May's Books
Rollo Reece May had many books published during his life. From first to last here are May’s books and a short description of what they are about.

  • The Art of Counselling (1939)


May's first book, t his book is used by May to talk about his experience counselling. Some of the topics he looks at are empathy, religion, personality problems and mental health. May also gives his perspective on these and also discusses how to handle those particular types of issues should a counsellor encounter them (May, 1965). To read some excerpts click here
  • The Springs of Creative Living: A Study of Human Nature and God (1940)

Here May presents a personality theory influenced by critiquing the work of other, including Freud and Adler claiming that personality is deeper than they presented it as. This is also where May introduces his own meaning for different terms such as libido from Freudian Psychology. May then goes on to talk about the theoretical such as god and humanity (May, 1940).
  • The Meaning of Anxiety (1950)

This book explores anxiety and how it can affect mental health. May also discusses how he believes that experiencing anxiety can aid development and how it dealing with it appropriately can lead to having a healthy personality. For more see the page Perspective on Anxiety (May, 1950). To read a full digitized copy, click here
See also: Perspective on Anxiety
  • Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

In this book May talks about his experience with his patients and the reoccurring problems they had in common such as loneliness and emptiness. May looks deeper into this and discusses how humans have an innate need for a sense of value and also how life can often present an overwhelming sense of anxiety. As the cover suggests, May also gives signposts on how to act during these periods. (May, 1953)
  • Existence (1958)

Not entirely written by May but his part of this book examines where the roots of Existential Psychology may have begun and why Existential Psychology is important in understanding a gap that lies in human beings. He also talks about the Existential Psychotherapy and the contributions it has made. (May, Ernest, Ellenberger & Aronson, 1958)
  • Psychology and the Human Dilemma (1967)

May uses this book to reflect on a lot of both his ideas so far and those of other thinkers and also mentions some contemporary ideas despite the book’s publication date. May also expands on some of his previous perspectives such as anxiety and people’s feelings of insignificance (May, 1967).
  • Love and Will (1969)

One of May’s most influential books. He talks about his perspective on love and the Daimonic; how is part of nature and not the superego. May also discusses how love and sex are in conflict with each other and how they are two different things. May also discusses depression and creativity towards the end. Some of the views in this book are the ones that May is best known for (May, 1967).
See also: Perspective on Love
  • Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence (1972)

May uses this book to start some new ideas and also define words according to his way of thinking; such as power and physical courage and how power holds the potential for both human goodness and human evil. Another idea May explores is civilisation stemming out of rebellion (May, 1972).
  • Paulus: Reminiscence of a Friendship (1973)

May identified Paul Tillich as one of his biggest influences and in this book may episodically recalls Tillich’s life trying to focus just on the key moments over the eight chapters, taking a psychoanalytic approach to the tale (May, 1973)
  • The Courage to Create (1975)

Listening to our ideas and helping form the structure of our world is what our creative courage can come from; this is the main direction of May in this book. May encourages that people break the pattern in their life and face their fears to reach their full potential (May, 1975). Click here to read the full text online.
  • Freedom and Destiny (1981)

As the title suggests, May focuses on the area of Freedom and Destiny in this book. He examines what freedom might offer and also, comparatively, how destiny is imposing limitations on us, but also how the two have an interdependence. May draws on artists and poets and others to invoke what he is saying (May, 1981). Click to access Freedom and Destiny
  • The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology (1983)

May draws on others perspectives, including Freud’s, to go into more detail on existential psychotherapy. Another topic May examines is how Psychoanalyses and Existentialism may have come from similar areas of thinking. There is attention paid to searching for stability with strong feelings of anxiety (May, 1983).
  • My Quest for Beauty (1985)

Serving as a type of memoir, May discusses his own opinions the power of beauty. He also states his belief that beauty must be both understood and also valued in the world (May, 1985).
  • The Cry for Myth (1991)

Argued in this book is Mays belief that humans can use myths to help them make sense of their lives, based on cases studies May uses from his patients. May discusses how this could be particularly useful to those who need direction in a confusing world (May, 1991).
  • The Psychology of Existence (1995)

Two days before May’s death he edited an advanced copy of this book. It was co-authored by Kirk Schneider and was intended to bring some life back into Existential Psychology. Like some previous books this talks of existential psychotherapy and targets scholars (May & Schneider, 1995).