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A collection of quotes by Rollo May on psychotherapy, philosophy, theology, life, solitude, introspection, relationships, purpose, strength, myth and inspiration.

44 Notable Quotes By Rollo May, The Father Of American Existential Psychotherapy

Quick Facts

Famous As
Psychologist, Psychotherapist

Born On

Died On

Born In
Ada

Founder / Co Founder
Saybrook Graduate School

Died At Age

The legendary American psychologist Rollo May was also known as the Father of American Existential Psychotherapy’. In the early days of his career, he worked as an English teacher in Greece and attended seminars conducted by the famous psychoanalyst Alfred Adler during his holidays. These seminars encouraged him to study theology and he completed his Bachelors in Divinity. On his return to the U.S he was offered the position of a Congregationalist minister. He resigned from his position in a couple of years to study psychology and was the first student to be awarded a Ph.D. in clinical psychology by the University of Columbia. He further went on to teach in various top schools of the country and wrote many books on psychology. He was awarded for some books like ‘Love and Will’ which brought him the ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson Award’ for humane scholarship. His most acclaimed book was ‘Existence’ which introduced the concept of existential psychology. He was awarded the ‘American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award’ for ‘Lifetime Contributions to Professional Psychology’. These quotes by Rollo May on psychology, theology and philosophy will definitely answer some of your riddles about life.

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way.

- Rollo May

Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don't find themselves at all.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.

- Rollo May

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it's conformity.

- Rollo May

Every human being must have a point at which he stands against the culture, where he says, this is me and the damned world can go to hell.

- Rollo May

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but in spite of doubt. (p. 21)

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.

- Rollo May

Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it.

- The Cry for Myth, Rollo May

A myth is a way of making sense in a senseless world. Myths are narrative patterns that give significance to our existence.

- Rollo May

Recall how often in human history the saint and the rebel have be the same person. (p. 35)

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

One must have at least a readiness to love the other person, broadly speaking, if one is to be able to understand him.

- Existence, Rollo May

The poet, like the lover, is a menace on the assembly line.

- Love and Will, Rollo May

What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?

- Rollo May

It is interesting to note how many of the great scientific discoveries begin as myths.

- The Cry for Myth, Rollo May

One of the few blessings of living in an age of anxiety is that we are forced to become aware of ourselves.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

It is highly significant and indeed almost a rule, that moral courage has its source in such identification through one's own sensitivity with suffering of one's fellow human beings." (p. 16-17)

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

When we are dealing with human beings, no truth has reality by itself; it is always dependent upon the reality of the immediate relationship.

- Existence, Rollo May

Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values like love o fidelity. It is the foundations that underlies and gives reality to all other virtue and personal values. (p. 13)

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

Artistic symbols and myths speak out of the primordial, preconscious realm of the mind which is powerful and chaotic. Both symbol and myth are ways of bringing order and form into this chaos.

- My Quest for Beauty, Rollo May

It is dangerous to know, but it is more dangerous not to know.

- Love and Will, Rollo May

Poets may be delightful creatures in the meadow or the garret, but they are menaces on the assembly line.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." -Rollo May

- Rollo May

There can be no stronger proof of the impoverishment of our contemporary culture than the popular - though profoundly mistaken - definition of myth as falsehood.

- Rollo May

There is no meaningful "yes" unless the individual could also have said "no.

- Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence, Rollo May

Depression is the inability to construct a future.

- Love and Will, Rollo May

Our powerful hunger for myth is a hunger for community. The person without a myth is a person without a home...To be a member of one's community is to share in its myths...

- Rollo May

I became a psychotherapist because that's where people will unburden themselves, where they will show what is in their hearts.

- Rollo May

One central need in life is to fulfill its own potential.

- Rollo May

Finding the center of strenghth within ourselves is in the long run best contribution we can do to our fellow man

- Rollo May

They showed considerable anxiety because they were in the process of loving beauty.

- Rollo May

I’m just a collection of mirrors, reflecting what everyone else expects of me.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

In other words, the most common problem now is not social taboos on sexual activity or guilt feeling about sex in itself, but the fact that sex for so many people is an empty, mechanical and vacuous experience.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

Consciousness is the awareness that emerges out of the dialectical tension between possibilities and limitations.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.

- Rollo May

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.

- Rollo May

The battle with the gods thus hinges on our own mortality! Creativity is a yearning for immortality.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

Life is not a matter for simple optimism--for there is evil; nor for mere pessimism--for there is good. The possibility for good in the face of evil is what gives life tragic meaning.

- The Art of Counseling, Rollo May

Along with the loss of the sense of self has gone a loss of our language for communicating deeply personal meanings to each other.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

The receptivity of the artist must never be confused with passivity.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

The “stuffed men” are bound to become more lonely no matter how much they “lean together”; for hollow people do not have a base from which to learn to love.

- Man's Search for Himself, Rollo May

Suppose the apprehension of beauty is itself a way to truth? Suppose that “elegance”—as the word is used by physicists to describe their discoveries—is a key to ultimate reality?

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

By the creative act, however, we are able to reach beyond our own death. This is why creativity is so important and why we need to confront the problem of the relationship between creativity and death.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

Whereas moral courage is the righting of wrongs, creative courage, in contrast, is the discovering of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.

- The Courage to Create, Rollo May

Terapinin amacı uyumdur demek, teraistin, toplumun psişik polisi olması demektir; bu role mesela ben şiddetle karşı ıkıyorum

- Rollo May