Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Positive Psychology Therapy

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Positive Psychology Therapy

Have you ever heard of positive psychotherapy? What exactly is positive psychology therapy and what is its role in treating mental health conditions? In this explanation, we'll have a look at the assumptions of positive psychology (acknowledgement of free will, the authenticity of goodness and excellence, focus on 'the good life'), how the assumptions of positive psychology can be used to explain the formation of relationships, the therapies used in this approach and an evaluation of the approach.

Positive psychology therapy definition

Positive psychology is a psychological approach that has its focuses on the strengths and behaviour that allow people to build a life with purpose. Positive psychology focuses on feelings, emotions and behaviours. Instead of pinpointing the weaknesses of an individual, positive psychology concentrates on the strengths. Positive psychology found its values and principles in life satisfaction, well-being, gratitude, compassion, self-esteem and hope.

Positive psychology therapy, smiling couple, StudySmarterPositive psychology focuses on happiness and strengths, pxhere.com

But what exactly does positive psychology cultivate? The main focal points are positive life experiences and events, such as positive experiences (happiness lived), positive states and traits (gratitude, resilience and compassion) and positive institutions (application of positive principles in institutions such as schools). Why is positive psychology different from other areas of psychology? It differs from other areas because the main interest is in identifying and building mental assets to help people live a meaningful life, rather than focusing on the negatives. Positive psychology has three essential principles which all aim to develop happiness. Below is a list of the three essential pillars.

The founder of positive psychology is Martin Seligman.

Three pillars of positive psychology

Positive psychology finds its basis in three essential pillars:

  • Positive experiences

  • Positive personal traits

  • Positive institutions

These pillars of positive psychology focus on the positive emotion and character of the individual, which will help the person following the approach to develop self-efficacy and personal effectiveness, which are very important in order for the person to succeed. Positive psychology is based on a few assumptions, let us take a look at these.

Assumptions of positive psychology

Acknowledgement of free will

This positive approach acknowledges that all humans have the power to choose how to react to certain situations and what they do in the future. Taking this into consideration, this assumption suggests that people have total control over their well-being and free will to enhance their strengths.

This assumption can be observed in mindfulness for example, where people are led to acknowledge their own emotions and thoughts.

The authenticity of goodness and excellence

Positive psychology points out how other branches of psychology have their main focus on the negative traits of personality (i.e. anxiety and depression). This is not a balanced view of reality because if humans would focus on the positive traits of personality and their own self-improvement, human behaviour could be observed in a positive way. In a few words, this assumption suggests that aspects of goodness and excellence deserve the same amount of attention as negative traits.

An example of this assumption is represented by Seligman's (2002) theory of signature strengths, which observes that there are 24 character strengths within an individual. Seligman also discussed in the theory how people should focus on and enhance these strengths.

Focus on 'the good life

According to Seligman there are three important dimensions to happiness: the pleasant life (which involves activities that bring us happiness), the good life (which involves activities that lead humans in reaching a state of flow) and the meaningful life (which includes a state of fulfilment created when we use our strengths for a more important purpose).

The 'good life' can be observed with the concept of 'flow', which was developed by

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The term 'flow' indicates being completely involved in an activity.

How can the assumptions of positive psychology be used to explain the formation of relationships?

Now that we have explained the important assumptions of positive psychology, it is important to ask ourselves how these assumptions help in the formation of relationships.

When it comes to the acknowledgement of free will, we are all free to choose what to do with our lives. One intentional activity that can enhance happiness is nurturing social relationships. By using our free will to maintain and nurture our various relationships can enhance our well-being.

And in terms of the authenticity of goodness and excellence? In order to improve social relationships instead of focusing on what is going wrong, there needs to be a focus on what is going right in the relationship. In the case of a romantic partner, we could be aware of the strengths of our partner and most importantly, celebrate these. Kashdan et al. (2017) studied couples and found that when partners recognized and appreciated each other's strengths this led to stronger relationships, greater commitment and investment in the relationship supporting each other in goals.

What about the focus on 'the good life? How can applying focus on the good life help in creating relationships? If we take into account that one aspect of the good life is the positive connection with other people, creating positive relationships can improve the person's well-being and help the individual to reach the good life. One important element of the good life is therefore the positive connection with other individuals.

Diener and Seligman (2002) conducted a study on 222 undergraduates and found that the happiest were those that were highly sociable and had stronger romantic and social relationships compared with those less happy. They found that good social relationships were necessary for happiness.

Olsson et al. (2012) conducted a 32-year longitudinal study and found that social connections in adolescence were a better predictor of well-being in adulthood than academic achievement. Well-being is specified by a sense of meaning, social engagement, positive coping and prosocial values.

Positive psychology therapy, friends together, StudySmarterFriends together, pixabay.com

Positive psychology and cognitive therapy

Positive cognitive behavioural therapy incorporates solution-focused brief therapy and positive psychology by including the cognitive behavioural therapy framework. The client will focus on their individual strengths. In positive cognitive behavioural therapy, the therapist will help the client to focus on what works, instead of focusing on what doesn't work. Positive cognitive behavioural therapy enhances skills on how to improve and increase happiness.

Positive psychology Quality of life therapy

Quality of life therapy allows patients to figure out what areas of their life they want to improve in order to have a happier, more satisfying life. Patients fill out an inventory called the Quality of Life Inventory which contains concepts in different areas of life. From the Quality of Life Inventory, the patient can figure out what areas are important to them and what they would like to work on.

Evaluation of the positive psychology approach

The positive psychology approach appears to shift all its focus to enhancing happiness and promoting the positive. But it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

Strengths

  • The positive approach acknowledges free will, this lets people feel like they are able to have control over their lives and well-being.
  • Positive psychology takes a holistic viewpoint, viewing humans as a whole with various factors that contribute to their well-being.
  • Positive psychology techniques such as mindfulness are applied widely in formal and informal practices. This provides support for the assumptions of positive psychology.
  • The positive approach is both idiographic and nomothetic. It is idiographic in that it encourages each person to be mindful and acknowledges everyone is different but it also tries to develop nomothetic theories of behaviour.
  • Takes into account both nature and nurture influence on happiness and well-being.
  • Uses scientific methods such as experiments to investigate concepts.

Weaknesses

  • The acknowledgement of free will is also a weakness if people feel too much responsibility for their own well-being this could inadvertently affect their mental health, making them feel pressured.
  • As positive psychology takes a holistic approach, this makes treatment and research more difficult as it is hard to pinpoint something to focus on.

Positive psychology therapy - Key takeaways

  • Positive psychology is a part of psychology that has its focuses on the strengths and behaviour that allow people to build a life that has a purpose. Positive psychology found its values and principles in life satisfaction, wellbeing, gratitude, compassion, self-esteem and hope.
  • Instead of focusing on the weaknesses of an individual, positive psychology focuses on the strengths.
  • The three main pillars in positive psychology are positive experiences, positive individual traits and positive institutions.
  • There are three important assumptions in the positive approach: acknowledgement of free will, the authenticity of goodness and excellence, and focus on 'the good life.
  • Therapies that use positive psychology are positive cognitive behaviour therapy and quality of life therapy.

Final Positive Psychology Therapy Quiz

Question

What approach is QoLT part of?

Show answer

Answer

QoLT is part of the positive approach.

Show question

Question

Who created QoLT?

Show answer

Answer

QoLT was created by Michael Frisch.

Show question

Question

What is the purpose of QoLT?

Show answer

Answer

QoLT encourages patients to focus on positive attributes and things they value in their lives in order to help them improve their happiness.

Show question

Question

What are the two main influences of QoLT?

Show answer

Answer

Frisch was mainly influenced by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and positive psychology.

Show question

Question

What is the QoLI?

Show answer

Answer

The Quality of Life Inventory (QoLI) allows patients and psychologists to establish the patient's quality of life, areas of life they value, and where they could improve.

Show question

Question

What is CASIO?

Show answer

Answer

CASIO is a set of criteria that determines how satisfied a patient is in areas of their life.

Show question

Question

What are the three pillars of QoLT?

Show answer

Answer

The three pillars of QoLT are fostering inner abundance, finding meaning in life and quality time.

Show question

Question

What is fostering inner abundance?

Show answer

Answer

Fostering inner abundance means making the patient feel as if they are strong and capable enough to work through their goals.

Show question

Question

What is finding meaning in life?

Show answer

Answer

Finding meaning in life is done by making the client feel as if they have a set goal for each area of life from the QoLI that they value, so they have something to work towards.

Show question

Question

What is quality time?

Show answer

Answer

Quality time highlights the importance of rest and introspection.

Show question

Question

How does occupational therapy use QoL?

Show answer

Answer

Occupational therapy works by emphasising the patient's participation and satisfaction in their job role rather than just their performance and output.

Show question

Question

What is mindfulness training?

Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness training encourages the patient to slow down, relax and try to release negativity and focus on positive, useful thinking in order to tackle their problems.

Show question

Question

How does research done on QoLT avoid cultural bias?

Show answer

Answer

QoLT research avoids cultural bias because it has been conducted in many countries and across cultures.

Show question

Question

What did Emmons and McCullogh (2003) find about QoLT?

Show answer

Answer

They found that students who kept daily diaries where they recorded gratitude for things in their life that they valued reported increases in quality of life.

Show question

Question

Why might QoLT and the positive approach not work for everyone?

Show answer

Answer

Research cited in Azar (2011) found that certain types of people, particularly those who are defensive and pessimistic may resent positivity which worsens their treatment.

Show question

Question

What is positive psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Positive psychology is a part of psychology which has its focus on the strengths and behaviour that allow people to build a life that has a purpose.

Show question

Question

What are the principles of positive psychology?


Show answer

Answer

Positive psychology found its values and principles in life satisfaction, wellbeing, gratitude, compassion, self-esteem and hope.

Show question

Question


Who is the founder of positive psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Martin Seligman

Show question

Question

What are the three pillars of positive psychology?


Show answer

Answer

  • positive experiences

  • positive personal traits

  • positive institutions

Show question

Question

On what exactly positive psychology techniques will focus on?

Show answer

Answer

The techniques used in positive psychology will first focus on developing and raising positive feelings, positive emotions, positive thoughts and behaviour

Show question

Question

What are the 2 main components of positive psychology?


Show answer

Answer

the individual will have to focus on developing happiness by tasing and increasing positive thoughts and emotions. The second component will need individuals to perform this for a long-term.

Show question

Question


What is savouring PPIs?

Show answer

Answer

Savoring positive psychology interventions will focus on a specific experience of the individual.

Show question

Question

What are gratitude interventions?

Show answer

Answer

Considering that gratitude evokes important and strong feelings, this will lead the person to develop a sense of happiness within themselves.

Show question

Question

What's the aim of kindness boosters?

Show answer

Answer

The aim of kindness boosters is to promote happiness through these simples goodwill actions.

Show question

Question

What is empathy PPIs?

Show answer

Answer

Empathy psychology positive interventions, will focus on enhancing and strengthening positive feelings.

Show question

Question

What are optimistic interventions?


Show answer

Answer

Optimistic interventions will determine positive results by setting realistic expectations

Show question

Question

What are strength-buidling measures?

Show answer

Answer

This type of positive psychology intervention will allow the individual to build measures to develop strength. Strength, in positive psychology, can be interpreted as internal values and capabilities.

Show question

Question

What are meaning oriented PPIs?

Show answer

Answer

Meaning oriented positive psychology, will allow the individual to better understand what is meaningful and important in their life

Show question

Question

What are the differences of Positive CBT from traditional CBT?


Show answer

Answer

ocusing on the approach; the client define the goals; focusing on accountability and action; focusing on strengths.

Show question

Question


Benefits of positive psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Individuals that follow the approach of positive psychology will notice a boost in social and emotional wellbeing

Show question

Question

What does mindfulness help us be more aware of?

Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness helps us be more aware of what is happening in the present, without being worried about the past or future. 

Show question

Question

Does mindfulness try to change the thoughts that we have?

Show answer

Answer

No, mindfulness lets us inspect the thoughts that arise during the day and accept them without trying to change them.

Show question

Question

How is mindfulness connected to positive psychology?

Show answer

Answer

In positive psychology, mindfulness is linked to the acknowledgement of free will. Mindfulness encourages us to be in tune with our thoughts and emotions and to give ourselves control over them, rather than letting the thoughts and emotions control us. In this way, we have free will and control over our behaviour. We notice our reactions to stimuli and can try to act in a more beneficial way rather than reacting immediately to our feelings.

Show question

Question

What are some mindfulness techniques?

Show answer

Answer

Body scan meditation, informal practice, online apps and resources, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Show question

Question

During a body scan meditation, what should someone do if they feel the tension in any part of the body?

Show answer

Answer

A person should pay attention to their feelings and discern them. The goal is to notice the sensations felt during the body scan without judging them, but rather accepting them.

Show question

Question

What is the aim of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy aims to halt the cognitive processes patients automatically engage in that lead to depression.

Show question

Question

Is mindfulness an ethical therapy?


Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness is considered an ethical therapy as there are no undesirable side effects from practising mindfulness. Also, mindfulness encourages free will and people to take control of and make positive changes to their lives.

Show question

Question

What did Kuyken et al. (2013) find about students who took part in a Mindfulness in Schools Programme compared to those in the usual school curriculum?


Show answer

Answer

Students who participated in the mindfulness in school programme reported fewer depressive symptoms, less stress, and greater well-being than students who participated in the usual curriculum.

Show question

Question

What is a weakness of mindfulness?

Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness teaches people to accept thoughts, but does not address the source of the troubling thoughts. If these thoughts are not addressed, they can continue to cause problems for patients.

Show question

Question

What are the five benefits of mindfulness?

Show answer

Answer

Reduced rumination, stress reduction, greater emotional control, self-observation and changes in the brain lead to happy emotions, and better relationships.

Show question

Question

What did Reibel et al. (2001) find about the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction?

Show answer

Answer

Patients experienced an increase in health-related quality of life and better psychological health including a reduction in anxiety and depression.

Show question

Question

What are some techniques taught in mindfulness therapies?

Show answer

Answer

Mindfulness meditation, body scanning, and yoga.

Show question

Question

What are the three assumptions of positive psychology?

Show answer

Answer

Acknowledgement of free will, authenticity of goodness and excellence, and focus on 'the good life.'


Show question

Question

How is acknowledgement of free will related to formation of relationships? 

Show answer

Answer


By using our free will to maintain and nurture our various relationships, this can enhance our well-being. 


Show question

Question

How is the authenticity of goodness and excellence related to forming relationships?

Show answer

Answer

Instead of focusing on what is going wrong, we can focus on what is going right in the relationship to improve social relationships. In the case of a romantic partner, we could be aware of our partner’s strengths and celebrate these.


Show question

Question

How is focus on ‘the good life’ related to forming relationships?

Show answer

Answer

Creating positive relationships can improve the person’s well-being and help the individual reach the good life. 

Show question

Question

What are the two weaknesses of the positive approach?

Show answer

Answer

  • The acknowledgement of free will is a weakness. If people feel too much responsibility for their well-being, it could inadvertently affect their mental health, making them feel pressured. 
  • As positive psychology takes a holistic approach, treatment and research are more problematic as it is hard to pinpoint something to focus on.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Positive Psychology Therapy quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.