James Bugental was born on December 25, 1915 in Indiana. Bugental attended Western State Teacher's College, receiving his Master's degree from George Peabody College in Nashville. A year in the Army under psychologist Gray Engleton introduced Bugental to the profession. Bugental accepted a position in the Counseling Center at Georgia Institute of Technology for a short time, before moving to attend the Ohio State University to work with Carl Rogers. Rogers left the department when Bugental entered, and he worked under George Kelly and Victor Raimey instead, completing the PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1948. Upon completion of his degree, Bugental accepted a position at UCLA, were he taught until 1955.
Bugental also started a private practice on the side, called Psychological Services Association with Al Lasco and Glen Holland. Bugental eventually left UCLA to become a full time private practice psychotherapist. He co-founded the Los Angeles Society of Clinical Psychologists in Private Practice.
Bugental was known for his influential written works throughout his career. Notable works include 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), and Psychotherapy Isn't What You Think (1999). Bugental died on September 17, 2008.
From the guide to the James F.T. Bugental papers, 1947-1984, (Center for the History of Psychology)