My Introduction to Positive Psychology

When you think of psychology, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Therapy? Counselling? Lying down on a bed, ready to discuss your parents? Medication?

Mainstream or traditional psychology often has somewhat negative connotations to it today. As an outsider looking in, and even as someone who has been involved in and studying psychology, it is easy to think that psychology has become a science to ultimately work out what is wrong with people. Research and treatment methods have been focused on fixing human minds, seeing them as flawed and sometimes even diseased in some way and in need of repair.

Whilst it is extremely important to research ways to help relieve distress, whether that be remedying illnesses such as dementia or mental health issues, traditional psychology often forgets just how amazing we, as humans, can be. In 1998, a new president was elected in APA (American Psychology Association) who introduced the need and promising hope that humans can thrive, have the desire to thrive and the science behind happiness. This man was Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology.

If you would like to find out about Positive Psychology in video form, then why not watch my video below. If you prefer reading, then carry on reading 🙂

If you type Positive Psychology into your favourite search engine, you may see a couple of definitions. One definition is “The science of happiness and well-being” or similarly “the science behind what it means to be happy”. Other definitions focuses on Positive Psychology being what makes humans thrive and flourish. My favourite definition, however, is Positive Psychology being the science which studies what makes life worth living. Personally, I feel the one statement encompasses the other definitions and does what it says on the tin. It is positive, it focuses on life being more than simply surviving and also has a bit of power behind it.

Despite it’s relatively new introduction in the psychological world, Positive Psychology is based on both holistic, mindful and philosophical teachings from ancient times as well as Humanistic Approaches and the research and studies by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. It adopts the mindset that people are able to grow, thrive and strive towards their potential and find happiness in that journey.


Unlike other fields of psychology, Positive Psychology focuses on the strengths of humans rather than the weaknesses. It highlights the achievements and areas in which we succeed, rather than revisiting areas of pain and sorrow and how that had had a detriment to our lives. One important note to remember is that Positive Psychology is not toxic positivity. It does not claim that negativity does not exist or can be avoided, nor does it state that traditional psychological interventions should not be used. Positive Psychology 100% acknowledges the need for traditional therapeutic styles such as traditional CBT or counselling. It also emphasises that life happens and that every single one of us will experience negativity at some points in our lives.

How it helps

However, the job that Positive Psychology delivers is the opportunity for people to learn ways to understand that even in the darkest times, there can still be a light at the end of the tunnel. It prepares people by building their strengths and values in advance so that when adversity comes, we are better prepared for it. It helps us to find the little things in the everyday life which brings a smile to our faces, which in turn can help us better serve the community and relationships around us to make for a happier world to be in.

In just a short amount of time, Positive Psychology has grown a fairly large following, with new degrees being added, new interventions being created and research being conducted. Models such as the 3 Pillars and the PERMA model have already paved the way for psychologists and service users alike to better the lives of everyone.

I hope you found this brief introduction to Positive Psychology useful! How do you like to incorporate a little positivity into your daily life?

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