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Rollo May

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During this period May decided that he wanted to study theology and moved back to the United States to attend school at the Union Theological Seminary. in 1938 he received his bachelor of divinity degree and went on to work as a minister for two years (Reeves 1977).One of the turning points in May’s life was when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent three years living in a sanatorium. During this period he faced death and spent long hours alone, in contemplation. he became particularly interested in existentialist philosophy, reading such seminal writers as Soren Kierkegaard, who had a profound influence on his personal philosophy and intellectual development (Reeves 1977). It wasn’t long before May became wary of his career as a Congregationalist minister, and as a result, he quit his job and began to study psychoanalysis at the White institute (Reeves 1977). It was here that he met such seminal thinkers as Harry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm. Later May would enroll at Teacher’s College, Columbia University to pursue his doctorate in psychology (Reeves 1977). His time spent as a minister greatly influenced his intellectual pursuits at Columbia, as his friendship with existentialist theologian Paul Tillich soon led to his further pursuit of humanist philosophies, and ultimately existential psychology. In 1949 May received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia. May later went on to become a teacher at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychoanalysis (Reeves 1977). May also worked as a lecturer at the New School for Social Research and was an itinerant professor at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Reeves 1977). May also wrote an extensive amount of books on psychology and the human experience, perhaps the most famous of which are Love and Will and the Meaning of Anxiety. May died in October 1994 at Tiburon in San Fransisco.