Meaning of anxiety - PDF by Rollo May

Meaning of anxiety 

Meaning of anxiety
Meaning of anxiety

This book is the result of several years of exploration, research, and thought on one of the most urgent problems of our day. Clinical experience has proved to psychologists and psychiatrists generally that the central problem in psychotherapy is the nature of anxiety. 

To the extent that we have been able to solve that problem, we have made a beginning in understanding the causes of integration and disintegration of personality. But if anxiety were merely a phenomenon of maladjustment, it might well be consigned to the consulting room and the clinic and this book to the professional library. 

The evidence is overwhelming, however, that men and women of today live in an "age of anxiety." If one penetrates below the surface of political, economic, business, professional, or domestic crises to discover their psychological causes, or if one seeks to understand modern art or poetry or philosophy or religion, one runs athwart the problem of anxiety at almost every turn. 

There is reason to believe that the ordinary stresses and strains of life in the changing world of today are such that few if any escape the need to confront anxiety and to deal with it in some manner. For the past hundred years, for reasons which will appear in the following chapters, psychologists, philosophers, social historians, and other students of humanity have been increasingly preoccupied with this nameless and formless uneasiness that has dug the footsteps of modern man. 

Yet in all that time, to the present writer's knowledge, only two attempts have been made in book form — one essay by Kierkegaard and one by Freud — to present an objective picture of anxiety and to indicate constructive methods of dealing with it. This study seeks to bring together in one volume the theories of anxiety offered by modern explorers in different areas of our culture, to discover the common elements in these theories, and to formulate these concepts so that we shall have some common ground for further inquiry. If the synthesis of the anxiety theory presented here serves the purpose of producing some coherence and order in this field, a good part of the writer's goal will have been achieved. It is of course clear that anxiety is not merely an abstract theoretical concept, any more than swimming is to a person whose boat has capsized a mile from shore. 

A discussion of anxiety that was not geared to immediate human problems would not be worth either writing or reading. Hence the theoretical synthesis has been tested by investigation of actual anxiety situations and selected case studies to discover what concrete evidence there may be to support the author's conclusions as to what anxiety means and what purpose it serves in human experience. In order to keep this study within manageable limits, the author has restricted its scope to the observations of men who are our contemporaries in all important respects, and even within these limits only the most significant figures have been treated extensively. 

These are men who represent Western civilization as we experience it, whether they are philosophers like Kierkegaard, psychotherapists like Freud, novelists, poets, economists, social historians, or others with keen insight into human problems. 

These restrictions in time and space serve to bring the problem of anxiety into sharp focus, but they should not be taken to imply that anxiety is exclusively a modern problem or solely a Western one. The writer hopes that this book will stimulate similar surveys in other parts of the field. Because of the vital general interest in the subject of anxiety, the author has stated his finding's so that they will be clear not only to professional readers but also to students of psychology and psychiatry, to social scientists, and to general readers seeking a psychological understanding of modern problems. 

The book is in fact pertinent to the concerns of any intelligent citizen who feels on his own pulse the tensions and anxiety-creating conflicts of our day and who has asked himself what the meaning and causes of this anxiety may be and how the anxiety can be dealt with.

Some contents :

1 Introduction 3
The centrality of the Problem of Anxiety in Our Day ... 3
Purpose of This Study 16
2 Philosophical Predecessors to Modern Theories of Anxiety 1'
Spinoza: Reason Overcoming Fear 22
Pascal: Anxiety and the Insufficiency of Reason ... 25
Kkrktgaard Problem of Anxiety in the Nineteenth Century . . 27
3 Anxiety Interpreted Biologically 46
The Startle Pattern 46
Goldstein: Anxiety as the Catastrophic Reaction ... 48
Neurological and Physiological Aspects of Anxiety ... 57
Psychosomatic Aspects of Anxiety 67
4 Anxiety Interpreted Psychologically 87
The Experimental Study of Children's Fears .... 87
The Problem of Experimental Study of Anxiety ... 96
Mowrer: Anxiety and Learning Theory 102
Freud's Evolving Theories of Anxiety 112
Rank: Anxiety and Individuation 128
Adler: Anxiety and Inferiority Feelings 131
Jung: Anxiety and the Threat of the Irrational . . . . 136
Horney: Anxiety and Conflicting Personality Trends . . 138
Sullivan: Anxiety as Apprehension of Disapproval in Interpersonal Relations 14

the book details :
  • Author: Rollo May 
  • Publication date: 1950
  • Company: New York,: Ronald Press Co

  • Download 12.7 MB
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