“While you can’t control your experiences, you can control your explanations.” (Seligman)
Learn about the theory that continues to challenge the status-quo throughout our mental health and substance misuse service continuum. Be willing to forget everything you know about mental health treatment, (e.g., clinical depression), and problem solving – We challenge you to try on a new perspective for the next 40 minutes. Dive deep into the world of Positive Psychology!
Defining Positive Psychology
Peterson (2008), writes, “Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living.”
Launched as the antithesis to the pathogenesis model, positive psychology offers a fresh perspective on how we conceptualize problems in living. Therapists, educators, and parents now have access to a radicalized understanding of how to respond to challenges expressed by others (and themselves).
The Pathogenesis Push Back
Pathogenesis is the dominant perspective across all treatment modalities. We listen to the problems presented to us as clinicians, and attempt to diagnose the problem for individualized treatment planning. In fact, the ability to bill insurance companies for 1:1 sessions, depends on both a clear diagnosis and treatment planning approach (with thorough documentation).
The Positive Psychology TKO!
Positive Psychology views the problem in the present, while attempting to identify a pathway forward through proactive reframing and skill building. The origin of the problem is less important. Instead, maladaptive coping in adulthood is understood as functional at the time it was developed. Challenges emerge as a result of how long people carry strategies throughout childhood, to the point of inhibiting adult functioning.
From this perspective, the well adjusted person is able to cope effectively in all major life areas, including home, school, work, etc. The characteristics required for adaptive living is seen early in some, and can easily be taught to others. In both cases, the individual’s approach to life problems is informed by their level of psychological optimism.
Learned Optimism Characteristics
Martin Seligman (2006), a pioneer in Positive Psychology, identified three primary characteristics/beliefs of individuals who poses persistent learned optimism. These are and understanding of:
- Permanence – Problems in life are not long lived – Difficult events are temporary.
- Pervasiveness – Difficult events are easily compartmentalized by situation and are not widespread.
- Personalization – Difficult events are attributed externally and are not personally defining.
If you are looking for a “go-to” resources from the field of Positive Psychology and the powerful effects of psychological optimism, check-out Seligman’s original work. Click on the book image below for the latest pricing: