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August 15, 2010

What is Positive Psychology?

Introducing Martin Seligman - The founder of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 2000 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities." Positive psychologists seek "to find and nurture strengths", and "to make normal life more fulfilling", not simply to treat mental illness. The Black Dog Institute have developed a fantastic Positive Psychology Fact Sheet 

Where as traditional psychology focuses on the things that are going wrong, positive psychology encourages people to build on those things that are going right, (and it doesn't ignore or gloss over problems - everything of course has two sides). Positive psychology provides people with strategies that enable them to 'flip their problems over and see them in new ways,'  and develop skills and strengths to cope with life challenges so that they may live engaged, fulfilling lives. Positive psychology acknowledges that growth comes out of challenges!