I have just come across a recent branch of psychology called positive psychology. Nettes got a couple of books out of the library that I read when I got the chance - Authentic Happiness and Flow.
Authentic Happiness not only describes happiness psychologically but also outlines some empirical research on it. . I liked the way Seligman uses such terms as forgiveness and hope when looking at aspects of happiness from different time perspectives. We were so impressed that we actually bought this book
Flow is about the experience of being absorbed in our work. Flow’s spiritual side is more to do with controlling our consciousness nevertheless spirituality does appear to be an important element in positive psychology.
I am also still reading Spiritual Intelligence – which is written by Christian author Brian Draper and uses the term flow and appears very much in line with what positive psychology is saying.
Positive psychology books appear popular with life coaches and I also have noticed a link to a life coach on the Greenbelt site who recommends some of these positive psychology books.
This new school of thinking appears strong on application and it may be a good counterpoint to some recent thinking that takes a more post-modern or discursive approach. Understanding that each of us is a product of our culture and has a unique perspective is important. But I wonder if such a critical approach to psychology can leave us too cynical. If in the end it leaves you without anything that you can be sure of doesn’t it start to undermine any application? I think I prefer the approach of positive psychology.
I was also lent the book Human Givens which again we so impressed with that we brought. This is about a rapidly growing new approach to therapy taught at Mindfields College. This is the approach being used by in our area by Springs to Life in their All Being Well project. Some have called this approach ‘the missing heart of positive psychology.’
Is it possible to have a positive psychology overdose?