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Here are case studies in which myths have helped Dr. May's patients make sense out of an often senseless world.
It happens almost daily in a therapist's office. A patient, recalling a person, an event, an emotion, quite unexpectedly supplies a link from a life in the present to one of the durable myths of our culture. In this moment, the myth becomes a mirror, revealing to the patient the source of disturbance and pain in a pattern of behavior that often stretches a year or longer. The healing process begins. The myth, "eternity breaking into time" in Rollo Mays's words, becomes the focal point of recovery.
Through tracing myths – whether from classical Greece and Dante's Middle Ages, European legend (Faust and the prototype of Sleeping Beauty), or contemporary American life (Jay Gatsby) -- and relating them to the dreams and associations he encounters in his own practice, Dr. May provides meaning and structure for all who seek direction in a morally confusing world.
In this, perhaps the finest achievement of a great therapist, Rollo May writes with "the grace, wit, and style: for which he recently received the Gold Medal of the American Psychological Society.