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Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology
Seligman introduced positive psychology as "a movement" during his term as president of the APA in 1998. He and Csikszentmihalyi followed up in 2000 with a paper introducing a special issue of the , devoted to positive psychology. In this seminal article, the authors presented positive psychology as a corrective to what they described as the dominant approach of modern psychology: the disease model of human functioning. The authors described three levels of analysis including the subjective (about valued subjective experiences like well–being, contentment, hope, optimism, flow and happiness); the individual level (positive psychological traits like the capacity for love, vocation, courage, perseverance, forgiveness, spirituality, high talent and wisdom) and the group level (civic virtues and institutions that facilitate citizenship, responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance and work ethic). The authors were hostile to the earlier efforts of humanistic psychology and called for the use of rigorous scientific standards in examining the psychology of positive human functioning (although, much of Seligman's recent research has been done using questionnaires distributed and answered through the Internet).
"However, positive psychology does imply that the rest of psychology is negative, although it is understandable that the name may imply that to some people. In fact, the large majority of the gross academic product of psychology is neutral, focusing on neither wellbeing nor distress. Positive psychology grew largely from the recognition of an imbalance in clinical psychology, in which most research does indeed focus on mental illness" (Gable & Haidt, 2005, p. 104).
Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (Recommended)
Slade, M. (2010). Mental illness and well–being: the central importance of positive psychology and recovery approaches. , , 26. doi:10.1186/1472–6963–10–26. A new evidence base is emerging, which focuses on well–being. This makes it possible for health services to orientate around promoting well–being as well as treating illness, and so to make a reality of the long–standing rhetoric that health is more than the absence of illness. The aim of this paper is to support the re–orientation of health services around promoting well–being. Mental health services are used as an example to illustrate the new knowledge skills which will be needed by health professionals.
Simonton, D. K., & Baumeister, R. F. (2005). Positive psychology at the summit [Special issue]. , (2), 99–102. doi:10.1037/1089–26188.8.131.52. Psychology has traditionally placed more emphasis on the negative than positive aspects of human behavior. The positive psychology movement, since its beginnings in 1999, has made major advances toward correcting this imbalance. Research inspired by the movement now spans an impressive range of topics, including many that are absolutely essential to a comprehensive psychological understanding of human nature. The present special issue provides a sampling of some of the best work in the area. All but the first and last articles come from presentations at the Second International Positive Psychology Summit, held in 2003 in Washington, DC. This sample can be supplemented by the chapters that have appeared in several recent anthologies of contemporary research.
Counselling Psychology (PhD) ..
Simonton, D. K. (2000). Cognitive, personal, developmental, and social aspects [Special issue]. , (1), 151–158. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.55.1.151Although many psychologists have expressed an interest in the phenomenon of creativity, psychological research on this topic did not rapidly expand until after J. P. Guilford claimed, in his 1950 APA presidential address, that this topic deserved far more attention than it was then receiving. This article reviews the progress psychologists have made in understanding creativity since Guilford's call to arms. Research progress has taken place on 4 fronts: the cognitive processes involved in the creative act, the distinctive characteristics of the creative person, the development and manifestation of creativity across the individual life span, and the social environments most strongly associated with creative activity. Although some important questions remain unanswered, psychologists now know more than ever before about how individuals achieve this special and significant form of optimal human functioning.
Sheldon, K. M., & King, L. (2001). Why positive psychology is necessary [Special issue]. , (3), 216–217. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.56.3.216. The authors provide a definition of positive psychology and suggest that psychologists should try to cultivate a more appreciative perspective on human nature. Examples are given of a negative bias that seems to pervade much of theoretical psychology, which may limit psychologists' understanding of typical and successful human functioning. Finally, a preview of the articles in the special section is given.
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Our Counselling Psychology programs ..
Seligman, M. E. P., & Peterson, C. (2003). Positive clinical psychology. In L. G. Aspinwall & U. M. Staudinger (Eds.), (pp. 305–317). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/10566–021. This review argues for the development of a Positive Clinical Psychology, which has an integrated and equally weighted focus on both positive and negative functioning in all areas of research and practice. Positive characteristics (such as gratitude, flexibility, and positive emotions) can uniquely predict disorder beyond the predictive power of the presence of negative characteristics, and buffer the impact of negative life events, potentially preventing the development of disorder. Increased study of these characteristics can rapidly expand the knowledge base of clinical psychology and utilize the promising new interventions to treat disorder through promoting the positive. Further, positive and negative characteristics cannot logically be studied or changed in isolation as (a) they interact to predict clinical outcomes, (b) characteristics are neither "positive" or "negative", with outcomes depending on specific situation and concomitant goals and motivations, and (c) positive and negative well–being often exist on the same continuum. Responding to criticisms of the Positive Psychology movement, we do not suggest the study of positive functioning as a separate field of clinical psychology, but rather that clinical psychology itself changes to become a more integrative discipline. An agenda for research and practice is proposed including reconceptualizing well–being, forming stronger collaborations with allied disciplines, rigorously evaluating the new positive interventions, and considering a role for clinical psychologists in promoting well–being as well as treating distress.
Jaspreet Tehara | Counselling Psychologist Doctoral …
Seligman, M. E. P., Rashid, T., & Parks, A. C. (2006). Positive psychotherapy. , (8), 774–88. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.61.8.774. Positive psychotherapy (PPT) contrasts with standard interventions for depression by increasing positive emotion, engagement, and meaning rather than directly targeting depressive symptoms. The authors have tested the effects of these interventions in a variety of settings. In informal student and clinical settings, people not uncommonly reported them to be "life–changing." Delivered on the Web, positive psychology exercises relieved depressive symptoms for at least 6 months compared with placebo interventions, the effects of which lasted less than a week. In severe depression, the effects of these Web exercises were particularly striking. This address reports two preliminary studies: In the first, PPT delivered to groups significantly decreased levels of mild–to–moderate depression through 1–year follow–up. In the second, PPT delivered to individuals produced higher remission rates than did treatment as usual and treatment as usual plus medication among outpatients with major depressive disorder. Together, these studies suggest that treatments for depression may usefully be supplemented by exercises that explicitly increase positive emotion, engagement, and meaning.
Counselling Psychology | Graduate and Postdoctoral …
Seligman, M. E. P., Parks, A. C., & Steen, T. A. (2004). A balanced psychology and a full life. , (1449), 1379–81. doi:10.1098/rstb.2004.1513. Psychology since World War II has been largely devoted to repairing weakness and understanding suffering. Towards that end, we have made considerable gains. We have a classification of mental illness that allows international collaboration, and through this collaboration we have developed effective psychotherapeutic or pharmacological treatments for 14 major mental disorders. However, while building a strong science and practice of treating mental illness, we largely forgot about everyday well–being. Is the absence of mental illness and suffering sufficient to let individuals and communities flourish? Were all disabling conditions to disappear, what would make life worth living? Those committed to a science of positive psychology can draw on the effective research methods developed to understand and treat mental illness. Results from a new randomized, placebo–controlled study demonstrate that people are happier and less depressed three months after completing exercises targeting positive emotion. The ultimate goal of positive psychology is to make people happier by understanding and building positive emotion, gratification and meaning. Towards this end, we must supplement what we know about treating illness and repairing damage with knowledge about nurturing well–being in individuals and communities.
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