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What is Positive Psychology?

Positive Psychology is one of the key elements that we use at emergence to help our clients achieve their goals and make change.

It's about what's right with you


Positive psychology is a branch of Psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

"We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families and communities."

Positive psychologists seek "to find and nurture genius and talent", and "to make normal life more fulfilling", not simply to treat mental illness. The field is intended to complement, not to replace traditional psychology. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to deteremine how things go right.

Put in simple, unscientific terms, negative experienes and emotions are part of everyones life, and it can be all too tempting to accept them as being permanent and dominant. By shifting the focus to the positive experiences, opportunities, and emotions we also all possess, Emergence helps nurture a positive perspective on life and its experiences, a process which helps negate the seeming-importance of those negatvie aspects by simply outshining them.

Researchers in the field analyze things like states of pleasure or flow, values, strengths, virtues, talents, that can be promoted by organisations or adopted by individuals. Positive psychologists are interested in many topics, but chiefly:

  1. positive experiences.
  2. enduring psychological traits.
  3. building on strengths.
  4. wellbeing.

Instead of becoming "less ill" and "seeing improvement in health" Positive Psychology assumes our strengths and inherent potential will enable us scale a ladder from the ground up, rather than viewing us as individuals struggling to climb higher out of a deep hole, but only ever climbing higher from below, rather than reaching up from above.

By focusing on your strengths and discovering your potential, you will build and broaden your capacity to embrace challenges, deal with adversity, identify opportunities, and achieve your goals. Positive Psychology is about more than "feeling happy." It is the science of unleashing your greatest potential.