Positive Psychology focuses on studying and promoting happiness, well-being and optimal functioning. It centers around the positive aspects of what it's like to be human, instead of only focusing on pathology and mental illness.
It came about in the late 1990s and was pioneered by psychologists such as Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Christopher Peterson. The goal was to shift the focus of psychological research and therapeutic practice and focus on identifying and cultivating clients' strengths, experiences and positive emotions.
The main areas of focus within positive psychology include:
1. Positive emotions: Studying emotions such as joy, gratitude, love, hope, and contentment, and understanding their impact on well-being and overall life satisfaction.
2. Character strengths and virtues: Identifying and cultivating individual strengths, virtues, and positive traits that contribute to personal growth and fulfillment.
3. Flow and engagement: Investigating the state of flow, which refers to being fully absorbed and engaged in an activity that challenges one's skills, leading to a sense of timelessness and increased well-being.
4. Positive relationships: Examining the importance of social connections, empathy, compassion, and healthy relationships in promoting well-being and happiness.
5. Meaning and purpose: Exploring the significance of having a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction in life, and how it contributes to overall well-being.
I enjoy using positive psychology in therapy because it is evidence-based and also it helps clients lead more optimistic, fulfilling, and meaningful lives.