What is Positive Psychology?

Positive Psychology is a form of therapy developed by Nossrat Peseschkian in Germany in 1968. The author discovered that using stories and fairy-tales as well as examples of other cultures, the patient is more prone to becoming capable of broadening his perspectives over his own problems, issues and conflicts and he can look at himself as well as to others from different angles, enabling the patient to treat his conflicting thoughts, ideas and situations. Dr. Peseschkian is responsible for the idea which states that if there are certain diseases and conflicts within a family and they are transmitted within the family (persons/society) then the family itself (person/society) has the capacity to cope with that specific problem or conflict. In other words, the patient can become his own therapist.

what is positive psychology psychotherapy therapy healing

Positive Psychology is based on a positive image of the human being, which pinpoints the fact that the human being was gifted with 4 types of capacities: physical, mental (psychological), social and spiritual. All diseases and all disorders are being interpreted in a new, more positive way, by using in its interpretation stories, quotes, fairy tales and examples from other cultures. The patient is being encouraged to play an active role in his own healing. Positive psychology believes that the human being is a whole made up of 4 parts: body, mind, emotions and spirit. The therapeutic process purpose is to help the client/patient to develop his innate capacities to find his balance in the daily activities. The patient is being encouraged to become a therapist for his family and for his closest ones in the sense that if he understands himself, he is able and better equipped to help his close ones, either by guiding them or sharing his experiences. Positive psychology uses methods from other disciplines too in order to make the patient’s adjustments processes to flow.

Positive psychology / therapy must be distinguished from the positive psychology practised by Dr Martin Seligman, whose books and insights into the field of psychology is very profound too, however different.

jason-leung-what is positive psychology psychotherapy therapy healing
Photo Credit – Jason Leung

“Defnition of ‘Positive’
According to Martin Seligman and his positive psychotherapy / positive psychological interventions, “positive” denotes a constructive initiative in intention or attitude, showing optimism and confidence, a good affirmative, or constructive quality or attributes. Here the word “positive” focuses on the resource side: well-being; strengths and virtues; etc. that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrive.
Whereas, Positive Psychotherapy (according to the definitions of Nossrat Peseschkian)
defines “positive” in an etymological way. “Positive” from its Latin meaning comes from
“positum” – the things set in front of you in terms of the factual thing, the ‘whole’ thing. Here,it means the combination of good and bad things, strengthening and weakening aspects, etc. Therefore, “positive” here does not focus exclusively on the resource side: the resource side just completes the picture.
Psycho-therapeutic interventions keep in mind both aspects: problem solving; and also
sources of strength, coping and well-being. Te ‘holistic’ meaning of “positive” contains:
positive in concept of men; positive in believing in undeveloped capabilities; positive in
functions and meaning of the symptoms; and positive in solution-orientated processes”

You can read more about the history of positive psychotherapy and positive psychology approaches in this document.

what is positive psychology psychotherapy therapy healing

One thought on “What is Positive Psychology?

  1. Great assessment of the field of positive psychology! I especially like how you outline the 4 basic needs of people including physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. I really emphasize a holistic balance of each of these components in order to move towards a state of well-being. I really enjoy writing posts pertaining to topics related to positive psychology in order to help people live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Feel free to check out the content and leave any contributions that you would like as well. Great post, keep up the great work, and stay well!


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