Positive Psychotherapy is a unique therapeutic approach that moves away from focusing on what's wrong or negative to what's good and positive. Our therapists strive to help individuals explore, identify, and build up their strengths, and use novel innovative ways to encourage them to view their mental health concerns in ways that would enhance their resilience, giving them an active role in their healing process and helping them to increase positive emotions, engagement, and meaning rather than directly targeting symptoms. Through Positive Psychotherapy, we empower people with the skills they need to achieve a sense of inner balance, relying on all of the resources they possess through body, spirit, mind, and emotion by using the three tenets of hope, balance and self-help.
Psychological Disorders and Concerns
Positive psychology was born out of the need to scientifically study the positive aspects of life. The theory of positive psychology has evolved greatly over the last few years, as an ever growing body of research uncovered the building blocks of happiness and well-being.
Through multiple studies Martin Seligman found that the extent to which people were aware of and using their “signature strengths” (for example: courage, persistence or wisdom) greatly impacted the quality of their lives.
He spent years developing a theory of well-being he called PERMA model. The model comprises 5 elements, that create the foundation of a flourishing life:
Barbara Fredrickson and her broaden-and-build theory explains that positive emotions can build our physical, intellectual and social abilities. She hypothesized that by broadening our awareness and thought-action repertoire we look for creative and flexible ways of thinking and acting. This broadening effect builds skills and resources, overtime.
Flow is an experience of optimal psychological functioning, where we are completely absorbed in a task that slightly exceeds our skill level, and therefore, require us to stretch to a new level of performance.
“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
As humans we are hard-wired to connect with others. We have a need for connection, love, physical and emotional proximity with others. Babies depend on others to care for them and are unable to survive on their own.
Not only that, we also develop and learn about life and the world we live in through the interactions with other people and the perspectives they offer us
Studies have shown that the one thing that distinguished happier people was the quality of their relationships.
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is behind one of the longest and most complete studies of adult life. The study followed two cohorts of men for 75 years since 1938. These men answered surveys regarding the quality of their marriages, job satisfaction, social activities (every two years) and were also monitored on physical health (every five years).
The study had one question to answer: What keeps us happy and healthy? The answer came across three aspects that all point in the same direction: good relationships.
Seligman believes the level of well-being we experience can be affected by our choices, attitudes and behaviors. He states however, that there are no shortcuts. It takes effort and persistence.
And while, positive emotions are necessary to a healthy life, to foster a deeper more enduring sense of well-being, we need to explore meaning
Martin Seligman defines meaning as:
“Using your signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are.”
“as a preface to the meaningful life and that while it is possible take drugs to generate the effects of positive emotion and pleasure through pharmacology, it is not possible to synthesize the positive effects of being in the flow or of experiencing meaning.”
Studies consistently show that people who feel personally involved in achieving their goals, indicate higher well-being and are in better health than people who lack a sense of direction in their lives.
Research has consistently found that individuals who feel personally involved in the pursuit of goals indicate higher psychological well-being and display better health than individuals who lack a sense of direction in their lives.
Nevertheless, not all goals contribute equally to well-being. Research shows that the goals that lead to well-being are personally meaningful.
In the early 1960’s, Seligman was working on Byron Campbell’s lab at Princeton University. At that time the prevailing theory of motivation was drive reduction theory: all animals act out of the need to satisfy their own biological needs.
However, in 1959, Robert White published a work that went against drive reduction theory called “Motivation reconsidered: the concept of competence”. In it, he argued that people and animals often acted simply for the sake of mastery over the environment.
Seligman found this to be true. Accomplishment is often pursued for its own sake, even if it doesn’t translate into increases in positive emotions, meaning or the quality of relationships.
Some endeavors are simply worthwile and contribute to well-being.
“I’m trying to broaden the scope of positive psychology well beyond the smiley face. Happiness is just one fifth of what human beings choose to do.”– Martin Seligman
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