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The Tyranny of the Positive Attitude in America: Observation and Speculation

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Abstract

According to both popular and professional indicators, the push for the positive attitude in America is on the rise. After considering the popular culture zeitgeist, I compare and contrast two recent professional psychology movements-those of positive psychology and postmodern therapy-both of which rest on a foundation of optimism and positive thinking despite their opposing views about a proper philosophy of science. I then present cross-cultural empirical research that calls into question the typical (North American) assumption that a positive attitude is necessary for (a sense of) well-being. I also consider findings in health psychology, clinical/counseling psychology, and organizational behavioral science, findings which call into question the assumption that accentuating the positive (and eliminating the negative) is necessarily beneficial in terms of physical and mental health. The clinical/therapeutic implications of this analysis are addressed, as I put forth my conjecture about the existence of what I call the "tyranny of the positive attitude" in the form of a question: If there indeed now exists unprecedented pressure to accentuate the positive, could it then be that the pressure itself to be happy and optimistic contributes to at least some forms of unhappiness?

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... Strikingly, the study demonstrated that positivity increased the likelihood of the abuse reoccurring, as the abuser interprets the victim's forgiveness as tacit permission for continued abuse. These findings suggest that positivity may in effect aggravate DA. Held (2002) voices concern that positivity can promote self-deception by creating a pleasant illusion of oneself and one's reality, and warns that this bubble can be burst by external events. Indeed, optimism has a dark side which Berlant (2011) describes as cruel because it can prompt people to endure violence and despair by providing the illusion of imminent improvement. ...
... Denial of DA The phenomenon of 'denial of DA' is defined for the purpose of this review as failing to properly acknowledge or address a real risk of DA in terms of the absence of suitable problem-solving action. 'denial' represents the criticism of positivity for creating a false reality based on over-optimism or self-deception (Held, 2002;Jopling, 1996). The review judged studies as demonstrating this phenomenon if they showed the presence of an unrealistic risk assessment regarding DA and/or failing to take appropriate action to address DA in one's own personal life -particularly when this was despite provision of evidence to suggest a significant risk, or despite witnessing or withstanding behaviors considered to be unhealthy within the context of an intimate relationship. ...
... In the current social climate, many will inevitably continue to experience DA. Once abuse escalates to a point that it can no longer be excused, victims steeped in self-delusional positivity are liable find their 'bubble' of protective self-deception burst (Held, 2002) which although devastating, heralds the start of recovery. An event that shatters personal assumptions invites them to be reviewed, providing the opportunity to form a richer set of beliefs. ...
... Strikingly, the study demonstrated that positivity increased the likelihood of the abuse reoccurring, as the abuser interprets the victim's forgiveness as tacit permission for continued abuse. These findings suggest that positivity may in effect aggravate DA. Held (2002) voices concern that positivity can promote self-deception by creating a pleasant illusion of oneself and one's reality, and warns that this bubble can be burst by external events. Indeed, optimism has a dark side which Berlant (2011) describes as cruel because it can prompt people to endure violence and despair by providing the illusion of imminent improvement. ...
... Denial of DA The phenomenon of 'denial of DA' is defined for the purpose of this review as failing to properly acknowledge or address a real risk of DA in terms of the absence of suitable problem-solving action. 'denial' represents the criticism of positivity for creating a false reality based on over-optimism or self-deception (Held, 2002;Jopling, 1996). The review judged studies as demonstrating this phenomenon if they showed the presence of an unrealistic risk assessment regarding DA and/or failing to take appropriate action to address DA in one's own personal life -particularly when this was despite provision of evidence to suggest a significant risk, or despite witnessing or withstanding behaviors considered to be unhealthy within the context of an intimate relationship. ...
... In the current social climate, many will inevitably continue to experience DA. Once abuse escalates to a point that it can no longer be excused, victims steeped in self-delusional positivity are liable find their 'bubble' of protective self-deception burst (Held, 2002) which although devastating, heralds the start of recovery. An event that shatters personal assumptions invites them to be reviewed, providing the opportunity to form a richer set of beliefs. ...
... To begin with, "the duty to be happy" (Bruckner, 2001) and "the tyranny of the positive attitude" (Held, 2002) have been discussed. According to Pascal Bruckner (2001) and Barbara Held (2002), there is at the present time pressure without precedent in Western history for people to have a "positive" or "optimistic" attitude and to be "happy" all the time. ...
... According to Pascal Bruckner (2001) and Barbara Held (2002), there is at the present time pressure without precedent in Western history for people to have a "positive" or "optimistic" attitude and to be "happy" all the time. It is precisely this pressure, insensitive to real-life difficulties, that could paradoxically lead to people feeling frustrated when they are not happy, when they feel bad, or do not see the world as rosy (Bruckner, 2001;Held, 2002). We do not think it is a coincidence that Barbara Held (2002), when she identified this tyranny of optimism in American culture, pointed out, among other examples, the "smiley" icon, that yellow face with two black dots for eyes and half a circle showing an expression of complete happiness. ...
... It is precisely this pressure, insensitive to real-life difficulties, that could paradoxically lead to people feeling frustrated when they are not happy, when they feel bad, or do not see the world as rosy (Bruckner, 2001;Held, 2002). We do not think it is a coincidence that Barbara Held (2002), when she identified this tyranny of optimism in American culture, pointed out, among other examples, the "smiley" icon, that yellow face with two black dots for eyes and half a circle showing an expression of complete happiness. The "smiley" was precisely one of the major icons of "Acid House" and was used in England around 1988 as a sort of "secret sign" of belonging to the "rave" movement. ...
Article
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Aim: This study attempts to demonstrate the relevance of the socio-cultural model of drugs in explaining the impressive development of ecstasy in the last 45 years. Method: First the study describes the use of ecstasy by groups which have left their imprint on the substance: university students, gays, yuppies and the “New Age” movement. Then the link between ecstasy and techno music led to the socially integrated “club” phenomenon, and the “rave”, which began as a rupturing, nonconformist phenomenon. Findings: According to this argument, in spite of its clearly counterculture beginnings, the “rave” movement and its most characteristic drug, ecstasy, have gradually become integrated into mainstream culture, somehow reinforcing the functioning of capitalist postmodernity. Our study explains ecstasy’s history in reference to the cultural contradictions of capitalism and the functions that it currently fulfils for young people. Based on this analysis, the implications of the cultural perspective are discussed as a paradigm of research in drug use, stressing notions of subculture, myths and rituals. It also proposes a harmonious articulation of academic and common knowledge as the most appropriate method for their study. Conclusion: A cultural approach to drug use could assist in unblocking a field so in need of conceptual and empirical revision.
... Ambas corrientes también comparten la ideología contemporánea de una visión extremadamente individualista de la felicidad, como un logro personal (Held, 2002), conseguible y manejable mediante el fomento del autocontrol, autoconocimiento, autodeterminación y autocultivo (Cabanas y Sánchez, 2012). Introducen la idea de una consecución de la felicidad, concibiéndola como salud mental, generando confusión entre ambos términos. ...
... La psicología positiva y de autoayuda, tan extendidas en la actualidad, transmiten en sus mensajes una presión para acercarse a la actitud positiva y olvidar lo saludable de la negativa; y su intento por rechazar las emociones desagradables, puede estar contribuyendo a cierta forma de infelicidad: las personas pueden sentirse culpables o defectuosas por no conseguir sentirse bien (Held, 2002). A medida que crece la presión para estar alegre en todas las ocasiones entendemos que sentirse mal no sólo es patológico, sino socialmente inaceptable. ...
... Evitar mirar y afrontar, no sólo la parte aversiva de la vida, sino la parte negativa de nosotros mismos, además de las implicaciones morales, puede suponer una disminución en nuestro nivel de conciencia (Held, 2002). Conocemos el mundo en tanto lo percibimos, y lo percibimos en tanto encontramos obstáculos. ...
Article
Full-text available
La situación de la psicología no puede entenderse separada de la realidad sociopolítica en que se desarrolla. El objetivo del siguiente artículo es analizar la influencia en la práctica terapéutica de la preponderancia del sistema capitalista, la emergencia de la psicología positiva y la especialización técnico-médica de la profesión. Inicialmente, se realiza una revisión del desarrollo sociopolítico del postmodernismo y de su influencia sobre la concepción de la salud mental de las personas; y se desarrolla la evolución de la psicología positiva y de la especialización técnico-médica de la disciplina. Posteriormente, se reflexiona acerca de cómo los factores descritos previamente podrían ser responsables de iatrogenia en la terapia por el riesgo que tienen de aislar al individuo, culpabilizarle y fomentar la estructura de opresión postmoderna. Finalmente, se describen algunas alternativas para tener en cuenta durante la práctica terapéutica con el objetivo de realizar una atención holística y humana durante la terapia: fomentar el capital social, empoderar al paciente y despatologizar el sufrimiento.
... Scholarly work in positive psychology started relatively late in the African context, but in South Africa some early voices could be noted such as those of Strümpfer (Wilson-Fadiji & Wissing, in press). Strümpfer, Wissing, and Van Eeden conducted empirical work on well-being in the early nineties before the formal establishment of PP with a focus on salutogenesis and fortigenesis and signalled the emergence of a new subdiscipline they called "psychofortology" (Strümpfer, 1990(Strümpfer, , 1995(Strümpfer, , 2005Strümpfer & Wissing, 1998;Wissing & Van Eeden, 1997, 2002 which became simultaneously known as positive psychology in America (cf. Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). ...
... During the first phase of PP strong external critique was already launched at the underlying assumptions of PP from philosophical and other perspectives (e.g., Norem & Chang, 2002;Held, 2002Held, , 2004Held, , 2017Ryff & Singer, 1998;Lazarus, 2003), but these were initially just ignored by most researchers in mainstream positive psychology. However, these critiques were gradually accepted and complemented with critique from internal voices in PP (cf. ...
Chapter
For a long time, well-being research had been driven from a Western perspective with a neglect of cultural and contextual variables. In this chapter we argue with reference to well-being research as manifested in positive psychology (PP) as a discipline, that contextual, metatheoretical and metadisciplinary perspectives need to be taken into account. Developments in PP over time are described, illustrating the importance of contexts and assumptions in understanding well-being, and how new assumptions in the third wave of PP resonate with old African wisdoms about interconnectedness as a core value in human lives. The first wave of PP focused on advocating for the positive in human functioning, many facets of well-being were differentiated in theory and empirical studies, while assuming a naturalist worldview and that findings from the West are globally applicable. The second wave showed that PP needs to take context, culture and negative facets of human life into account for understanding the nature and dynamics of well-being. The emerging third wave of PP is characterized by the acceptance of a strong relational ontology and trends towards contextualization, interconnectedness and post-disciplinarity. Harmonizing Western and African perspectives are indicated, and specifically also the understanding of well-being as harmony and harmonization. The third wave suggests a move to “well-being studies”, instead of the disciplinary bound “positive psychology studies”—a butterfly leaving its cocoon.
... Daha geniş bir açıdan bakıldığında, yirminci yüzyılın sonlarından başlayarak bireylerde pozitif olma baskısı oluşturulmuştur. Gülümse, neşeli ol, olumlu tarafından bak, şikâyet etme basitliğinde söylemlerle dolu kişisel gelişim endüstrisinin yaygınlığı pozitifliğin tiranlığı şeklinde betimlenmiştir (Held, 2002). Birey çökkün hissediyorsa, bu o kimsenin olayın olumlu tarafını görmemesindendir. ...
... In this context, happiness functions as a currency to facilitate internalizing neoliberal disciplines (De La Fabián & Stecher, 2018). This happiness industry, which has existed since the end of the twentieth century, is depicted by the analogy of the tyranny of positivity (Held, 2002). ...
Article
Psikolojide neyin bilgi değeri taşıdığı ve ne tür konuların araştırılabileceği, içinde bulunulan dönemin yansımalarından etkilenebilmektedir. Neoliberalizmin sosyopolitik düzlemi yeni bir psişe anlatısı ortaya koymuştur. Bu psişe anlatımı doğrultusunda, neoliberal sistem benliğe yönelik bilgiyi ve öyküyü yeniden yapılandırmıştır. Bu çalışmada, neoliberal politikaların psikoloji ve daha özelde de psikolojik danışma alanında yansımaları tartışılmıştır. İlgili yazın incelendiğinde mikro tahakküm alanı olarak birey/ özne, mikro tahakküm biçimi olarak içselleştirilmiş disiplin ve psikolojinin çeşitli yöntemlerle piyasalaşması ya da bireyliğin piyasalaştırılması temaları üzerinde durulmuştur. Ayrıca neoliberal sistemde benliğin yeniden yapılandırılma biçimi incelenmiş, İçsel disipline etme sürecinde benliğe ve duygulara değinilmiştir. Psikolojik danışma alanında bireyin özerkliği ve pozitif gelişiminin sosyal adalet paradigmasıyla bütünleştirilmesinin gereğine vurgu yapılmıştır. Neoliberalizm bağlamındaki eleştirel yazın çerçevesinde oluşturulan bu temaların psikolojik danışma alanına olası yansımaları ele alınmış, sosyal adalet paradigması çerçevesinde psikolojik danışma alanına yönelik önerilere dikkat çekilmiştir. Güçlülük temelli müdahalelerde, iyi oluşun yanında benliğe yönelik neoliberal baskıdan özgürleşme vurgusu yapılmıştır.
... However, positive psychology has been criticised for ignoring the bleak reality of human existence (30,31), and to exclusively value positive emotions as beneficial and negative emotions as undesirable and therefore needing to be avoided. The critics argued that qualities such as optimism, when becoming unrealistic, could be counteractive and underestimate risks and, for instance, stimulate risky behaviour. ...
... (Study IV). 30 ...
... When you are successful at something, you feel good about yourself. These feelings bring about some confidence which is a feeling of self-assurance that is based on an awareness and appreciation of your abilities [1,2]. Therefore it can safely be assumed that a person has a good idea about who he is, and these feelings can easily be transferred to the formation of a positive self-esteem. ...
... In other words, that confidence that a person has is a feeling of assurance that is based on an awareness and appreciation of his abilities. This means that one is certain of his/her knowledge, abilities and skills, especially in situations where these will succeed [1,2]. That brings on what is called a positive self-esteem, which goes a bit deeper than self-concept because it has to do with self-respect and whether you understand and value your worth as a person. ...
... One of the most heated critiques on positive psychology is that it generates social pressure to be positive, optimistic or happy under all circumstances. Held (2002) described this as the "tyranny of the positive attitude" and claimed that the scientific findings of positive psychology are often communicated through the media as highly prescriptive: "We must think positive thoughts, we must cultivate positive emotions and attitudes, and we must play to our strengths to be happy, healthy, and wise" (Held, 2004, p. 12). This message also insinuates that unhappiness is unbearable, socially unacceptable and harmful. ...
... An extrapolation of the tyranny of positivity, particularly in individualistic cultures, is that individuals are responsible for their own happiness (Held, 2002). This implies that wellbeing or the good life is largely within individuals' control. ...
Book
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This book provides an accessible and balanced introduction to positive psychology scholarship and its applications, incorporating an overview of the development of positive psychology. Positive Psychology: The Basics delineates positive psychology’s journey as a discipline, takes stock of its achievements and provides an updated overview of its core topics, exploring the theory, research and interventions in each. Launched as a rebellious discipline just over two decades ago, positive psychology challenged the emphasis of applied psychology on disease and dysfunction and offered a new, more balanced perspective on human life. From its foundations in the late 20th century to recent “second-wave” theories around the importance of recognizing negative emotions, this compact overview covers the key ideas and principles, from research around emotional wellbeing, optimism and change, to posttraumatic growth and positive relationships. The first jargon-free introduction to the subject, Hart introduces the reader to a range of issues, including self-regulation and flow, character strengths and virtues and positive relationships, concluding with a chapter on how interventions can affect happiness and wellbeing. Positive Psychology: The Basics is an essential resource for students, practitioners, academics and anyone who is interested in understanding the essence of a life well lived.
... The findings of this study include unique contributions to four issues in happiness research that have not been sufficiently discussed: ethnographic and inductive investigations of happiness and happiness groups; resistance of everyday people to the dramatic pursuit of happiness ("the tyranny of the positive attitude" ;Held 2002); the link between self-awareness and happiness; and the connection between class, emotions, and the self-concept. ...
... The first thought dealt with the explicit facilitator preference for "positivity," optimism, and positive emotions for managing the "good life" and achieving personal well-being. This criticism resonates with a Held's (2002) description of "the tyranny of the positive attitude" and the "current cultural zeitgeist of positivity" (p. 972). ...
Article
This article offers a phenomenological examination of happiness through ethnographies in self-help groups for happiness ( happiness groups). The ethnographies reveal three major happiness scenarios— increasing self-awareness, eliminating self-awareness, and the art of not being yourself—with the increasing self-awareness scenario revealed as the most prevalent of the three. The findings describe the toolkit accompanying each of the happiness scenarios (main discourses, self-concepts, definitions, characteristics of happiness, and practices for attaining happiness). The common features of the three happiness scenarios—a unique engagement in self-awareness and types of happiness—are discussed. Similarly discussed is the degree of correspondence between the participants’ resistance and recent findings regarding the dark side of happiness and the conditions by which the pursuit of happiness may lead to other, possibly undesirable results.
... de verdad, así que es necesario aceptarlo y tramitarlo dentro de la relación terapéutica con cuidado, seguridad y ética.Lo anterior debemos leerlo no en el marco de una taxonomía del encuentro, que termine por desdibujar o limitar su riqueza y complejidad, más bien, nos da pistas para entender que los lenguajes y la experiencia del encuentro son más ricas y amplias de lo que nuestras palabras, reflexiones, pueden abordar.El encuentro supone a su vez un camino, en el que está presente la novedad, la incertidumbre, del no saber, ejercer una postura terapéutica, no implica un ejercicio absoluto de control sobre el encuentro.7.4.1 El encuentro con la tragediaUno de los señalamientos importantes alrededor del clínico y de su praxis, tiene que ver con la presencia de la tragedia, podemos estar tentados a usar palabras distintas que maticen dicha expresión, podemos usar distracciones, nombrarlo de otras maneras, sin embargo, al abordarlo desde un lenguaje fenomenológico que convoque la reflexión del autor, nos vemos convocados al diálogo que ejerce el terapeuta con su propia tragedia y cómo el devenir de la terapia involucra su comprensión(May, 1988).ParaMay (1967), la cultura norteamericana suele eludir una mirada y acercamiento a la tragedia, al respecto autores comoHeld (2002), harán una revisión histórica de dicha evasión y a su vez, señala cómo se instaló en su visión y dispositivos culturales una perspectiva de la felicidad, que se vuelve tiránica, privilegiando un lugar de la experiencia, anclada a los discursos de lo positivo. Alrededor de esto aparece enMay (1967) una clara advertencia, dirigida al terapeuta: el reconocimiento y esfuerzo de entender los matices de la experiencia humana, involucra el encuentro con su propia tragedia, entendida como saber de uno mismo, la confrontación con su historia, sucesos que involucra, limitaciones, frustraciones, pérdidas y reconocimiento de su propia vulnerabilidad. ...
Book
Full-text available
Este libro presenta una aproximación a la psicología clínica desde una perspectiva humanista mediante la delimitación de algunos postulados fundacionales y, dentro de ellos, de conceptos y orientaciones que incidan en la práctica del clínico. Sin embargo, dado que esta investigación no es exhaustiva en la literatura, pues no agota todos los momentos en la producción científica, ni considera a todos los autores y enfoques posibles, lo aquí expuesto debe entenderse como un insumo básico, orientador, de carácter relativo, perfectible y falsable. Propone conceptualizaciones y lógicas que describen, en cierta medida, fenómenos que pueden aparecer en algún grado en el escenario clínico, y pueden, por tanto, ayudar al psicólogo a ampliar su perspectiva frente una totalidad compleja. Desde luego, sin reivindicar la cosificación y reduccionismos de lo operativo, asunto con el que lecturas contemporáneas del humanismo psicológico difieren, sino que puede ayudar a conciliar una historia de la clínica general con la clínica de enfoque humanista, que en algunas mentalidades es irresoluble. La presente obra evidencia la necesidad de volver a las fuentes del enfoque humanista en psicología, para rastrear la forma en que desde allí se ha aportado a la construcción de la clínica, al tiempo que se pueda delimitar y clarificar el alcance y perspectivas futuras de la misma, para presentar nuevas investigaciones a los problemas actuales. Se pretende con esto construir una orientación para la reflexión y práctica en los entornos clínicos, procurando una conciliación entre los procesos clínicos tradicionales e institucionales y los énfasis en la situación terapéutica que realiza el psicólogo humanista, puesto que, si bien las finalidades clasificatorias no son originarias del humanismo, las dinámicas actuales de la aplicación de la psicología precisan de ciertos insumos para realizar una lectura psicopatológica diferenciada, y una comprensión y tratamiento de casos clínicos afines al diálogo interdisciplinar. Desde luego, ante la diversidad de enfoques humanistas, tanto conceptuales como terapéuticos, se han delimitado los elementos centrales del libro a las referencias conceptuales de Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Friedrich Perls y Rollo May, incluso no toda su producción, sino de sus obras más insignes. Primera edición, Medellín, Colombia: © Fundación Universitaria María Cano Agosto de 2022 ISBN: 978-958-53419-7-5 Tobón R., Javier y Correa R., Cristian Psicología clínica. Una perspectiva humanista/Javier Tobón R., Cristian Correa R.-1a. ed.-Medellín: Fondo Editorial Maria Cano, 2022 286p.; il.; Formato Cerrado: 21x29,7 cm-Formato Abierto: 42x29,7cm.
... de verdad, así que es necesario aceptarlo y tramitarlo dentro de la relación terapéutica con cuidado, seguridad y ética.Lo anterior debemos leerlo no en el marco de una taxonomía del encuentro, que termine por desdibujar o limitar su riqueza y complejidad, más bien, nos da pistas para entender que los lenguajes y la experiencia del encuentro son más ricas y amplias de lo que nuestras palabras, reflexiones, pueden abordar.El encuentro supone a su vez un camino, en el que está presente la novedad, la incertidumbre, del no saber, ejercer una postura terapéutica, no implica un ejercicio absoluto de control sobre el encuentro.7.4.1 El encuentro con la tragediaUno de los señalamientos importantes alrededor del clínico y de su praxis, tiene que ver con la presencia de la tragedia, podemos estar tentados a usar palabras distintas que maticen dicha expresión, podemos usar distracciones, nombrarlo de otras maneras, sin embargo, al abordarlo desde un lenguaje fenomenológico que convoque la reflexión del autor, nos vemos convocados al diálogo que ejerce el terapeuta con su propia tragedia y cómo el devenir de la terapia involucra su comprensión(May, 1988).ParaMay (1967), la cultura norteamericana suele eludir una mirada y acercamiento a la tragedia, al respecto autores comoHeld (2002), harán una revisión histórica de dicha evasión y a su vez, señala cómo se instaló en su visión y dispositivos culturales una perspectiva de la felicidad, que se vuelve tiránica, privilegiando un lugar de la experiencia, anclada a los discursos de lo positivo. Alrededor de esto aparece enMay (1967) una clara advertencia, dirigida al terapeuta: el reconocimiento y esfuerzo de entender los matices de la experiencia humana, involucra el encuentro con su propia tragedia, entendida como saber de uno mismo, la confrontación con su historia, sucesos que involucra, limitaciones, frustraciones, pérdidas y reconocimiento de su propia vulnerabilidad. ...
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Este volumen es un producto de investigación desarrollada en el proyecto Perspectivas en psicología clínica y psicopatología: delimitaciones conceptuales y estrategias de intervención adscrito al grupo de investigación Psique y Sociedad, del programa de psicología en la Fundación Universitaria María Cano. Dicho proyecto tiene como objetivo general la exploración de estructuras conceptuales y categorías psicopatológicas en diversos contextos clínicos, así como el estudio de los fenómenos clínicos desde diferentes modelos investigativos y alcances inferenciales, las dimensiones multicausales de lo psicopatogénico y los protocolos de intervención, diagnóstico y tratamiento. se realizó un acercamiento a la psicología clínica desde una perspectiva humanista y a la psicología humanista desde una perspectiva clínica a fin evidenciar las posibles relaciones y necesarias conceptualizaciones que un psicólogo clínico con enfoque humanista habría de considerar; desde luego, ante la diversidad de enfoques humanistas tanto conceptuales como terapéuticos, se han delimitado los elementos centrales del ibro a las referencias de Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Friedrich Perls y Rollo May, no de toda su producción sino de sus obras más insignes. Se pretende con esto construir una orientación para la reflexión y práctica en los entornos clínicos procurando una conciliación entre los procesos clínicos tradicionales e institucionales y los énfasis en la situación terapéutica que realiza el psicólogo humanista puesto que, si bien las finalidades clasificatorias no son originarias del humanismo y en general ajenas a él, también las dinámicas actuales de la aplicación de la psicología precisan de ciertos insumos para realizar una lectura psicopatológica diferenciada, y una comprensión y tratamiento de casos clínicos afines al diálogo interdisciplinar.
... The intrapersonal and interpersonal activities students engage in to support their wellbeing provide insights on how culture diversity may have varying degrees of impact on the needs of wellbeing, and help identify more universal wellbeing components that persist across multiple cultures. Also, contrary to Western cultures that assume that personal happiness with the absence of negative affect is one of the most values in life (Eid & Diener, 2009;Held, 2002;Morris, 2012), cross-cultural studies provide evidence that wellbeing has tended to be overlooked and that this assumption does not apply to non-western cultures, with some cultures are even averse to happiness (Joshanloo & Weijers, 2014;Suh, 2000;Uchida, Norasakkunkit, & Kitayama, 2004). Researchers also have called for studies that examine wellbeing across different circumstances and spheres of life, which can show considerable diversity (Alexandrova, 2013). ...
Article
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Whilst there is evidence of subjective wellbeing being related to academic success, good performance within and beyond university, degree attainment, and positive subsequent physical, mental, economic, and social outcomes in the university student population, less is known on how different student populations perceive, experience, and cultivate wellbeing. The current study explored the perspectives and experiences of one such population: Chinese international students at several universities across Australia. Semi-structured interviews with 30 students indicated that participants mainly experienced wellbeing through experiences of competence, feeling supported by family and friends, low levels of pressure, and giving to others. Almost half of the participants believed that people around them had low wellbeing. Students indicated drawing upon intrapersonal activities as the primary pathway to support their own wellbeing, whereas they pointed to interpersonal activities to support other’s wellbeing. The findings show the mismatch between students’ wellbeing experiences and pathways, shed light on understanding students’ wellbeing in the higher education context, and identify some of the contextual and cultural factors that contribute to wellbeing experiences and pathways. Implications for interculturally nuanced approaches to understanding and supporting wellbeing are considered
... However, we warn researchers and clinicians to refrain from only focusing on the positive in the context of living with dementia. Persons living with dementia should be provided opportunities for fully expressing their needs, challenges, losses and grief (Held, 2002). As previously stated, we advocate for full expression of strengths as well as difficulties within the unique lived experience of living with dementia. ...
Article
Background: Despite evidence that individuals' virtues and character strengths can contribute to a sense of fulfillment, the majority of dementia research focuses on losses and decline. To date, virtues and character strengths in persons living with dementia is an understudied phenomena. This study begins to addresses this gap in the literature. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to: (1) examine the expression of virtues and character strengths in persons living with dementia in the early stages; and (2) share implications and recommendations for strengths-based clinical practice and future research. Methods: Qualitative data was utilized to examine virtues and character strengths among persons living with dementia. This data was derived from semi-structured interviews with 25 persons living with dementia age 65 or older (average age of 77.88). The interviews were audio recorded with consent, professionally transcribed, audit checked, and subjected to Interpretive Phenomenological analysis which was informed by the Values in Action (VIA) framework. Findings: Each of the virtues and 24 corresponding character strengths from the VIA framework were observed in this sample. The most frequently observed character strengths were love, spirituality, perseverance, and gratitude. Implications: Persons with dementia continue to express virtues and character strengths in the context of cognitive and functional changes. Positive strengths-based research and clinical practice should highlight and build upon these individual virtues and character strengths.
... Les sociétés musulmanes valorisent généralement les émotions négatives (la tristesse) et les échecs, et croient que les difficultés et la souffrance peuvent contribuer au bonheur. À l'opposé, la conception hédoniste du bonheur, comme orientation dominante en occident, met l'accent sur la maximisation du bien-être subjectif (consistant en partie en l'absence d'émotions négatives) et rend difficile l'acceptation des difficultés, des affects négatifs et du malheur comme parties intégrantes possibles d'une bonne vie (Held, 2002 ;Robbins, 2008). ...
Article
Le bonheur au carrefour des conceptions occidentales et arabo-musulmanes : Caractéristiques, différences et impacts empiriques. Happiness at the crossroads of Western and Arab-Muslim conceptions: Characteristics, differences and empirical impacts RÉSUMÉ: Les conceptions psychologiques du bon-heur puisent quasi exclusivement dans des sources philosophiques occiden-tales 1 dominant les théories générales sur le bonheur et le bien-être, prévalant comme la norme dans la recherche en psychologie (Tadin, 2015). Or la psycho-logie en tant que science du comporte-ment aborde l'individu dans sa singula-rité, en particulier dans son contexte so-cioculturel. Nous posons la question de savoir si le bonheur en tant que détermi-nant du progrès universel social et hu-main couvre les mêmes dimensions et requiert les mêmes significations dans des cultures différentes (arabo-musul-manes2) de celle où il a été conceptualisé scientifiquement et empiriquement (culture occidentale). Cet article, sous forme de revue de questions d'une part 1 Le terme « occident » fait référence ici aux pays/sociétés qui partagent une culture, un système de croyances issus de l'Europe des Lumières, du moyen âge européen ou de l'Empire Romain et imprégnés par le christianisme. L'Occident regroupe des pays de l'Europe, de l'Amérique Latine, de l'Amérique du Nord, l'Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande voire même l'Afrique du Sud. 2 Le terme « culture arabo-musulmane » fait référence non seulement aux pays dont la langue officielle est l'Arabe, mais inclut également tous les pays qui se définissent comme des Etats musulmans abritant une majorité de population de confession musulmane (plus de 70 %). et de recherches empiriques dans la culture arabo-musulmane d'autre part, attire notre attention sur le fait que les dimensions du bonheur diffèrent d'une culture à une autre, ce qui impacte con-sidérablement sa mesure. Une analyse comparative entre la conception occi-dentale et la conception arabo-musul-mane du bonheur est apportée incitant à approfondir la réflexion sur l'universa-lité du concept du bonheur. Des pistes de recherches et d'actions sont propo-sées à la fin de l'article afin que la dimension socioculturelle du bonheur soit considérée comme un facteur à intégrer dans la mesure du bonheur humain uni-versel. MOTS-CLÉS Bonheur universel ; Bien-être, Vertus ; Religiosité ; Culture occidentale ; Culture arabo-musulmane. ABSTRACT: Psychological conceptions of happiness draw almost exclusively from Western philosophical sources, dominating general theories of happiness and well-being , prevailing as the norm in psychological research (Tadjin, 2015). Yet psychology as a science of behavior addresses the individual in their uniqueness, particularly in their socio-cultural context. We ask the question of whether happiness as a determinant of universal social 13 and human progress covers the same dimensions and requires the same meanings in cultures different (e.g., Muslim Arabs) from the one where it has been conceptualized scientifically and empirically (e.g., the West). This article, part a review of issues and part empirical research in Muslim Arabs' culture, draws our attention to the fact that the dimensions of happiness differ from one culture to another, which has a considerable impact on its measurement. A comparative analysis between the West's and the Muslim Arabs' conceptions of happiness is done to encourage further reflection on the universality of the concept of happiness. At the end of the article, further research and action is proposed such that the socio-cultural dimension of happiness is considered as a factor to be integrated in the measurement of universal human happiness.
... As disputas em torno do estatuto da psicologia positiva começam na própria definição desse projeto intelectual enquanto disciplina ou campo disciplinar. 1 Os fundadores da psicologia positiva, Martin Seligman e Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, referem-se a ela como um movimento preocupado em libertar a psicologia da órbita da doença, emulando uma renovada concepção de vida boa de fundo aristotélico e amparada por rígidos procedimentos de verificação científica. Seus críticos, como Ecclerstone e Hayes (2009), Held (2002) e Ehrenreich (2009), convergem na interpretação de que se trata de um subcampo da psicologia que, encontrando-se com uma poderosa demanda do mercado, converteu-se em uma espécie de secretariado da "indústria da felicidade", fornecendo a um crescente mercado de coaches e de escritores de autoajuda um léxico científico conveniente. Entre esses dois extremos, há autores que entendem que a psicologia positiva possui um braço acadêmico -no sentido clássico de uma "disciplina" ou "subdisciplina" -e outro, mais popular, ligado ao mercado da felicidade. ...
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Este artigo analisa um fenômeno intelectual – a psicologia positiva – a partir das relações que este estabelece entre as hierarquias disciplinares universitárias e outras plataformas de consagração. Através de uma análise do estatuto da psicologia positiva e de sua história institucional, o artigo almeja contextualizar os desafios que tal projeto impõe não apenas aos debates teóricos do campo da psicologia como, também, às fronteiras entre universidade e mercado. Para tanto, foram levados em consideração os processos de institucionalização da psicologia positiva nos Estados Unidos e no Brasil, bem como as críticas elaboradas em ambos os contextos.
... The study of grit and its components is rooted in the paradigm of positive psychology, yet this paradigm has been criticised on the grounds that it is binary and reductive, (Grant & Schwartz, 2011;Held, 2002Held, , 2004Ivtzan, et al., 2016;Wong, 2011;Wong & Roy, 2017). ...
Article
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Grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, is investigated as a predictor of academic success and well-being. This trait may have special importance for musicians’ functioning as their lives revolve around practice routines and mastering their craft for years. However, there is a growing recognition that extreme perseverance may be maladaptive in some cases. Persistent overinvolvement in goal-oriented activities is related to compulsive overworking, conceptualized within the behavioral addiction framework as work and study addiction. A previous study showed that study addiction is relatively highly prevalent among young musicians and has a clearly negative effect on their functioning. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between grit, study addiction, and psychosocial functioning among music academy students. It was hypothesized that perseverance of effort is related to well-being, grade point average (GPA), and study addiction, and that it becomes maladaptive for individuals addicted to studying. A cross-sectional correlational study was conducted among 213 music academy students in Poland. Perseverance of effort was positively related to GPA and study addiction. The relationships between perseverance of effort and self-rated general health, and between perseverance of effort and quality of life, were moderated by study addiction. The results suggest that grit may become maladaptive perseverance in the cases of individuals at risk of study addiction. Based on these findings, further investigations of grit among musicians, as well as further studies of the negative aspects of grit in general, are warranted. Implications for prevention and intervention programs are discussed.
... Las acciones preventivas y de atención psicológica y psiquiátrica durante la pandemia, que tienen sus orígenes en los inicios del siglo XX, se han desarrollado al amparo de lo que Barbara Held (2002) llama la tiranía de la actitud positiva, para referirse a la cultura de las virtudes optimistas que promueve el mantenimiento de una actitud positiva permanente (Prieto-Ursúa, 2006). En años más recientes, Lauren Berlant (2020) la denomina el optimismo cruel. ...
Chapter
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A unos meses de la pandemia por el virus del SARS-CoV 2 COVID-19, en 2020, especialistas en la salud mental comenzaron a hablar de las repercusiones a nivel mental y emocional generadas por el distanciamiento físico para guardar las medidas sanitarias –impuestas y voluntarias, según cada país– (Rubin, 2020). Rápidamente, en Europa se publicaron estudios psicosociales que reportaron la presencia de factores estresantes asociados con información inadecuada, falta de suministros, pérdidas financieras que se manifestaban en frustración, aburrimiento, miedo al contagio, síntomas de estrés postraumático, confusión, enojo y en casos extremos se reportaron intentos de suicidio por los llamados estresores de la pandemia (Brooks et al., 2020; Naciones Unidas, 2020).
... Their effectiveness rating for 'Develop skills for greater happiness, using self-help or professional coaching' was 3.1, while their average rating for ways such as 'Invest in friends and family' and 'Get physical exercise' was about 4. The general public seems to have a mixed attitude towards happiness advice and training. There is much interest but also a lot of scepticism and grumbles about the 'tyranny of positivity [43,44]. One of the reasons may be that the term 'happiness' is used to promote the particular trendy practices of the moment, such as meditation and veganism. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online ‘findings archive’, the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... Their effectiveness rating for 'Develop skills for greater happiness, using self-help or professional coaching' was 3.1, while their average rating for ways such as 'Invest in friends and family' and 'Get physical exercise' was about 4. The general public seems to have a mixed attitude towards happiness advice and training. There is much interest but also a lot of scepticism and grumbles about the 'tyranny of positivity [43,44]. One of the reasons may be that the term 'happiness' is used to promote the particular trendy practices of the moment, such as meditation and veganism. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 106 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 314 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was Prime Archives in Psychology: 2 nd Edition 3 www.videleaf.com approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... That is to say, it can end up promoting, even more than the previous message, dependence and the perception of need in the subject, functioning as a new natural religion. (Prieto Ursúa, 2007) In the same way that Held (2002) does not warn: ...
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In this article we contrast the concepts of affective development and emotional intelligence, and we relate the first to a dynamic view of psychic life and the second to an atomistic and compartmentalized view. We provide various empirical evidence to support this statement. In the first of these pieces of evidence, it is shown that the interaction between affects and cognition, manifested through affective bonds, is subject to evolution; while the second shows that the behavior of affects (emotions as they are commonly called in specialized literature) is erratic and non-progressive throughout the lives of individuals. From this evidence, it follows that the exclusive education of emotions does not lead by itself to a harmonic maturation of individuals, since it does not respond, naturally, to progressive improvement or growth. From the latter, it follows that the interaction between the cognitive and the affective must be taken into account in order to achieve authentic maturation and not resort to addressing emotions in isolation and without paying attention to the fact that affects act in interaction with the so-called processes. cognitive. This work also insists on the need to resort to a global explanatory theory of affectivity, whose application would improve the results obtained with the techniques that use the currents of so-called emotional intelligence and/or education.
... This is typical of what Henrich et al. (2010) described as WEIRD research (i.e., from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic countries). In this process, no attention was paid to worldview (ontological and epistemological) assumptions which attracted critique (for example by Held, 2002Held, , 2004Lazarus, 2003;Christopher and Hickinbottom, 2008). ...
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The positive psychology (PP) landscape is changing, and its initial identity is being challenged. Moving beyond the “third wave of PP,” two roads for future research and practice in well-being studies are discerned: The first is the state of the art PP trajectory that will (for the near future) continue as a scientific (sub)discipline in/next to psychology (because of its popular brand name). The second trajectory (main focus of this manuscript) links to pointers described as part of the so-called third wave of PP, which will be argued as actually being the beginning of a new domain of inter- or transdisciplinary well-being studies in its own right. It has a broader scope than the state of the art in PP, but is more delineated than in planetary well-being studies. It is in particular suitable to understand the complex nature of bio-psycho-social-ecological well-being, and to promote health and wellness in times of enormous challenges and changes. A unique cohering focus for this post-disciplinary well-being research domain is proposed. In both trajectories, future research will have to increase cognizance of metatheoretical assumptions, develop more encompassing theories to bridge the conceptual fragmentation in the field, and implement methodological reforms, while keeping context and the interwovenness of the various levels of the scientific text in mind. Opportunities are indicated to contribute to the discourse on the identity and development of scientific knowledge in mainstream positive psychology and the evolving post-disciplinary domain of well-being studies.
... De la tiranía psicopatológica a la tiranía de la felicidad Una lógica peligrosa derivada de la pp es que, en nombre de la ciencia, se puede promover una moralidad radical vestida de objetividad. Si los psicólogos humanistas e incluso los psicólogos positivos han efectuado fuertes críticas al reduccionismo psicopatológico, cabe preguntarse si estamos ahora ante otro reduccionismo proveniente de la tiranía de los discursos de la felicidad (Held, 2002). Ciertamente, vestida de una objetividad pura, emerge la felicidad como un discurso unitario que se impone en el orden social e individual. ...
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Resumen La psicología positiva suele ser presentada como un nuevo paradigma dentro de la psi-cología, su posicionamiento y crecimiento es evidente en términos de publicaciones acadé-micas, sin embargo, comparte marcos de in-terés que la vinculan con desarrollos previos asociados a la psicología humanista. En este sentido, este artículo de reflexión teórica bus-ca interrogar los discursos de la psicología po-sitiva como nuevo paradigma, al tiempo que pretende explicitar los diálogos y diferencias que comparte con la psicología humanista. A nivel metodológico, bajo una lógica herme-néutica, se llevó a cabo una estrategia de bús-queda documental en torno a estas cercanías y distancias expuestas en la literatura cientí-fica alrededor de estas ramas de la disciplina. El artículo destaca cómo ambas corrientes comparten un interés por lo salutogénico con visiones epistemológicas y metodológicas distintas en sus orígenes, pero con posibilida-des de diálogo en su devenir actual. Si bien se establecen y se presentan diferentes distincio-nes entre ambos enfoques, se concluye que el momento actual de la psicología convoca a es-tablecer discusiones fructíferas que den lugar a un marco epistemológico más amplio en lo teórico y metodológico, albergando así algu-nas inquietudes y focos de interés que ambos modelos comparten. Palabras clave: psicología, escuelas psicológicas, investigación psicológica, psicología humanista, psicología positiva. Abstract Positive psychology is usually presented as a new paradigm within psychology, it's positioning and growth is evident in terms of academic publications; however, positive psychology shares frameworks of interest that link it with previous developments associat
... This advances an American ideal of always maintaining a happy demeanor, and every movie needs a happy ending. But Held (2002) argued there is little empirical research affirming a person must possess a positive attitude to report a sense of wellbeing. Rather, pessimism can be a productive and healthy coping strategy (Norem, 2002). ...
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More than half of the students who start this year at a community college will not return to the same institution the following year. This persistent problem negatively impacts students, institutions, and society at-large. However, institutions that experience greater success in retaining students place academic advising initiatives at the core of their retention efforts. The Appreciative Advising Model (AAM) may be uniquely suited to promoting student persistence because the AAM engages a student in long-term planning, showing how their current and future academic efforts can be aligned to achieve their goals. Employing the AAM, advisors use open-ended questions to uncover a students' dreams, and then co-construct, with the student, a set of systematic goals uniquely tailored to help the student reach their dreams. As part of this study, the AAM was implemented as an innovation at a community college advising center. Guided by a framework that includes theories of social constructivism, positive psychology, and appreciative inquiry, this qualitative action research study employed semi-structured interviews and focus groups with students and advisors to explore their perceptions and experiences related to the AAM as a potential tool to enhance community college retention. The goal of this study was to chronicle the implementation of a new advising model for a community college-the AAM-study the perceptions and experiences related to the new model, and to assess the model's influence on a student's likelihood of persisting at their community college. This work increases the understanding of the AAM in a community college setting and results may have implications for community colleges, advising centers, and retention efforts.
... PP focuses on what makes life most worth living and aims to improve the quality of life with an emphasis on positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Research has shown criticism to its existing limitations and defects, such as reality distortion like positive illusions (Taylor and Brown, 1988;Kristjánsson, 2012;Kristjánsson, 2012), narrow focus (Taylor, 2001;Norem and Chang, 2002;Sample, 2003;Martin, 2006;Wong, 2016a;Wong and Roy, 2017), role of negativity (Held, 2002;Held, 2004;Schneider, 2011;Wong, 2016a;Wong and Roy, 2017), cross-cultural issues (Norem and Chang, 2002;Held, 2004;Becker and Marecek, 2008;Christopher and Hickinbottom, 2008;Chang et al., 2016;Wong, 2016a), problem of elitism (Wong and Roy, 2017), and toxic positivity (Gross and Levenson, 1997;Lomas, 2017;Lomas, 2018;Lomas, 2019;Lukin, 2019;Quintero and Long, 2019). ...
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The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of integrating meaning-centered positive education (MCPE) and the second wave positive psychology (PP2.0) into a university English speaking class. The study adopted Wong’s CasMac model of PP2.0 and designed a series of English lessons which aimed to understand the meaning of life through the perspectives of PP2.0 and its focus on MCPE. The participants were 38 university students, with upper-intermediate English proficiency, enrolled in an English speaking class. They participated in the English program for 15 weeks and 2 h each week. The quantitative data was collected from survey of the CasMac Measure of Character and analyzed with the paired t-test method, and the qualitative data analysis was collected from students’ weekly learning sheets and journals. The results show that the integration of MCPE and PP2.0 in a university English class is feasible to enhance students’ understanding of mature happiness through the CasMac model and to promote their meanings in life. According to the research findings, it is suggested that the CasMac model can be applied to other fields or other groups who need help to enhance life meaning and improve wellbeing. Particularly under the pandemic of COVID-19, there are people encountering traumas, losses, and sorrows and it is crucial to transform sufferings with the support of approaching mature happiness.
... Some criticism during the workshop was directed at what our participants felt was too much focus on positive emotions within the PPI they were shown. This criticism mirrors a larger discussion of what has been coined Tyranny of the Positive Attitude [33,34], a perception that PP attempts to ignore negative emotions despite their importance to a well-balanced psyche. It is not entirely clear how justified this perception was. ...
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Background Digital instantiations of positive psychology intervention (PPI) principles have been proposed to combat the current global youth mental health crisis; however, young people are largely not engaging with available resources. Objective The aim of this study is to explore young people’s attitudes toward various PPI principles to find ways of making digital instantiations of them more engaging. Methods We conducted an explorative workshop with 30 young people (aged 16-21 years). They rated and reviewed 29 common PPIs. Ratings and recorded discussions were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results Some interventions were conflicting with young people’s values or perceived as too difficult. Participants responded positively to interventions that fit them personally and allowed them to use their strengths. Conclusions Values, context, strengths, and other personal factors are entangled with young people’s attitudes toward digital instantiations of PPI principles.
... The general public seems to have a mixed attitude toward happiness advice and training. There is much interest but also a lot of skepticism and grumbling about the "tyranny of positivity" (Held, 2002(Held, , 2018. One of the reasons may be that the term "happiness" is used to promote the particular trendy practices of the moment, such as meditation and veganism. ...
Article
Full-text available
Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: (1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, (2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, (3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, (4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and (5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online “findings archive,” the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... That is, a positive psychology movement, juxtaposed to a rather rosetinted model with unidimensional happiness-enhancing activities. This "tyranny of the positive attitude" (Held, 2002) dominated the positive psychology agenda for a substantial time, thus limiting the opportunity to develop an interactive balanced approach that would embrace positive and negative dimensions of human functioning. ...
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As clinical psychology becomes a more integrative discipline, the introduction of positive psychology in the clinical realm has been a new promising trend. Several positive interventions to treat mental health difficulties have been recently developed, aiming to promote therapeutic change by facilitating increased well-being. The aim of this paper is to review the conceptual trajectories of positive psychology in the clinical domain throughout the last twenty years and to provide a comprehensive perspective toward a positive psychology-oriented psychotherapy. Current positive psychology theoretical, empirical, and practical insights are provided to illustrate how the integration of positive psychology in the clinical environment is theoretically and practically useful as well as scientifically valid. Clinical research evidence of the contemporary theories of well-being and self-determination is presented along with the most recent empirical findings on the efficacy of positive psychology interventions in the mental health system. Examples of evidence-based positive psychology interventions further exemplify the ways of integrating positive psychology treatments into clinical practice. Such a synthesis of the evidence regarding the outcomes of positive clinical interventions can expand the research and practice of clinical psychology and may contribute to broadening the role of clinical psychologists in promoting well-being along with treating distress.
... The general public seems to have a mixed attitude toward happiness advice and training. There is much interest but also a lot of skepticism and grumbling about the "tyranny of positivity" (Held, 2002(Held, , 2018. One of the reasons may be that the term "happiness" is used to promote the particular trendy practices of the moment, such as meditation and veganism. ...
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Most people want to be happy and many look out for opportunities to achieve a more satisfying life. Following a happiness training is an option, but the effectiveness of such training is being questioned. In this research synthesis we assessed: 1) whether happiness training techniques add to the happiness of their users, 2) how much happiness training techniques add to happiness, 3) how long the effect of happiness training lasts, 4) what kinds of training techniques work best, and 5) what types of groups of people profit from taking happiness training. We took stock of the available research and found 61 reports of effect studies on training techniques, which together yielded 179 findings. These findings are available in an online 'findings archive', the World Database of Happiness. Using links to this source allows us to condense information in tabular overviews, while providing the reader with access to much detail. Happiness training techniques seem to do what they are designed to do: 96% of the studies showed a gain in happiness post intervention and at follow-up, about half of the positive results were statistically significant. Studies with cross-sectional designs and studies that used control groups showed more mixed results. The average effect of happiness training was approximately 5% of the scale range. We conclude that taking a form of happiness training is advisable for individuals looking for a more satisfying life. Since happier workers tend to be more productive, organizations would be wise to provide such training techniques for their workforce.
... Labels influence perceptions of people via several mechanisms, such as by stigmatizing the person (stigma being "an attribute that is deeply discrediting"; Goffman, 1986, p. 3), and through selffulfilling prophecies in which the person acts in a manner that fits the label (Taylor & Bogdan, 1989). For example, in the United States, those who express unpleasant emotions and those who have affective traits that society deems undesirable (e.g., negative affectivity; Held, 2002), are stigmatized as negative, immoral, and unsuccessful, among others, whereas those who express happiness are perceived as moral, successful, and courageous, for example (Goldings, 1954;Sommers, 1984). Because people attribute undesirable, stable characteristics to those who express unpleasant emotions (Karasawa, 1995), they may shun them (e.g., Mauthner, 1999) or avoid helping them (e.g., Karasawa, 1995). ...
Article
Management researchers typically categorize and discuss emotions by referring to them as “positive” or “negative.” This terminology may create value judgments of emotions, through which people perceive emotions and those experiencing them in a symmetrical manner (i.e., favorably judging positively-valenced emotions, unfavorably judging negatively-valenced emotions). We conducted three exploratory studies examining this assertion. In Study 1, we compared how people perceive valence-based terminology (“positive”/“negative”), relative to feeling-based terminology (“pleasant”/“unpleasant”) and found that valence-based terminology generally led people to evaluate things more symmetrically than feeling-based terminology, hence creating a larger value-judgment. In Study 2, we experimentally examined how using valence-based, feeling-based, or neither terminology influences perceptions of envy, anger, and the people experiencing them. In many cases, both valence- and feeling-based terminologies led to more symmetrical attitudes toward emotions and people, relative to using neither terminology. In Study 3, we investigated alternative terminologies for describing emotions. While none of the terminologies definitively mitigated value judgments, we tentatively advocate for researchers to adopt either a feeling-based (“pleasant”/“unpleasant”) or feeling-specific terminology (“pleasant-feeling”/“unpleasant-feeling”). We discuss how our findings inform managerial research, teaching, and practice, and broader implications for describing other management-related constructs (e.g., “dark” personalities) and research streams (e.g., “positive” organizational behavior)."
... In comparison, there is a great emphasis in Euro-American culture on positive self-regard and high self-esteem. Positive perception of oneself has been historically a part of the American culture, and the push for high self-esteem is on the rise in the contemporary U.S. society (Heine and Lehman, 1999;Held, 2002). This cultural emphasis is reflected in our finding that Euro-Americans portrayed themselves in a positive light. ...
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For many centuries philosophers, artists, and psychologists have been fascinated by a search for the “true self.” Cumulative scientific knowledge suggests that the answer to the popular question, “who am I?” depends on the context in which it is asked and on the kind of self-knowledge one is asking about. In the study reported in this chapter, we demonstrated the ways that cultural contexts influence two kinds of self-knowledge: the extended self (or autobiographical memory) and the conceptual self (or self-concept; Neisser, 1988). European American and Israeli college students (N = 202) reported their earliest childhood memory in a memory questionnaire and provided self-descriptions in a shortened Twenty Statements Test (Kuhn and McPartland, 1954). The average age at earliest memory of Americans was almost 8 months earlier than that of Israelis. Americans reported lengthier and more self-focused memories than Israelis, who tended to provide brief accounts of childhood experiences centering on collective activities. Compared with Americans, Israelis also included a greater number of interdependence and relationships in their self-descriptions and described themselves in a more self-critical manner. We discussed the findings in light of the culturally constructed nature of the self.
... Diante desse cenário, a Psicologia Positiva torna-se atraente e palatável para o grande público por abordar temas que conversam com demandas atuais da sociedade; assim, vem sendo utilizada em diferentes contextos e aplicações, como na educação, em organizações e no desenvolvimento pessoal. Em contrapartida, autores criticam a Psicologia Positiva pela forma como ela pode potencializar a tirania do pensamento positivo, pois entendem que esse discurso acaba por supervalorizar contrutos relacionados ao bem-estar e rejeitar os deficits ou aspectos negativos da saúde mental (Held, 2002;Warren, 2009;Brinkmann, 2017). Logo, torna-se importante diferenciar o jargão positivo e a ciência. ...
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Positive Psychology is now a consolidated science and there is much evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of its interventions on health and well-being. However, the expansion of non-academic PP and the appropriation of its ideals by the media indicate the need for reflection on the consequential validity of studies in the area. From this perspective, the article aims to a) characterize PP and discuss its expansion, considering the incorporation of precepts of PP by the media and the marketing consequences of a self-centered and utilitarian conception of happiness, oblivious to collective demands, b) problematize, in ethical and social terms, the use of positive constructs in non-academic practices and provide evidence that interventions involving positive constructs can have unfavorable effects on people or society when decontextualized, and c) consider epistemological differences of the three waves that characterize the movement and discuss the future of the area.
... Algunos autores han venido reforzando la idea de que la Psicología Positiva incluye aspectos negativos relacionados con la búsqueda de la felicidad. Held (2002) apuntaba la idea de la culpabilidad frente a la incapacidad de sentirte bien, dicho de otro modo, el sentimiento de fracaso por no ser capaz de mantener una actitud positiva, algo que posteriormente otros autores identificaron como la "trampa de la felicidad" (Harris, 2010) y otras condiciones psicopatológicas similares como las descritas en la perspectiva de la hiperreflexividad (Pérez-Alvárez, 2012). En línea con lo anterior, determinados estudios muestran que la persecución y experiencia de felicidad pueden producir resultados negativos cuando es desmesurada, si está fuera de lugar, o se persigue por encima de todo (Gruber, Mauss y Tamir, 2011). ...
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This book provides in its first three chapters’ contents about important theoretical-conceptual and empirical aspects of Positive Psychology and logotherapy, such as subjective wellbeing (including happiness and satisfaction with life), psychological wellbeing and its dimensions (described by Carol Ryff in her multidimensional model) and meaning in life. In the last chapter, theoretical-conceptual and empirical relationships between the main concepts of both psychological perspectives are exposed.
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In the context of climate change and its accompanying impact on stress and mental health, we argue that positive psychology (PP) may benefit from an integration of spirituality to better support people’s wellbeing. Starting with an overview of climate change’s impact on wellbeing and health, we explore the paradoxical and complex relationship between humans and nature. Following which, we will briefly define spirituality and present an evocative metaphor of the wave to portray the evolution of the field of PP. In our conclusive remarks, we argue that the field of PP has gradually become more open to integrate spirituality (since the first wave), as it evolves towards greater complexity (in its third wave). In addition to meaning, some spiritual perspectives potentially relevant to positive psychology facilitate an ecocentric view (i.e., eco-spiritualities) which allow for a better understanding of the paradoxical human-nature relationship, as we struggle to deal with the complex issues related to climate change.
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Materialistic values and lifestyles have been associated with detrimental effects on both personal and planetary health. Therefore, there is a pressing need to identify activities and lifestyles that both promote human wellbeing and protect ecological wellbeing. In this Personal View, we explore the dynamics of a psychological state known as flow, in which people are shown to experience high levels of wellbeing through involvement in challenging activities that require some level of skill, and can often involve less materially intensive activities. By synthesising the results of a series of experience sampling, survey, and experimental studies, we identify optimal activities that are shown to have low environmental costs and high levels of human wellbeing. We also confirm that materialistic values tend to undermine people's ability to experience a flow state. In seeking to understand the reasons for this negative association between materialism and flow experiences, we are drawn towards a key role for what psychologists call self-regulation. We show, in particular, that the tendency to experience a flow state can be limited when self-regulatory strength is low and when people evade rather than confront negative or undesirable thoughts and situations. We reflect on the implications of these findings for the prospect of sustainable and fulfilling lifestyles.
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Background Many previous studies have proved that positive psychology can promote mental health. However, little is known about how and when it promotes mental health in older adults. Methods The data of this study were sourced from the 2017 wave of Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS), involving 1,537 older adults aged 60 and above. OLS regression model was used to explore the impact of positive psychology on mental health of the elderly. Moreover, stata 16.0 was used to measure the moderating effect of individualism on the relationship between positive psychology and mental health. Results After controlling for demographic characteristics, socio-economic status and lifestyle factors, the regression results suggest that positive psychology was associated with mental health (coefficient = 0.112, p < 0.01). In addition, the positive relationship was significantly stronger for people who were older, married, lived in urban areas, with higher education and higher subjective social class position, and higher exercise frequency. Moreover, the moderating effect analysis results suggest that individualism strengthened the relationship between positive psychology and mental health. Conclusions This study reveals that positive psychology has a positive effect on mental health among the elderly, and the positive health effect shows significant age, marital status, living areas, education background, social class position and physical exercise inequalities. Furthermore, this study also provides new evidence indicating that individualism positively moderates the relationship between positive psychology and mental health. Promoting positive psychology can be a promising way for China to promote psychological care for the elderly in the future.
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This chapter considers the significance of hope, fear and other emotions for developing effective climate crisis education. This includes examining both problems with invocations of climate hope; but also worries about the possible harmful effects that fear, panic and anxiety in relation to the climate crisis are claimed to have. The chapter suggest that one way out of these conflicts is to return to the theory and practice of a “pedagogy of hope,” that is most closely associated with Paulo Freire, but has a long history as a core component of education projects committed to radical social transformation among leftist, feminist and anti-racist activists and educators.
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Rationale Supporting people to live well with dementia is an international government priority. People living with dementia experience a range of positive emotions despite the challenges associated with dementia. Further research is needed to explore how these positive experiences can be fostered to support well-being. There is empirical evidence of the benefits of gratitude in other clinical groups, but no studies have explored how gratitude is experienced by people living with dementia. Methods In this mixed-methods study, eight people living with dementia shared their experiences of gratitude through interviews and gratitude diaries. Qualitative data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Quantitative data regarding diary use were analysed using descriptive statistics. Findings and Conclusions Gratitude holds interpersonal and transpersonal meanings for people living with dementia, balanced with challenges of dementia and ageing. This study offers insight into the existence and relevance of gratitude for people living with dementia, highlighting the importance of using multiple methods in dementia research. Positive psychology interventions informed by these findings may be effective in supporting well-being for people with dementia.
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Positive Psychology 2.0 brings with it a focus on balancing the study of wellness to include negative conditions that also contribute to growth. Struggle is one such aspect that is inherent to positive change, both within individuals and across social systems. In Islam, struggle is a key component of life. The benefits of positive struggle include the development of character strengths and virtues on an individual level as well as engagement in collective actions toward social justice. This chapter provides a brief look into the ways in which Islamic psychology and Muslim psychology are differentiated in contemporary research. Consideration is given to the importance of Justice, Identity, Healing, Acceptance, and Dogma (JIHAD) as areas of struggle in Muslim communities. These also serve as organizational themes of the current compilation to showcase the move towards a positive psychology of Islam and Muslims.
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Problem: Depression is spreading rapidly worldwide. It has been forecasted to become the leading cause of disability worldwide by 2030, despite significant efforts and in-vestments made to treat it. This menace has been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic which has triggered psychological distress and a surge in experiences of emptiness, sadness, and loss of meaning in life. Meaninglessness is one of the biggest threats of our times and is associated with depression and suicide. Gap: Existential psychotherapy has been neglected by researchers and remains misunderstood by the new generation of clinicians as an integrative approach to the prevention and treatment of depression, despite being one of the longest-established forms of psycho-therapy. Objective: To address the above gap, recommendations, and emerging risks. Methodology: Review of theoretical and empirical findings, and autoethnography taking a scientist-practitioner stance. Results: A comprehensive, practical, integrated, flexible, and evidence-based model for the prevention and treatment of depression, and other internalizing disorders. Utility: This model will be of interest to researchers, practitioners, students of psychology, and the wider public. Conclusion/Recommendations: The model can be used to promote preventative factors in youth development, develop protective factors in high-risk populations with vulnerability to depression, and treat individuals experiencing depression or other internalizing disorders.
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Background: Lipschutz ulcer, also known as vulvae acutum ulcer, is an acute ulcer in the vulva. The aetiology and pathogenesis of Lipschutz ulcer are unclear, but it is known to be associated with infectious diseases such as Mycoplasma infection, paratyphoid fever, influenza A, and most infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This ulcer appears in adolescent females aged 14–20 years old, with 70% of cases occurring in virgin women. Purpose: To review the causes of non-Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) ulcers, so clinicians can establish an accurate diagnosis and rational therapy; therefore, minimizing the psychological impact on the patient due to possible misdiagnosis of STD-induced ulcer. Case: A painful wound in the genital area of a 20-year-old virgin woman. She was diagnosed with Lipshutz ulcer and vulvovaginal candidiasis based on the anamnesis, physical examination, and laboratory examination obtained from vaginal discharge using potassium hydroxide, Gram staining, and blood test to exclude genital ulcer caused by the sexually transmitted agent. A blood test was taken, including the serological tests for syphilis and genital herpes. Tests for EBV were also performed. The patient was treated only with single-dose fluconazole 150 mg orally and saline compress on the ulcer. Genital ulcer and vaginal discharge improved one week after treatment. Discussion: Lipshutz ulcer management is symptomatic, usually self-limiting, and disappears spontaneously within 1–2 weeks without recurrences. It can also occur as a single lesion with possible coinfection of other agents, for example, candidiasis, which in this case, requires treatment of comorbidities. Hygiene factors play an essential role in preventing occurrence of the secondary infection and further development of the disease. Conclusion: The diagnosis of Lipshutz ulcer is mainly based on clinical manifestation after excluding several possible ulcers that can affect the genital area, including sexually transmitted infections.
Article
Aristotle proposed that to achieve happiness and success, people should cultivate virtues at mean or intermediate levels between deficiencies and excesses. In stark contrast to this assertion that virtues have costs at high levels, a wealth of psychological research has focused on demonstrating the well-being and performance benefits of positive traits, states, and experiences. This focus has obscured the prevalence and importance of nonmonotonic inverted-U-shaped effects, whereby positive phenomena reach inflection points at which their effects turn negative. We trace the evidence for nonmonotonic effects in psychology and provide recommendations for conceptual and empirical progress. We conclude that for psychology in general and positive psychology in particular, Aristotle’s idea of the mean may serve as a useful guide for developing both a descriptive and a prescriptive account of happiness and success.
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The Routledge International Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures explores central lines of enquiry and seminal scholarship on therapeutic cultures, popular psychology, and the happiness industry. Bringing together studies of therapeutic cultures from sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, politics, law, history, social work, cultural studies, development studies, and American Indian studies, it adopts a consciously global focus, combining studies of the psychologisation of social life from across the world. Thematically organised, it offers historical accounts of the growing prominence of therapeutic discourses and practices in everyday life, before moving to consider the construction of self-identity in the context of the diffusion of therapeutic discourses in connection with the global spread of capitalism. With attention to the ways in which emotional language has brought new problematisations of the dichotomy between the normal and the pathological, as well as significant transformations of key institutions, such as work, family, education, and religion, it examines emergent trends in therapeutic culture and explores the manner in which the advent of new therapeutic technologies, the political interest in happiness, and the radical privatisation and financialisation of social life converge to remake self-identities and modes of everyday experience. Finally, the volume features the work of scholars who have foregrounded the historical and contemporary implication of psychotherapeutic practices in processes of globalisation and colonial and postcolonial modes of social organisation. Presenting agenda-setting research to encourage interdisciplinary and international dialogue and foster the development of a distinctive new field of social research, The Routledge International Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in the advance of therapeutic discourses and practices in an increasingly psychologised society.
Chapter
In this final chapter, I provide the reader a brief synopsis of the theory. I discuss the emerging trend in positive psychology, coined as the “Second Wave.” I then discuss two well-accepted definitions of quality of life, health, and mental well-being, namely the definitions provided by WHO (WHOQOL: Measuring quality of life, 1997) and Garlderisi et al. (World Psychiatry, 14, 231–233; 2015). In doing so, I compare these definitions to the definitions related to positive balance and positive mental health as introduced in this book. Lastly, I compare selected models of mental health that involve hierarchical concepts of quality of life to my proposed theory, models proposed by Wilson and Cleary (The Journal of the American Medical Association, 273, 59–65; 1995), Dambrun et al. (Frontiers in Psychology, 3, article 16; 2012), Huta and Waterman (Journal of Happiness Studies, 15, 1425–1456; 2014), and Lomas, Hefferon, and Ivtzan (Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 1347–1364; 2015).
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The theory of positive balance can be summarized as follows. Individuals with high levels of positive mental health are characterized to experience: (1) a preponderance of neurochemicals related to rewards (dopamine, serotonin, etc.) relative to neurochemicals related to stress emotions (cortisol), at a physiological level; (2) a preponderance of positive affect (happiness, joy, etc.) relative to negative affect (anger, sadness, etc.), at an emotional level; (3) a preponderance of domain satisfaction (satisfaction in salient and multiple life domains such as family life, work life, etc.) relative to dissatisfaction in other life domains, at a cognitive level; (4) a preponderance of positive evaluations about one’s life using certain standards of comparison (satisfaction with one’s life compared to one’s past life, the life of family members, etc.) relative to negative evaluations about one’s life using similar or other standards of comparison, at a meta-cognitive level; (5) a preponderance of positive psychological traits (personal growth, environmental mastery, etc.) relative to negative psychological traits (pessimism, hopelessness, etc.), at a development level; and (6) a preponderance of perceived social resources (social acceptance, social actualization, etc.) relative to perceived social constraints (social exclusion, ostracism, etc.), at a social-ecological level. Furthermore, well-being at each hierarchical level contributes to a higher-order construct of well-being from the physiological level all the way up to the social-ecological level.
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Resilience is a concept which may help explain how older people are able to live well with dementia. Existing resilience research in dementia focuses on the caregiver and relatively little is known about how dyads (person with dementia and care partner) experience resilience. Using constructivist grounded theory, this qualitative study aimed to develop a theory of shared resilience amongst couples where one partner is living with dementia. Interviews were conducted with 12 dyads (n = 24) to explore their shared understanding of resilience, what helps to develop and maintain their resilience and how resilience shapes their relationship and mutual well-being. Findings indicate that resilience was experienced as continuing with a “normal” life as a couple notwithstanding the impact of dementia. This is in contrast to models of resilience which emphasize bouncing back or flourishing in the face of adversity. Instead, couples described a shared resilience that enabled them to maintain their couplehood, a sense of togetherness and reciprocity in their relationship, which in turn provided a further source of resilience. Findings emphasize the importance of dyadic research in developing a clearer understanding of the experience of living well with dementia. Interventions aimed at building resilience should engage dyads to consider how the couple's shared resilience can be maintained and enhanced.
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The terms 'quality-of-life', 'wellbeing' and 'happiness' denote different meanings; sometimes they are used as an umbrella term for all of value, and the other times to denote special merits. This paper is about the specific meanings of the terms. It proposes a classification based on two bi-partitions; between life 'chances' and life 'results', and between 'outer' and 'inner' qualities. Together these dichotomies imply four qualities of life: 1) livability of the environment, 2) life-ability of the individual, 3) external utility of life and 4) inner appreciation of life. This fourfold matrix is applied in three ways: firstly to place related notions and alternative classifications, secondly to explore substantive meanings in various measures for quality of life and thirdly to find out whether quality-of-life can be measured comprehensively. This last question is answered in the negative. Current sum-scores make little sense. The most inclusive summary measure is still how long and happily people live.
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W. Wilson's (1967) review of the area of subjective well-being (SWB) advanced several conclusions regarding those who report high levels of "happiness." A number of his conclusions have been overturned: youth and modest aspirations no longer are seen as prerequisites of SWB. E. Diener's (1984) review placed greater emphasis on theories that stressed psychological factors. In the current article, the authors review current evidence for Wilson's conclusions and discuss modern theories of SWB that stress dispositional influences, adaptation, goals, and coping strategies. The next steps in the evolution of the field are to comprehend the interaction of psychological factors with life circumstances in producing SWB, to understand the causal pathways leading to happiness, understand the processes underlying adaptation to events, and develop theories that explain why certain variables differentially influence the different components of SWB (life satisfaction, pleasant affect, and unpleasant affect). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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investigating disclosure in psychotherapy requires a measure of disclosure, and I will begin this chapter with some conceptual distinctions among measures, as a way of introducing the measure used / after reviewing some of my research on disclosure in psychotherapy, I will conclude with some theoretical speculations [Verbal Response Model] disclosure in psychotherapy [clients disclose a lot, disclosure correlated with good process, disclosure uncorrelated with psychotherapy outcome, disclosure correlated with psychological distress, experimental link between anxiety and disclosure] / theoretical accounts: the fever model and beyond [responsiveness and the process–outcome correlation problem, the assimilation model and some final speculations] (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In the 20th century, the practice of psychology has usually been based on a scientific or objective theory of human behavior. Today, an influential countermovement, often called social constructionism, argues that there is no basis for our beliefs or values beyond the swirl of meanings and practices in a particular community or era. Re-envisioning Psychology examines the increasing dissatisfaction with both scientific and social constructionist viewpoints and presents a new vision of theory and practice in psychology. In this book, the authors explore the moral underpinnings of the practice of psychology, question its social meaning, and offer a vision of an interpretive and cultural psychology for the new millennium. This original approach attempts to get at the root of fragmentation and confusion in modern psychology. It shows how practitioners and researchers can acknowledge and even prize their social and moral commitments while still taking a rigorously critical approach to examining their theories and practice. The authors argue that this reframing of psychology in terms of interpretation and dialogue can propel psychology to greater social relevance and responsibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Outlines the steps to revitalize psychotherapy by harnessing the client's own powers of regeneration and enlisting the client's own perceptions, and thereby making treatment more effective and accountable. This approach advocates for the client's voice in all aspects of therapy and shows how to tailor both relational stances and treatment approaches to each client's personal goals. The authors present a simple, valid, and reliable way of legitimizing therapy to 3rd party payers using client feedback about the process and outcome of therapy. Based on clinical research and field-tested experience, this book seeks to challenge therapists to rethink the process of therapy, recast clients in their rightful roles as heroes and heroines in their own therapy, and help therapists establish an approach beyond the limits of the medical model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Ever since systematic thought has been recorded, the question of what makes men and women happy has been of central concern. Answers to this question have ranged from the materialist extreme of searching for happiness in external conditions to the spiritual extreme claiming that happiness is the result of a mental attitude. Psychologists have recently rediscovered this topic. Research supports both the materialist and the mentalist positions, although the latter produces the stronger findings. The article focuses in particular on one dimension of happiness: the flow experience, or the state of total involvement in an activity that requires complete concentration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This book describes the clinical application of the growing body of ideas and practices that has come to be known as narrative therapy. The primary focus is on the ways of working that have arisen among therapists who . . . have organized their thinking around 2 metaphors: narrative and social construction. [This book is a text] for anyone curious about narrative, ready to have customary ways of seeing the world challenged, and eager to adopt clinical practices that give precedence to people's voices and stories. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Presents an overview of research on the effects of an optimistic orientation to life on psychological well-being. The chapter begins by commenting on a distinction between two ways of assessing optimism and pessimism. Then the authors review some of the empirical evidence linking positive thinking to well-being, focusing on prospective studies in both health- and nonhealth-related contexts. They then consider why optimism might confer benefits, arguing that the benefits are due, in part, to the way in which optimists and pessimists cope with problems. The conclusion addresses whether or not the effects of optimism are always good and the effects of pessimism are always bad. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night, published in 1936, explores still-topical questions about the relation of epistemological and ethical values, and about the place of women in the life of the mind. In her wry reflections on the radical differences between today's feminist philosophy and Sayers' no-nonsense observation that “women are more like men than anything else on earth,” Susan Haack draws both on this detective story and on Sayers' wonderfully brisk essay, ‘Are Women Human?’
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We report the results of research investigating temperamental characteristics of children in the People's Republic of China and the US using a parent-report instrument, the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ), defining temperament as individual differences in emotional, motoric, and attentional reactivity and self-regulation. Subjects were 624 6- to 7-year-old children, from Shanghai and the north-western region of the US. The 15 CBQ scales were factored for both samples, employing a principal axis factor analysis with an oblique rotation. Our findings indicated considerable similarity of factor structure in the two cultures, obtaining three factors labelled Surgency, Negative Affect, and Attentional Self-Regulation or Effortful Control. Differences across cultures were also found, with Surgency and Effortful Control scores being relatively higher than Negative Affect in the US sample and Negative Affect being relatively higher than Surgency and Effortful Control in the Chinese sample. Gender differences were also found to vary across cultures. Our findings are congruent with a view of underlying cultural similarities in temperamental variability across these cultures, influenced over time by the children's culturally varied experience.
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Although early research suggested that the performance of emotional labor had deleterious effects on workers, recent empirical investigations have been equivocal. The performance of emotional labor appears to have diverse consequences for workers—both negative and positive. Variation in the consequences of emotional labor may be due to the different forms of emotion management involved. There is also evidence that the effects of emotional labor are specified by other work conditions. The effects of two forms of emotional labor on work stress, job satisfaction, and psychological distress—self-focused and other-focused emotion management—are explored using data from a survey of workers in a large organization. Results indicate that both forms of emotional labor have uniformly negative effects on workers, net of work complexity, control, and demands. Emotional labor increases perceptions of job stress, decreases satisfaction, and increases distress. Self-focused emotion management has the most pervasive and detrimental impacts. There is little evidence of interaction effects of work conditions and emotional labor.
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The paper begins with the articulation of key assumptions central to contemporary constructionist scholarship. This is followed by an analysis of the issues in the social construction of the self. To this end several major lines of inquiry along with their socio-political implications are brought into focus. Finally, an alternative to traditional conceptions of self, one that emerges distinctly from social constructionist theory is presented. KeywordsCulture–Community–Individualism–Language–Relational Self–Social construction
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In this path-breaking book, economists and scholars from diverse disciplines use standard economic tools to investigate the formation and evolution of normative preferences. The fundamental premise is that an adequate understanding of how an economy and society are organized and function cannot be reached without an understanding of the formation and mutation of values and preferences that determine how we interact with others. Its chapters explore the two-way interaction between economic arrangements or institutions, and preferences, including those regarding social status, the well-being of others, and ethical principles. Contributions have been written especially for this volume and are designed to address a wide readership in economics and other disciplines. The contributors are leading scholars who draw on such fields as game theory, economic history, the economics of institutions, and experimental economics, as well as political philosophy, sociology and psychology, to establish and explore their arguments.
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Aversive behaviors have greater influence on social interactions than is generally acknowledged, determining personal satisfaction, interpersonal attraction, choice of partners, and the course of relationships. What motivates aversive behaviors? To what extent do they obtain desired outcomes? In what ways are they unnecessary and destructive? How do other people respond, emotionally and behaviorally? These are just a few of the many interesting questions addressed by the 16 respected researchers who contribute to Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors. Nine chapters give this heretofore neglected subject the attention it is due, probing a dark side of interpersonal relationships to understand both its destructive and adaptive nature.
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I recently read about a contest to determine who had the most creative vanity license plate. The inscription on the winning license plate was “AXN28D+.” For those who, like myself, are less than skilled at decoding some of these tags, the plate translates into “Accentuate the Positive.” Although certainly a valuable guide for living life, this phrase also reflects the approach that social and behavioral researchers have taken in their investigations of social interactions and relationships. Rather than focusing on the broad spectrum of human behavior, emphasizing both the positive and negative facets of personal relationships, scientists studying personal relationships have tended to “accentuate the positive.”
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Alot has been written over the past few weeks on the abilities of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to do the jobs required of them. Much of this has focused on concerns that they lack the management capacity, the experience and the basic bargaining power to achieve many of their core functions, such as commissioning better hospital services for their populations.
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This article examines the field of psychotherapy as an interesting and illustrative example of human science inquiry. Three approaches to understanding human intentionality and action that have appeared in theories of psychotherapy over the years are distinguished. Naturalist approaches assume explanation involves describing underlying causes operating beneath the surface phenomena of thought and action. In recent years, difficulties this view encounters in doing justice to human agency have given rise to constructionist conceptions of psychotherapy. In this view, action is structured by narratives or stories understood as free creations that swing free of any facts and do not involve discovering any truth about a person's life or history. The author suggests that this approach involves a number of excesses and shortcomings and argues for a more moderate, narrativist viewpoint that draws on the ideas of ontological hermeneutics.
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Common to social constructionists and cognitive linguists is a retreat from the ontological issues of subjective experience to a combination of pragmatism and nominalism. What's gained is escape from conundrums of subjective experience; what's lost is psychological realities and self-determination. The postmodern bonus offer is to join with others in checking our observations of actions and functions. Take the offer and you can show, but not own, agency. My argument is, `That's not agency.'
Article
Descartes and Cartesians such as Harwood Fisher (1995) claim that human agency is only known to us as such intellectually, through supposed linguistically indifferent concepts or ideas of agency centering it unproblematically in isolated individuals. In claiming, as I do, that our different ways of being an agent are socially constructed, I do not deny that individuals may have a unique sense of the relation of their own activity to their own circumstances, or that they initially react in unique ways to shows of agency in others. But what I do deny is that when formulating claims as to the meaning of their own activities, individuals should be treated as the sole authorities as to the appropriate voicing of any such claims. Fisher fails to notice the ineradicably linguistic and normative nature of our everyday social relations to each other.
Article
In her assessment of Ansoff (1993), Kenwood (1996) argues that there is room for personal volition and agency in social constructionism. This assertion is examined in light of the social constructionist doctrine of ontological mutism enunciated by Gergen, according to which any ontological commitment is refused and `whatever is, simply is'. An ontology of the individual-as-agent is considered, and the consequences of ontological mutism are explored. It is argued that a clear commitment to the grounding assumptions of some settled ontology is a prerequisite for coherent considerations of agency or even volition, because without such a commitment it is impossible to decide what exists and if it moves.
Article
In his 1993 paper `Finding a Home for a Psychology of Volition' Rick Ansoff claims that social constructionism `has no need for a concept of volition'. It is argued here that this claim is mistaken. Social constructionism necessarily entails such a concept, whether or not it is made explicit in particular social constructionist accounts. It is further argued that social constructionism not only provides a `home' for volition, it offers as well an understanding of the concept that escapes many of the problems associated with traditional accounts. It is thus less a matter of social constructionism's needing volition than it is one of volition's needing social constructionism.
Article
Over the last decade the therapeutic industry has begun to question the foundations for its own knowledge claims. Unable to retreat into logico-empiricism and naive realism because of its own internal critique of these philosophical positions, it has sought solace in hermeneutics and postfoundationalist epistemology. Through an examination of debates within psychotherapy process research, it is possible to chart the development of this linguistic turn. The end of the search for therapeutic certainties has certain repercussions which have, hitherto, been neglected by theorists and clinicians, whose desire to escape some of the constraints of scientism sits uneasily alongside an unshakeable commitment to therapeutic practices which are essentially normative.
Article
Social Constructionism (SC), with its redefinition of social realities as constitued through discourse, and its challenges to traditional notions of a stable and essentialized self, carries sweeping implications for applied psychology. My aim in this paper is to clarity the basic agenda of SC, and to suggest that a judicious cross-fertilization with concepts and procedures originating in constructivist forms of psychotherapy can provide a useful and relevant frame for counselling practice
Article
The contribution hermeneutic philosophy can make to reflection on issues in psychology is shown through a critique of the "positive psychology" movements inaugurated in the special issue of the American Psychologist edited by M. Seligman and M. Csikszentmihalyi in 2000. Drawing on the broad historical sense advocated by hermeneutics, it is shown that the conceptions of the good life defended by the contributors to the special issue might turn out to be limited to the rather narrow range of questionable and shallow ideals of contemporary Western consumerist economy. In particular, the attempt made by Shelley E. Taylor, et al. (2000) to show that "positive illusions" are conducive to a good life is shown to rest on dubious conceptions about what is genuinely worthwhile in life. As an alternative to the somewhat arid conception of human existence presupposed by the authors contributing to the special issue, Heidegger’s (1962) conception of authentic existence is put forward as a hermeneutically inspired basis for rethinking what constitutes the richest and most fulfilling life for humans.
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Myers and Diener (1995) asked “Who is happy?” but examined the question of who is more and who is less happy In fact, most people report a positive level of subjective well-being (SWB), and say that they are satisfied with domains such as marriage, work, and leisure People in disadvantaged groups on average report positive well-being, and measurement methods in addition to self-report indicate that most people's affect is primarily pleasant Cross-national data suggest that there is a positive level of SWB throughout the world, with the possible exception of very poor societies In 86% of the 43 nations for which nationally representative samples are available the mean SWB response was above neutral Several hypotheses to explain the positive levels of SWB are discussed
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Recent debates about psychology's conception of self have appealed to the growing literature on postmodernism. As a contribution to this debate, five definitive principles of postmodern thought are presented as descriptions of contemporary culture. The implications of these principles for conceptions of self and personality are explored. Their relation to prominent aspects of contemporary culture, relevant psychosocial studies and theoretical formulations are examined. Our analysis suggests that a decentralized, flexible and pluralistic self is emerging in contemporary culture. A series of theoretical challenges to modem views of self are presented and sociopolitical implications noted.
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The rapidity with which therapy, as discourse and as clinical—professional practice, has become established in contemporary culture is subjected to a searching deconstructive critique. Specifically, it is argued that therapy's pretensions to being a legitimate professional, clinical practice are not only highly questionable, but actually constitute a self-serving and ethically questionable ideology. The ‘scientific’ status of therapy as a modernist enterprise is argued to be fundamentally undermined by new-paradigm epistemologies. It is further argued that, in its professionalised, commodified form, therapy can become routinely and intrinsically abusive to the extent that it self—fulfillingly constructs a framework which then serves to guarantee its own legitimacy within a discursive ‘regime of truth’. Parker's important work on discourse and power is drawn upon to illustrate these radical arguments, and to make the case for an approach to therapy which is ongoingly and processually deconstructive of its ‘professional’ ideologies and clinical practices, if the kinds of dangers outlined are to be avoided. Such deconstruction would also include an ongoing and explicit interrogation of ‘therapy’ as an historically specific, evolving and, it is submitted, transitory cultural practice. Deep and honest ethical reflection is needed on the nature of therapy, and on the possibility of developing more healthily appropriate socio-cultural forms for helping people with their ‘difficulties of living’.
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In a well‐known paper “Illusion and well‐being”, Taylor and Brown maintain that positive illusions about the self play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health, as well as in the ability to maintain caring inter‐personal relations and a sense of well‐being. These illusions include unrealistically positive self‐evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of personal control, and unrealistic optimism about one's future. Accurate self‐knowledge, they maintain, is not an indispensable ingredient of mental health and well‐being. Two lines of criticism are directed against the creative self‐deception hypothesis, one methodological and one substantive. First, it is argued that Taylor and Brown's method of eliciting experimental subjects’ self‐reports and comparative self‐ratings under artificial experimental conditions lacks ecological validity and phenomenological realism. Second, it is argued that positive illusions diminish the range of reactive other‐regarding attitudes and emotions that people can adopt. A literary case history (Ibsen's The wild duck) which satisfies the criteria of ecological adequacy is used to illustrate the latter point.
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Current outcome studies indicate that cognitive-behavioral approaches are significantly more effective than nondirective strategies in treating depression. By reconceptualizing depression as an attentional deficit in self-focused attention, the present author provides an explanation for the nonspecific superiority of cognitive-behavioral strategies over nondirective techniques. It is suggested that reflection of affect may heighten self-awareness to detrimental levels in depressed patients already predisposed toward an internal (self) focus of attention. The state of self-focused attention is discussed in terms of its relationship to depression. Relevant research and clinical evidence support the hypothesis that an effective ingredient in treating depression lies in the negative reinforcement inherent in realigning client attention away from negative affect. Client–therapist interactions are discussed in relation to focus of attention. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Anyone who has ever entrusted a troubling secret to a journal, or mourned a broken heart with a friend, knows the feeling of relief that expressing painful emotions can bring. This book presents evidence that personal self-disclosure is not only good for our emotional health, but boosts our physical health as well. The author has conducted controlled clinical research that sheds light on the mind–body connection. This book interweaves his findings with case studies on secret-keeping, confession, and the hidden price of silence. "Opening Up" explains: How writing about your problems can improve your health; How long-buried trauma affects the immune system; Why it's never too late to heal old emotional wounds; and When self-disclosure may be risky—and how to know whom to trust. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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[This book is intended] for clinicians, theoreticians, and researchers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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M. Seligman (1999) has called for the development of a positive psychology that explores and cultivates human strengths and virtues. It is argued here that virtue represents an important and challenging construct with the potential to integrative numerous areas of positive psychology science and practice. The construct of virtue will be defined by engaging the moral philosophy of virtue ethics, and contemporary literatures on virtue in psychology will be briefly reviewed. Affirmative postmodern contributions and challenges to a positive psychology of virtue will be discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In this book, the authors challenge the medical model of the psychotherapist as healer who merely applies the proper nostrum to make the client well. They see the therapist as a coach, collaborator, and teacher who frees up the client's innate tendency to heal. The self-healing tendency of the client usually overrides differences in technique or theoretical approach, which is why research continually finds different approaches to therapy work about equally well. If the client is the driver of change, how can therapists help? Often, by simply providing an empathic workspace that allows the client's capacity for generative thinking to thrive. The authors share tips for dealing with client resistance, passivity, and maladaptive behavior. This book will be of interest to those who care about the nature of therapeutic change. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Demonstrates that self-help programs are experiencing explosion growth; that psychologists are to be credited with a substantial body of research dating back to the 1970s; that this research demonstrates the potential of self-help programs; that some psychologists have failed to heed the results of studies by rushing to market with exaggerated product claims; and that the American Psychological Association has itself set a poor example and failed to advance clear standards. These points are not intended as a criticism of self-help. Rather, they serve as an observation of psychology's failure to advance self-care. Psychologists are encouraged to meet the challenge that self-care presents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In recent years it has been taught that the neurotic or the psychotic is "not sinful but sick, the helpless, innocent victim of 'the sins of the fathers,' and could be rescued only by a specialized, esoteric form of treatment… . I suggest that, as between the concept of sin (however unsatisfactory it may in some ways be) and that of sickness, sin is indeed the lesser of two evils." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The discourse of postmodernism proclaims with a unified voice the context-dependence or knower-dependence, the relativity or subjectivity, of all truth claims. But the discourse of postmodernism also proclaims universal truths upon which this antirealist epistemology itself rests. These constitute the very foundational claims that the postmodernist (PM) campaign, in all of its alleged antifoundationalism, strives to subvert. In this article, the author considers 3 universal truth claims of PM discourse. And because the antirealism that defines much of PM discourse is often grounded in the doctrine of social constructionism (SC), the 3 truth claims under consideration constitute the claims of SC itself, especially the claims of SC as it has been propounded within postmodern therapy circles. Each of the 3 claims is articulated, and then followed by a critique which asks whether the claim is not either (1) simply a variant of the so-called modernist paradigm that is under attack, or (2) the product of the very observational/empirical powers that PM doctrine seeks to erode in its anti-empiricist spirit. Particular attention is give to challenging the value, found within postmodern circles, of a pragmatic or utilitarian standard for acceptance of theory or discourse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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in contrast with the [therapeutic] practices informed by the termination-as-loss metaphor, . . . outline a model of the final stage of therapy as a rite of passage from one identity status to another / this passage centers around the person joining with others in a familiar social world and encourages the recruitment of others in the celebration and acknowledgment of the person's arrival at a preferred destination or status in life / refer to those therapies that are informed by these practices as therapies of inclusion / describe a therapeutic practice that encourages clients to document the ways in which they have resisted and surmounted the dominant stories of their lives—stories organized around their problems, symptoms, and socially ascribed pathologies outline a protocol for establishing clients as consultants to themselves and to others / present and categorize an array of questions that assist clients in engaging in an archaeology of their alternative [solution] knowledges, in a way that makes such knowledges more available for future use (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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"Emotion, Disclosure and Health" addresses some of the basic issues of psychology and psychotherapy: how people respond to emotional upheavals, why they respond the way they do, and why translating emotional events into language increases physical and mental health. Drawing on work in clinical, social, personality, and health psychology, as well as medical anthropology, the authors address these issues, drawing some stimulating conclusions about how an understanding of disclosure and health may be applied in clinically useful ways. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this study is to advance our understanding of how doctoral students perceive postmodernism's influence in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). According to the literature, postmodernism has had a profound impact on many fields, including MFT. However, tracking of how postmodernism is actually being rendered in theory, research, practice, and training warrants investigation. This study utilized focus group interviews to investigate the perceptions of MFT doctoral students. Findings suggest that while participants are attracted to postmodern tenets, they also report feeling a mixture of liberation and excitement with confusion and fear regarding how postmodernism is influencing MFT models of therapy.