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Rollo Reece May (1909–1994), “father” of existential psychotherapy and a founder of the humanistic movement or third force in psychology, was one of the mid- to late 20th century’s leading and most influential psychologists. May was no stranger to the inevitable existential crises and anxiety to which, as he asserted, all human beings are subject, and his psychology sprang partly from his own personal history and experience.

May was born in Ada, Ohio, in 1909. Named by his mother after a fictional character from children’s books, May was the eldest son of six siblings. His older sister suffered from schizophrenia, and with his father not home much, May felt responsible for taking care of her, his emotionally unstable mother, and his younger brothers. His parents’ tumultuous ...

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