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Principles and practices of Positive Psychology

Discuss about the Humanistic Psychology and Positive Psychology.

This essay aims to define and describe the field of positive psychology and provide an explanation regarding its prominence and its difference with traditional psychology. Positive Psychology is a branch of psychology, which utilizes the systematic understanding as well as efficient intervention for assisting to attain a satisfactory life in comparison to the treating psychological illness (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2015).  It focuses on the growth of the individuals and is concerned with the scientific study of thriving of human beings. Some of the psychologists have also defined it as the study regarding the qualities and strengths that facilitate the individuals as well as communities for flourishing. According to Gable and Haidt (2005), positive psychology is categorized as the logical study, which focuses on the experiences of the positive subjective and traits of the positive character are coming in association. Positive Psychology findings signify that happiness is enhanced as well as affected in different ways (Niemiec & Wedding, 2013).  Social associations with friends, family, spouse and wider networks by means of work and other societal interactions are of particular significance (McNulty & Fincham, 2012). A number of psychologists like Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow developed theories as well as practices with respect to happiness and flourishing of humans. In recent times, positive psychologists have discovered an empirical support for the flourishing theories of humans. Additionally, Positive psychology has moved forward in different new directions (Schrank et al., 2014). While for the second part of this essay, the research area of character strengths has been selected to fulfill the criteria of this essay effectively.

According to Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi (2014), positive psychology involves three issues: Positive traits of the individuals, positive institutions and positive emotions. Positive emotions involve the feeling of being satisfied with the past, being glad in the existing time and having expectations for the future. The positive characters of the individuals focus on the strengths as well as qualities. Positive institutions are concerned with the strengths for the betterment of the individuals in the community. According to Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, the goal of positive psychology is to construct a field, which focuses on the well-being and situations of the human beings, virtues and strengths of the individuals that allow them to thrive. However, a number of researchers had already carried out a study on happiness and hopefulness, psychology was inconsistently focused on the treatment of psychological illness in comparison to the promotion of mental health (White, 2012). At the individual level, it is regarding the positive trait of the individuals, the ability for vocation as well as love, perseverance, interpersonal skill, courage, originality, aesthetic responsiveness, high aptitude and future mindedness spirituality (Schrank et al., 2014). At the group level, it is regarding the civic qualities and the associations that shift persons towards enhanced residency: toleration, consideration, selflessness, self-control, work ethic and nurturance (Gable & Haidt, 2005).

Difference between Positive Psychology and Traditional Psychology

Positive psychology differs from traditional psychology in a way that positive psychology has become more frequently utilized approach for researching in the field (Waterman, 2013). It differs from traditional psychology in the sense that instead of considering the problems of the individuals and the way for dealing with them unswervingly, which is the most familiar type of psychology (White, 2012). On the other hand, something can be offered by positive psychology by which the human beings can be benefitted as it offers us with an opportunity to assist in finding the inner strengths of an individual by focusing more on the practical steps for utilizing their individual abilities for prospering in the society (Rich, 2013). The approach of traditional psychology describes the problem and subsequently finding the ways for treating the problems by using different techniques (Mongrain & Anselmo-Matthews, 2012). Often observing the past, present and future actions of the individuals as well as focusing more on any distressing events that may have taken place during the life of the individuals and how these events have made a contribution in the overall functioning of the individual (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). 

The movement of positive psychology was first formed by Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist. He astonished his counterparts by asserting that the lives of the psychologists should not be spent by devoting on how the things have turned wrong with the lives of the individuals but they should find ideas regarding the methods that can lead to a contented life.  It has been argued by Sheldon that negative prejudice from traditional psychology may result in the individuals for limiting the understanding of distinctive and flourishing functioning of humans. He also argued that it is an excellent course of action for constantly assuring any sort of problem for fixing if one is present and if negative prejudice has been removed extra things that may be missed (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). 

The second part of the essay will discuss the chosen research area i.e. character strengths. The two articles namely, “Strengths of Character and Wellbeing (Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004) and Strengths gym: The impact of character strengths-based interventions on the life satisfaction and wellbeing of adolescents (Proctor, C., Tsukayama, E., Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Eades, J. F., & Linley, P. A. (2011)” will be analyzed on the basis of the mentioned questions. In the first article, the investigation has been carried out concerning the association between different character strengths along with the satisfaction of life. The research area of this article concerns the Strengths of character and Well-being, which is associated with positive psychology. The investigation has been carried out utilizing the principles in accomplishing record of strengths. According to Park, Peterson & Seligman (2004), character strength refers to the positive traits that can be reflected in behaviors, feelings and thoughts. It is mainly a temperament to feel, act and desire, which is concerned with the implementation of decision and leads to a decipherable individual excellence or instance of thriving of humans. The researchers in this article have created consistent tools for evaluating the positive traits based on the character strength criteria. In this article, the impact of the research area on the well-being is measured on the basis of the preliminary investigations which have demonstrated a satisfactory consistency as well as promising validity together with the examination of the association between character strengths and subjective well-being. The research methods of this article are succinct and each of utilized methods in this study potentially influences the results that have been reported as the findings of this study revealed that Zest and Hope are significantly associated with life satisfaction. Additionally, several other strengths like love, gratitude as well as inquisitiveness are also associated with life satisfaction (Park, Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Role of Character Strengths in Enhancing Well-being

The research area of the second article is concerned with the examination of the impact of strength gym, which is a disposition strengths-based positive program of psychological involvement on the life contentment of adolescents. In this study, the researchers have utilized a quasi-experimental treatment-control condition design and a comparison has been made on the outcomes of the students for life satisfaction, self-esteem together with negative and positive effects. In this article, the impact of the research area on the well-being is measured on the basis of character strengths that are associated with the flourishing and well-being of the youth and children. The research has confirmed that certain character strengths are related to enhanced satisfaction of life, academic achievement, reduced psychopathology and smaller number of externalizing as well as internalizing behaviour problems. The research methods that have been used in this study are concise as the findings support the assertion that positive psychology theory’s implementation in the curriculum of school by means of the use of student materials can help in building character strengths along with life satisfaction in the students. Each of the utilized research methods in this study potentially influences the results that have been reported as the results present motivating support for the exercises based on strengths of the character in the curriculum of school through enhanced satisfaction of life and happiness among children as well as adolescents (Proctor et al., 2011).

To conclude, Positive psychology has a significant role in human life as it assists in flourishing and gaining life satisfaction. It involves coherent understanding as well as effectual intervention to assist for achieving a satisfactory life in comparison to the treating a mental or psychological illness. Positive emotions engage the feelings of being satisfied with the past, being cheerful in the existing time and having expectations for the future. In addition, Positive psychology has moved forward in different new directions. The findings of positive psychology indicate that happiness is increased and affected in several ways. The positive traits of the individuals focus on the strengths as well as qualities. Positive institutions are concerned with the strengths for the betterment of the individuals in the community. It has become more frequently utilized approach for researching in the field. It differs from traditional psychology in a way that instead of considering the problems of the individuals and the way for dealing with them differently, which is the most familiar type of psychology. The findings of the first article have revealed that Zest and Hope are considerably linked with satisfaction of life. In addition, numerous other strengths like love, gratefulness and curiosity are also linked with satisfaction of life. On the other hand, the findings of the second article have revealed that certain character strengths are related to enhanced satisfaction of life, academic achievement, reduced psychopathology and smaller number of externalizing as well as internalizing behaviour problems effectively.  

References

Boniwell, I., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2015). C ENTRAL TO THE DISCIPLINE of positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi. Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 223.

Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology?.Review of general psychology, 9(2), 103.

McNulty, J. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). Beyond positive psychology? Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being.American Psychologist, 67(2), 101.

Mongrain, M., & Anselmo-Matthews, T. (2012). Do positive psychology exercises work? A replication of Seligman et al.(). Journal of clinical psychology, 68(4).

Niemiec, R. M., & Wedding, D. (2013). Positive psychology at the movies: Using films to build virtues and character strengths. Hogrefe Publishing.

Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of social and Clinical Psychology, 23(5), 603-619.

Proctor, C., Tsukayama, E., Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Eades, J. F., & Linley, P. A. (2011). Strengths gym: The impact of a character strengths-based intervention on the life satisfaction and well-being of adolescents. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(5), 377-388.

Rich, G. J. (2013). Finding flow: The history and future of a positive psychology concept. In Positive psychology (pp. 43-60). Springer New York.

Schrank, B., Brownell, T., Tylee, A., & Slade, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An approach to supporting recovery in mental illness. East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 24(3), 95.

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction (pp. 279-298). Springer Netherlands.

Waterman, A. S. (2013). The humanistic psychology–positive psychology divide: Contrasts in philosophical foundations. American Psychologist, 68(3), 124.

White, A. G. (2012). A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being: A Challenge To Positive Psychology? Psychtalk 56.

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