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Positive psychology

Be positive in the face of mental illnesses to better treat them.


Positive psychology is “the study of conditions and processes that contribute to the development or optimal functioning of individuals” (Gabe and Haidt, 2005).
In this definition, the term “conditions” represents the family environment, friendly relations, place of residence, living conditions, school environment, historical context, biological variables, personality traits: a whole external factors that condition the subject and its well-being.
The term “process” refers to the means put in place by the subject or the therapists, to take advantage of the situations in order to develop skills allowing to progressively evolve towards a well-being or maintain a state of well-being.
Finally, we speak of “optimal functioning” to describe what an individual can do when he considers himself in full possession of his means.

Principles and objectives of positive psychology

Positive psychology is based in particular on listing the determinants of well-being of an individual. Studying them allows then to determine the factors which make it possible to provide a patient with a fulfilling framework where he or she can be in full possession of his means and his capabilities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the main skills that promote development:

  • self-awareness: to be conscient of its own strength, talent, potential, resources;

  • empathy: taking others into account;

  • knowing how to manage emotions, knowing how to manage stress

  • knowing how to communicate effectively (assertiveness),

  • knowing how to make decisions, knowing how to solve problems, having critical thinking, having creative thinking.

Positive psychology is not in the negation of problems, though it focuses on the development of the patient’s skills, to allow him or her to face difficulties. The optimism advocated by positive psychology must allow the initiation of therapeutic actions in which the patient itself is a major actor. 

Who is Positive Psychology for?

Positive psychology can prove to be beneficial for all individuals presenting problems relating to the management of their emotions.

This therapeutic approach has affinities with psychotherapies; in particular cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, to which techniques such as emotion management and logotherapy are attached.