The branch of positive psychology is often called the third force of psychology. Unlike two traditional models of psychology that focuses more on disease model and symptoms of mental illnesses and emotional disturbances, positive psychology believes in complete utilization of an individual’s potential and also purports that individual’s fundamental aim in life is to attain self actualization. Traits, thought patterns, behaviors, and experiences that are constructive might help improve the quality of a person’s everyday life. Optimism, hopefulness, spirituality, happiness, creativity, justice, perseverance, and the practice of free will ensure self actualization. It involves an exploration of one’s strengths, despite one’s weaknesses. The aim of positive psychology is not only to replace those traditional forms of therapy that center on negative experiences, but to expand and provide more balance to the therapeutic process.
What to expect?
Positive psychology is aptly and correctly referred to as “the science of happiness.” The basic problem addressed by positive psychotherapy is how can reality and happiness be managed simultaneously, and make the best possible utilization of one’s resources. In the process of acknowledging the problems of the world and of the individual, positive psychologists believe that one can lead life that is productive, satisfying and productive. The aim of positive psychotherapy is to minimize negativity in one’s thinking and behavior, to help in developing a more optimistic attitude which will enhance, rather than disrupt one’s social, professional, and spiritual life.
How does it work?
To a large extent, the march toward positive psychology began back in the 1950s and ’60s, with the unveiling of a humanistic approach to therapy, Abraham Maslow coined the term positive psychology. Then onwards, psychologists started realizing that focusing only at the damage that have been done to an individual was not enough helpful in preventing the mental health problems which often begin in childhood. In the late 1990s, psychologist.
Martin Seligman developed a view that, for the sake of prevention of mental distress, researchers and practitioners had to start working with human strengths and virtues, and not just weaknesses, and determine how to instill positive traits in younger people so that the risk of developing the unhealthy emotions can be insulated from its manifestation through psychological distress or disorders.
When is it used?
The disease model of psychology which have undermine the human potential of self utilization and always paid more attention toward the pathological model. This model of therapy can be applied to a y individual who aims at complete utilization of one’s potential. This can include children and adults in educational settings and mental health facilities, as well as in private counseling practices. The use of positive psychology can also be done while dealing with disease model, but in this case the therapy is not terminated at the removal of symptoms but only terminates when well being of the client is ensured.
Role of a Positive Psychology:
The approach of positive psychology, proposed by Maslow, can be inscribed into all levels of counseling, coaching, and psychotherapy. The therapist provides a vision to the individual regarding the client’s potential to enhance well being and better living of the individual, and also ensures the individual is on the path of seeking self actualization.
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Seligman MEP and Csikzentmihalyi M. Positive Psychology. An Introduction. American Psychologist. 2000. 55(1):5-14.
Seligman MEP, Steen TA, Park N, Peterson C. Positive Psychology Progress, Empirical Validation of Interventions. Positive Psychology Progress. 2005;42:874-884.