Harvard puts Positive Psychology class online for free

Skrevet d. 2-10-2014 02:23:51 af Paul Tesar

Some people put out this happy pop psych stuff that labels itself "positive psychology," but has no empirical data behind it. Anything you learn in a positive psychology class or read in the Journal of Positive Psychology is peer reviewed, legit stuff. It's a new branch and everyone wants to be happy, so there are people making this pseudo science "positive psych" stuff to make money, but it isn't really valid. In my opinion, studies about optimal experience, flow, happiness, etc. are very necessary and super interesting. There major principles of psychology before WWII, and after the war those were lost, according to Seligman: "Before World War II, psychology had three distinct missions: curing mental illness, making the lives of all people more productive and fulfilling, and of identifying and nurturing high talent. Right after the war, two events -- both economic -- changed the face of psychology: in 1946 the Veterans Administration was founded, and thousands of psychologists found out that they could make a living treating mental illness. At that time the profession of clinical psychologist came into its own. In 1947, the National Institute of Mental Health (which was based on the American Psychiatric Association's disease model, and is better described as the National Institute of Mental Illness) was founded, and academics found out that they could get grants if their research was described as being about pathology." Positive psychologists argue they are filling the void of making lives productive, fulfilling, and nurturing talent. All in all, positive psychology is a really cool field. People hate on it because some people have taken a Dr. Phil pseudo science bullshit approach to it to try to cash in on the popularity of "science can make you happy!" I'm in a positive psychology class with Ken Sheldon, a professor who was at the original conference where the term positive psychology was coined. He has done a whole lot of awesome studies. If you read the right stuff, positive psychology is just as rigorous as other fields in psychology. I recommend the Journal of Positive Psychology if you want to know more. Psychologists are so engrained in the pathology model: "What is wrong? Let's fix it." It takes a very medicinal metaphor to it: "Do you have a cold? Let's give you a pill." That sort of thinking. Where that might be great, positive psychology says, well what if we are approaching it wrong? What if we actually focus on what is right with people and that will create a better experience? Personally, I think it's both: sometimes you need to fix stuff, but you can't fill a void with nothing. You need to supplant the void with optimal experiences. It has its faults, and some people can be too rosy. A lot of detractors think positive psychologists say, "just think happy and you will be fine!!" when that isn't that case in a lot of the good literature you read. If anyone has beef with positive psychology, or wants to know more, I would be glad to send them some really good journal articles their way.



 

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