A paper on Positive psychology

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Context: Film and movie analysis

Introduction The science of the positive subjective experience has dominated the discipline of psychology for some time. It is concerned with identifying positive individual traits and creating positive institutions that promise to improve the individual traits of human beings. Positive psychology is mainly concerned with the positive aspects that are in human life. These include happiness, flourishing and well-being. It is mainly concerned with unearthing traits that contribute to the positive life of man (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). A big part of psychology studies focuses on the negative part of human beings than the potentials. Therefore, positive psychology fully focuses on the potentials of human beings. The discipline does not, however, seek to solve the problems, but on researching the things that contribute to make life worth living. This paper examines what contributes to positive psychology and its present status. What is positive Psychology? Positive psychology has been defined differently by different psychologists. In fact, many scholars have viewed positive psychology as a solution to many modern ills. However, this is not the case. Positive psychology instead provides a different interpretive lens to the worldview. As such, it has been able to provide novel answers to several questions that have existed for a long time, hence shining a light of inquiry to neglected corners of psychology. Different authoritative scholars have provided different meanings for positive psychology with core themes but different interpretation and consistencies. According to Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), the subjective level in the field of psychology is concerned with the valued subjective experiences of human beings. These include contentment, satisfaction and well-being (past); optimism and hope (for the future); and happiness and flow (in the present). Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) observe that positive psychology can be viewed at further two level, individual and group level, apart from the subjective level. At the individual level, the individual level focuses on positive individual traits such as courage, the capacity for love, interpersonal skills, perseverance, aesthetic sensibility, future mindedness, originality, forgiveness, high talent, spirituality, and wisdom. The group level concerns institutions and civic virtues that enable citizens to move towards a better citizenship. These include nurturance, responsibility, moderation, altruism, work ethic and tolerance. Sheldon and King (2001), observe that positive psychology represents the ordinary scientific study of human virtues and strengths. It is concerned with investigating an average person in order to find out things that work, things that are right and things that need to be improved. To Sheldon and King (2001), positive psychology simply represents psychology. Gable and Haidt (2005) have also offered another definition, which states that positive psychology investigates conditions and processes that lead to the optimal functioning or flourishing of institutions, people and groups. All the definitions given contain related themes although they can be interpreted differently. However, the definitions have contributed heavily towards the understanding of positive psychology. There are different views that need to be considered in order to clearly the meaning of positive psychology. Positive psychology has to be looked at from a meta-psychological level. In this level, the aims of positive psychology are explained. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), observe that positive psychology aims at catalyzing a change in the way people view psychology. That is, from the preoccupation that psychology only gives remedy to worst things in life to the focus that it builds positive qualities. This is to imply that psychology should entirely focus on the breadth of human experience ranging from suffering, loss, distress and illness through to connecting them with well-being, health and fulfillment. From the meta-psychological view, positive psychology seeks to create balance between research attention and practice objectives. Psychology majorly focuses on the negatives of human life, and that what is bad is stronger than what is good (Rozin and Royzman, 2001). Positive psychology, therefore, seeks to concentrate on human strengths rather than weaknesses. What constitutes positive psychology is valuable and authentic, and it automatically represents the normal human experiences than is the case in psychology, which traditionally focuses on distress, dysfunction and psychopathology. The meta-psychological view of positive psychology can also be viewed from an aspect of shared language. Positive psychology has created an alternative lens from which human experience can be understood. Most importantly, it has created a shared language and understanding that has led to the study of the positive traits, states and outcomes in relation to each other. Positive psychology has started to build a taxonomic influence that will be able to bridge the divide that exists between scientific psychologies (Bailey, 1994). It will provide a value proposition that will be able to match the values and aspiration of many upcoming psychologists. Positive psychology has led to the introduction of the positives and the integration with the negatives. It provides an alternative lens through which psychological phenomena can be studied and understood. Decisions on which phenomena to study or not to study are based on values (Christopher, 1996), and in the psychological sense, what is negative is felt as more worthy of investigation than the positives. Rozin and Royzman (2001), observe that this is inescapable because the negative carries pervasive and more immediate allure. It is this perspective that has shaped a number of questions that are used in psychological inquiry, for example, “What does not work?”, What is broken?” and “What should be fixed?” Positive psychology creates a new perspective by investigating the right things and looking for ways in which they can be improved. Therefore, according to Sheldon and King (2001), the questions asked in positive psychology are “What is correct?” and “What is Improving?” It is possible, thus, to distinguish the things that work best and then generalize them by applying them widely so as to improve the lives of human beings. It is possible to conclude that positive psychology has changed the nature of psychological inquiry from focusing on the deficits to focusing on the assets. Psychological inquiries, therefore, reveal new things that are fertile grounds for investigations. Present Positive Psychology Positive psychology has come from humble beginnings to grow into a popular and serious psychological movement. It is growing in all aspects including research corpus, books, journal articles, journal issues, conferences, themed meetings and prizes (Peterson and Seligman, 2004; Compton, 2004). International associations that represent the interests of positive psychology have grown hugely. Positive psychology is also being discussed in web pages and email discussion forums. It is also in popular media that include print, radio and television (Seligman, 2005). Universities have introduced degree programs in their schools that specifically focus on positive psychology as part of their degree programs. According to Murray (2003) as much as 100 positive psychology courses were on offer as at 2003. Major US universities have also introduced positive psychology courses; a reported 27 positive psychology programs are on offer in such universities (Seligman, 2005). There are now dedicated graduate programs for positive psychology that offer masters in universities. A journal for positive psychology has also been created, known as, The Journal of Positive Psychology. Positive psychology has made greater leaps, and it is still continuing to expand. The achievements in the field of psychology so far are laudable and remarkable. The discipline at the moment stands at crossroads, and there are several factors that will contribute to which path it takes. There are considerations that still need to be taken so that future positive psychologists make more informed decisions. Scholars in positive psychology should base their focus on what clearly positive psychology should do to human lives, the reasons why it should do and how it connects with the general psychology and other disciplines that include sociology, economics and anthropology. The most integral aspect of positive psychology that should be researched is how it can be effectively harnessed in the promotion of integral human flourishing and fulfillment. Conclusion Positive psychology is a discipline that started not so long ago, though it has grown to be an integral part of psychological studies. Previous psychology scholars only focused on the negatives of human life, but positive psychology has introduced a new value based system that focuses not only on the negatives but also positive. Positive psychology is broadly examined in three levels that include subjective, individual and group level. Its main objective is not to ignore the negatives in human life but to use them as a platform for discovering the positives in human life and apply them generally to improve human lives. The science of positive psychology has grown remarkably, and it still continues to grow. However, more considerations still need to be made in order for the discipline to grow further. References Bailey, K. D. (1994). Typologies and Taxonomies: An Introduction to Classification Techniques. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Christopher, J. C. (1996). “Counseling’s Inescapable Moral Visions.” Journal of Counseling and Development, 75, 17–25. Compton, W. C. (2004). An Introduction to Positive Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). “What (and why) is Positive Psychology?” Review of General Psychology, 9, 103–110. Murray, B. (2003). “A Primer on Teaching Positive Psychology.” APA Monitor on Psychology, 34, 52–53. Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). “Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion.” Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 296–320. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). “Positive Psychology Network 2004 progress report,” Retrieved June 08, 2014, from http://www.positivepsychology.org/progressreport2004.pdf Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). “Positive Psychology: An Introduction.” American Psychologist, 55, 5–14. Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (2001). “Goals, Congruence, and Positive Well-being: New Empirical Support for Humanistic Theories.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41, 30–50. ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER

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