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Rollo May Award, 2016 American Psychological Convention, Denver CO
Scott Churchill, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, Univeristy of Dallas
Editor-in-Chief, The Humanistic Psychologist
APA Fellow, Divisions 1, 5, 24, 32, and 56
APA Council of Representatives

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Ed Mendelowitz to you as recipient of the 2016 Rollo May Award.

For over thirty years Ed Mendelowitz has been a pioneer and a leader in the field of existential psychotherapy, working for the most part in his private practices in New Hampshire and Massachussetts. After serving as Rollo May’s teaching assistant in 1982, he was given extensive training in psychotherapy by Rollo May himself, and has supplemented his contributions in clinical work with his teaching and supervisory work in a number of contexts, from New Hampshire and Boston to San Francisco and the University of the Rockies.

He has made countless presentations on existential psychology on both coasts as well as in Italy and China. He has served faithfully on the Board of Editors for both the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and The Humanistic Psychologist. I think I speak for myself as well as for the JHP editors-in-chief when I say that Ed puts his heart and soul into the beautifully composed letters he writes to the authors whose work he tirelessly reviews.

In 2008, Ed published his book Ethics and Lao-tzu: Intimations of Character through the University of the Rockies Press, and received these comments from folks familiar to us all:

from Dave Elkins:

“Reading this book was a journey that took me into the depths of my soul, reminding me of things I have so often forgotten or abandoned. … Within these pages, I lingered not only with Lao-Tzu but also with Camus, Beckett, Coltrane, Blake, Rilke, Rumi, Van Gogh, Buber, William James and many others who know the Tao that dances in silence and in the spaces between. This book, unlike so many others, spoke to my inner life and because of this, I want to me a better man. I suspect it will have a similar effect on others.”

from the late Mark Stern:

“Ed Mendelowitz has produced a contemporary classic, a compelling integration of Eastern and Western wisdom and folklore—voices and dreams that descend and ascend through and from the mind/soul set of a visionary psychotherapy client—and from this model has managed to create a challenging manifesto. Mendelowitz mobilizes and activates a diverse chorale of voices whose earthy wit and spiritual wisdom converge in magnificent splendor . . . I treasure him as one of the vital souls in psychology.”

from Kirk Schneider:

“Ed Mendelowitz is the poet laureate of existential psychology. In Ethics and Lao-Tzu, Mendelowitz lays out an extraordinary vision of ethically informed living. With singular eloquence linked to psychospiritual luminescence, he draws upon such literary and artistic masters as Kafka and Beckett, Coltrane and Dylan, and even his own therapy client to weave a masterwork of guidance for the forlorn.”

From the impression I have developed of Ed from those colleagues who knew both him and Rollo May, I think it safe to say that Rollo would have been pleased to know his friend and devotee had been nominated for the award that bears his name. I have been told by more than one of his followers that before he died, Rollo May expressed skepticism about the fate of his almost one-of-a-kind approach to psychology – that was at once existential, humanistic, literary, philosophical, and deeply cultured.

It is clear that Rollo had expressed a deep appreciation not only for Ed’s dedication to Rollo’s legacy, but for producing a legacy of his own: in his psychotherapeutic work, his teaching, his exquisite writing, his presentations all over the globe – and, perhaps most distinctively, for being one of the vital and gentle souls in the field of existential psychology.

Please join me in celebrating Ed Mendelowitz – our 2016 Recipient for the Rollo May Award.

Part 1, video

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Part 2, video

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Part 3, audio