Chapter 11- May: Existential Psychology Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 11- May: Existential Psychology Deck (39)
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Soren Kierkegaard, the ______ philosopher and theologian, is usually considered to be the founder of modern existentialism. He emphasized a balance between freedom and responsibility. People acquire freedom of action by expanding their self-awareness and by assuming responsibility for their actions. However, this acquisition of freedom and responsibility is achieved at the expense of ______ and dread.

Danish, anxiety


Five common elements are found among existential thinkers:

1) existence takes precedence over essence, meaning that process and growth are more important than product and stagnation
2) oppose the artificial split between subject and object
3) they stress people's search for meaning in their lives
4) they insist that each of us is responsible for who we are and what we will become
5) take an anti-theoretical a position, believing that series tend to objectify people


According to May, The basic unity of person and environment is expressed in the German word ______ meaning to exist there and is generally written as:

Dasein, being-in-the-world


According to Mae, alienation is the illness of our time, and it manifests itself in three areas:

1) separation from nature
2) lack of meaningful interpersonal relations
3) alienation from one's authentic self


According to May, this is the environment around us, the world of objects and things that would exist even if people had no awareness. Includes biological drives, such as hunger and sleep, and such natural phenomena as birth and death



According to Mae, this is our relations with other people



According to Mae, this is our relationship with our self. Means to be aware of oneself as a human being and to grasp who we are as we relate to the world of things into the world of people



According to Mae, people are both aware of themselves as living beings and also aware of the possibility of _______ or ________. Death is the most obvious form, which can also be experienced as retreat from one's life

Nonbeing, nothingness


Describe Rollo May's case of Philip

Philip was a successful architect who experienced severe anxiety when his relationship with Nicole took a puzzling turn. Uncertain of his future and suffering from low self-esteem, Philip went into therapy and eventually was able to understand that his difficulties with women we're related to his early experiences with A mother who is unpredictable and an older sister who suffered from severe mental disorders. He began to recover only after he accepted that his need to take care of unpredictable Nicole was merely part of his personal history with unstable women


May believed that people experience this when they become aware that their existence or some value identified with it might be destroyed. The subjective state of the individual's becoming aware that his or her existence can be destroyed, that he can become nothing

Anxiety. The acquisition of freedom inevitably leads to anxiety, which can be either pleasurable and constructive or painful and destructive


According to Mae, this is the type of anxiety which is proportionate to the threat, does not involve repression, and can be handled on a conscious level

Normal anxiety


According to May, this type of anxiety is a reaction that is disproportionate to the threat and that leads to repression and defensive behaviors. It is felt whenever one's values are transformed into dogma and blocks growth and productive action

Neurotic anxiety


According to Mae, this arises whenever people deny their potentialities, fail to accurately perceive the needs of others, or remain blind to their dependence on the natural world



Both anxiety and guilt are _______, that is they refer to the nature of being and not to feelings arising from specific situations



According to Mae, the structure that gives meaning to experience and allows people to make decisions about the future is called: permits people to overcome the dichotomy between subject and object because it enables them to see that their intentions are a function of both themselves and their environment



According to Mae, this is to recognize the essential humanity of the other person, to have an active regard for that person's development. It is an active process that suggests that things matter



According to Mae, this is a delight in the presence of the other person and an affirming of that person's value and development as much as one's own



According to Mae, this is the capacity to organize one selves so that movement in a certain direction or toward a certain goal may take place. A conscious commitment to action



Mae believed that modern society is suffering from an unhealthy division of ____ and ___. Love has become associated with sensual love or sex, where as will has come to mean a dogged determination or willpower

Love and will


May identified for kinds of love in Western tradition:

Sex, eros , Philia, and agape


According to Mae, this is a biological function that can be satisfied through sexual intercourse or some other release of sexual tension. Americans no longer view it as a natural biological function, but have become preoccupied with it to the point of trivialization



According to Mae, this is a psychological desire that seeks an enduring union with a loved one. It may include sex, but it is built on care and tenderness



According to May, this is an intimate nonsexual friendship between two people, takes time to develop and does not depend on the actions of the other person



According to Mae, this is an altruistic or spiritual love that carries with it the risk of playing God. It is undeserved and unconditional. Esteem for the other, the concern from the others welfare beyond any gain that one can get out of it.



According to May, this comes from an understanding of our destiny, when we recognize that death is a possibility at any moment and when we are willing to experience changes even in the face of not knowing what those changes will bring.



May recognize two forms of freedom:

Freedom of doing-existential freedom
Freedom of being-essential freedom


According to Mae, this is the freedom to act on the choices that one makes

Existential freedom


According to May, this is the design of the universe speaking through the design of each of us. It includes the limitations of our environment and our personal qualities, including our mortality, gender, and genetic predispositions

Destiny. Freedom and destiny constitute a paradox because freedom gains vitality from destiny, and destiny gains significance from freedom


According to Mae, these are conscious and unconscious beliefs systems that provide explanations for personal and social problems. He contended that the people of Western civilizations have an urgent need for them and lacking them to believe in, they have turned to religious cults, drug addiction, and popular culture in a vain effort to find meaning in their lives

Myths. The Oedipus myth has had a powerful effect on our culture because it deals with such common existential crisis as birth, separation from parents, sexual union with one parent and hostility toward the other, independence in one's search for identity, and finally death


Mae saw ______ and ______, not anxiety or depression, as the chief existential disorders of our time. People have become alienated from the natural world, from other people, and from themselves. Psychopathology is a lack of ______ and an inability to fulfill one's _______.

Apathy and emptiness. Connectedness, destiny