Title

Positive Psychology: History In The Remaking?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2008

Published In

Theory And Psychology

Abstract

Positive psychology has figured itself as no less than a revolutionary reorientation of psychology, one that makes individual 'flourishing' the primary object of study and intervention. There are clear comparisons to be made between this movement and earlier ones that have embraced both individualism and an ethos of adjustment, such as the popular mind cures of the late 19th century and the influential mental hygiene movement of the early 20th century. We argue for a focus beyond the individual in isolation, a perspective that takes in the totality of the social environment and an ethical stance that values social engagement and activism. We further call for more nuanced conceptions of happiness, virtue, and strengths, as well as for more socially informed theorizing about human flourishing. Finally, we suggest that positive psychology, with its growing assortment of applied uses, serves to address the acute market pressures facing clinical psychologists today.

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