What is Positive Psychology?
Historically, the study of psychology began with the study of abnormal psychology, i.e. the study of when people struggle with mental illness and how to treat it. Positive psychology, in contrast, is a more recent field of psychology that focusses on people’s strengths and resilience.
In the words of its founder, Martin Seligman, “positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning [that] aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.”
How is Positive Psychology used in therapy?
Positive psychology is a broad field and its influence can be found in a number of psychological approaches. For example, the evidenced-based psychological approach of CBT has positive psychology at its core. Not only does CBT facilitate a more positive approach to perceiving life’s challenges, it also harnesses an individual’s strengths, and resources to change. Sessions are aimed at helping individuals to create and implement their own solutions, and in so doing the person moves away from the problem and towards a more positive outcome.
Similarly, positive psychology has influenced the development and rise of mindfulness practices. The habit of being grateful, slowing down and paying attention to the present are key mindfulness based practices that are frequently used.
Is Positive Psychology simply being happy?
Positive psychology isn’t simply about the pursuit of happiness. Happiness isn’t something external to chase. True happiness resides within. Positive psychology provides individuals with strategies to appreciate the strengths they have, and thereby can facilitate happiness.
Who can benefit from Positive Psychology?
Everyone can use positive psychology. Getting into the habit of paying attention to our strengths, being proud of what we have achieved despite adversity and being grateful daily are ways in which people can implement positive psychology immediately. Sometimes people need a little assistance in helping them think and act more positively. Our team of counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists can happily assist.