James Bugental

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James Bugental
James Frederick Thomas Bugental

December 25, 1915 (1915-12-25)
DiedSeptember 17, 2008(2008-09-17) (aged 92)
Era20th century
RegionExistential-Humanistic Psychology
SchoolExistential-humanistic therapy
Notable ideas
Postulates of humanistic psychology
Bugental with wife Elizabeth

James Frederick Thomas Bugental[1] (December 25, 1915 – September 17, 2008) was one of the predominant theorists and advocates of the Existential-humanistic therapy movement. He was a therapist, teacher and writer for over 50 years. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University, was named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 1955, and was the first recipient of the APA's Division of Humanistic Psychology's Rollo May Award. He held leadership positions in a number of professional organizations, including president of the California State Psychological Association.


In "The Search for Authenticity" (1965), Bugental summarized the postulates of humanistic psychology, often quoted by other theorists:

  • Human beings cannot be reduced to components.
  • Human beings have in them a uniquely human context.
  • Human consciousness includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people.
  • Human beings have choices and responsibilities.
  • Human beings are intentional, they seek meaning, value and creativity.


  • "The Search for Authenticity" (1965)
  • "The Search for Existential Identity" (1976)
  • "Psychotherapy and Process" (1978)
  • "Intimate Journeys: Stories from Life-Changing Therapy" (1990)
  • "The Art of the Psychotherapist" (1992)
  • "Psychotherapy Isn't What You Think" (1999)


  1. ^ Stefan E. Schulenberg, Approaching Terra Incognita with James F. T. Bugental: An Interview and an Overview of Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy (2003), 33, 4, pp. 273-285.

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