason to be worried about Nazi-style dysgenics, and yet, eugenics is exactly what they are doing whenever a couple of them, on learning that they are both carriers, decide to refrain from having children together, or break off their relationship and seek other, non-carrier partners.
Rollo May Rollo May April 21, - October 22, was the best known American existential psychologist and has The existence of add and adhd essay been referred to as "the father of existential psychotherapy. Rollo May The following has been adapted from the Mythosandlogos: Rollo May and Wikipedia: There is no doubt that Rollo May is one of the most important figures in existential psychology, and, without question, one of the most important American existential psychologists in the history of the discipline.
May experienced a difficult childhood, with his parents divorcing and his sister suffering a mental breakdown. His first teaching position was at an American college in Greece where he taught English.
While in Greece, May would often travel to Vienna to attend the seminars of Alfred Adler, and, while there, he was called to study theology and move back to the States.
He received a bachelor of divinity degree in at the Union Theological Seminary, after which he practiced for two years as a Congregationalist minister. Psychology, however, was the supreme calling for May, and so he resigned from the ministry and began his studies in psychology at Columbia University in New York, New York.
While working on his doctorate, he contracted tuberculosis, a life-threatening disease, and, out of this traumatic experience, May developed a new fondness for existential philosophy, which matched his belief that his struggle against death, even more than medical care, determined his fate in surviving the disease.
InMay completed his doctorate in psychology. His career in psychology included a position on the faculty of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychoanalysis and a position as lecturer at the New School for Social Research, as well as being a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other universities.
May can be credited with being the editor, along with Ernest Angel and Henri F. Ellenberger, of the first American book on existential psychology: Existence, published inwhich highly influenced the emergence of American humanistic psychology i.
This collection of essays introduced American readers to translations of work by existential-phenomenological psychologists such as Eugene Minkowski, Ludwig Binswanger, Erwin Straus and Roland Kuhn, and included essays by Werner M.
Mendel and Joseph Lyons, as well as the editors. In "The Origins and Significance of the Existential Movement in Psychology," May urges that a psychologist, in order to do justice to the human being who is his patient, must participate in the world of the client, and, with this basic motivation, May persuasively argues that an existential psychology is best equipped to help the clinician to do so without doing violence to the client.
May, for example, asserts that an existential approach to psychology refuses to force a client to conform to a pre-articulated theoretical system and, further, does not simply fall back on using "techniques" as a defense against fully engaging with the client in psychotherapy.
Further, May warns that existential psychotherapy is not simply another splinter of the Freudian tradition in two respects: May notes that, out of mainstream psychotherapy, there are several resistances to the existential approach. For one, May argues that many psychotherapists at the time had assumed that, with or or Sigmund Freud.
But, more challenging felt May was the resistance from mainstream psychology which held that existential analysis "is an encroachment of philosophy into psychiatry, and does not have much to do with science". Incidentally, this latter argument is still today a major resistance of mainstream psychology toward existential approaches to psychology.
In addressing this second resistance, May writes that "the existential movement in psychiatry and psychology arose precisely out of a passion to be not less but more empirical. May would likely have been better served by saying that existential psychology seeks to be more "concrete," a term which holds less intellectual baggage--such as logical positivist assumptions--than the term "empirical.
That is, May points out the fact that a science which claims that it is not needful of philosophy is a science which is blind to its own philosophical presuppositions, which is obviously a danger and, often, covertly motivated by oppressive politics as the critical theorists are so good at pointing out.
All he does, then, is mirror uncritically the particular parochial doctrines of his own limited culture. The result in our day is that science gets identified with methods of isolating factors and observing them from an allegedly detached base--a particular method which arose out of the split between subject and object made in the 17th century in Western culture and then developed into its special compartmentalized from the late 19th and 20th centuries.
This also leads us to what May points out as a third resistance from mainstream psychology: American psychologists, like the rest of our culture, has a history of impulsivity which is always ready to jump in and do before stopping and thinking about the consequences.
Yet, simple reflection would show that technique for the sake of technique ultimately undermines even technique, if the foundations of such techniques are not carefully articulately and reflected upon. Resistances aside, what then is existentialism for May and what does it have to contribute to psychology?
Further, as May points out, existentialism cannot be characterized either as materialist or idealist since existentialism also undercuts the old dilemma of materialism versus idealism, the very product of the subject-object dichotomy.
May then locates the precursors of 20th century existentialist thought in Pascal, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
Existentialism, in this sense, grows out of a protest against the rationalism and idealism which would reduce the human being to a subject, a mere thinking being, on the one hand, and which reduces the human being to an object to be calculated and controlled, on the other.
Tracing the root of "existence" as ex-sistere--literally, to stand out, to emerge--May shows how existentialism aims to portray "the human being not as a collection of static substances or mechanisms or patterns but rather as emerging and becoming, that is to say, as existing".
With this starting place, May argues, existentialism provides psychology with the much-needed ability to bridge the chasm in the sciences between what is abstractly true and what is existentially real for living persons.
Interestingly, May also shows how there are striking similarities between Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophies in the East and existentialist philosophy in the West. See my Perennial Philosophy page. Both existentialism and psychoanalysis, writes May, are concerned with the historical context of the human being rather than a human subject detached from the world.
Further, both existentialism and psychoanalysis are preoccupied with the impact of the social context on the human being in the 20th century. Specifically, May shows how both psychoanalysis and existentialism catch site of the "breaking up of personality into fragments" in the latter half of the 19th century, the result of the rise of industrialization which has had a "depersonalizing and dehumanizing effect upon man in his relation to others and himself".
Drawing from the work of Max Scheler, May describes how this fragmentation also shows itself in the fragmentation of the human sciences--scientific, philosophical and theological anthropology--which have no clear and consistent idea of human beings, know nothing of each other, and, as such, remain confused and obscure.
Shadow of the Interdisciplinary.Rollo May (April 21, - October 22, ) was the best known American existential psychologist and has often been referred to as "the father of existential psychotherapy." Although he is often associated with humanistic psychology, he differs from other humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow or Carl Rogers in showing a sharper awareness of the tragic dimensions of human existence.
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