Existential psychotherapy is based on the model of human nature and experience. It focuses on concepts that are universally applicable to human existence including death, freedom, responsibility, and the meaning of life. The following presentation was given by Dr. Rollo May at the 1985 Evolution of Psychotherapy conference. You can find the full recording of this presentation and many other historical recordings in our Evolution of Psychotherapy Archives.
Evolution of Psychotherapy 1985 – Invited Address 12 Existential Therapy and the Future by Rollo May, PhD
Text transcript below…
Pictured: Rollo R. May, PhD and Virginia Satir
Address by Rollo May
Mr. Chairman, I’m sorry to say I cannot speak to you with those lights in my eyes. I cannot speak to anybody I cannot see. So I’m going to put on a hat I borrowed from a friend. And I hope, [APPLAUSE] I hope it doesn’t look too ridiculous. But at least that makes it possible for us to have communication rather than recitation. Now, if you want to learn about existential psychotherapy, read Irving Yalom’s book called Existential Psychotherapy, or my “Discovery of Being”, because I’m not going to try to do a survey of what existentialism is this morning. But I do want to say some things that I think are tremendously important to me, and I hope for you as well. When Karl Menninger was visiting at our house recently, I asked him how he, since he was the name practically synonymous with the mental health movement for some 50 years, how he would define therapy. And he answered, people have been talking to each other for 1000s of years. The question is, how did it become worth $60 an hour.