Positive Psychology Essay

1400 words - 6 pages

Positive Psychology has been criticised and praised for its seemingly narrow perspective on psychological trauma and how its best dealt with. The exploration of both the development of the field and its socio-psychological implications lead to an understanding of its necessity. The function and purpose of Positive Psychology in its social context have led to it being referred to as the “Popular psychology of America”. This opens it to criticisms as being whimsical and unrealistic. Limitations of positive psychology due to its dismissal of Determination and how this functions in the development of neurosis are often targeted. In this paper I would like to propose that understanding the evolution of its principles will uncover its relevance. This paper provides evidence that the evolution of positive psychology and its subsequent arrival as one of the most important developments in psychology is down to its affectivity.

Positive Psychology is a recent psychological development which key objective is, using scientific method, to identify and promote satisfaction in life. It promotes foremost that finding meaning in life is done by either consciously or sub-consciously implementing ways in which one can find well-being. Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi summated it as the focus on nurturing talents and genius, thus, making normal life more fulfilling. These aims are tantamount with a re-focussing of psychological factors. Focussing away from the pathology of psychological disease to a simple striving for positivity (Lazarus 2003 Ch. 4). According to Seligman, the ‘father’ of positive psychology, “Positive sentiment, Engagement, Relations, Meaning, Purpose and Achievement are the 5 measurable elements that make up Well-Being”(Seligman 2011). Although positive psychology is growing there’s a myriad of criticism available focussing especially on its one-dimensional perspective. Lazarus 2003 explains in depth how these problems amplify the ways in which Positive Psychology falls short. Problems in regards to the Methodology, Conception and Subjectivity of Positive Psychology make evident how, despite Evidence of the affectivity of positive psychology it may not be applicable in all therapeutic situations. Questioning how positive psychology is applied to a client and how that application could be regulated when encountering such a diverse range of ethics, morals and traditions.
While the criticisms in regards to the subjectivity of what someone’s definition of positivity and fulfilling are very relevant, Positive Psychologies basis on empirical evidence both proves that when that definition of positivity is sought after fulfilment can arise, this than leads to other questions. What personal attitudes bring positivity and fulfilment? How does attributing positivity to experiences fuel success and performance? And, in accordance to the principles of positive psychology, perhaps the answer to how one may live a meaningful existence may simply...

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