The Definition of PositivePsychology
Amongst the many definitions of positive psychology available, all of thosetend to point to the same points. And those would be that: it is ascience of well-being, a science of well-being as well as optimalfunctioning, a science study of the strengths and virtues which allowfor individuals as well as societies to thrive, that it is a study ofthe conditions and also processes which are able to contribute toflourishing or the optimal functioning of people, groups andinstitutions, and lastly but not the least, that it is the sciencewhich makes life worth living.
Soaccordingly, the remainder of the article shall take a reasonablycloser look at the above mentioned points.
What is the point andhow does it work?
Positivepsychology is an attempt at creating a branch of the science which isnot typical of the rest of it. Namely, ever since the end of WorldWards, psychology had tended to cure what ails people. Sodeductively, "positive psychology" will attempt to redressthe balance.
Buttruth be told, positive psychology is no new field. It is instead anumbrella term for a number of topics which may be grouped accordingto purpose and sense of direction. It sometimes also aims to bringtogether lines of research which may have been previously separated.
Thenof course, there is the fact that once a label is created, a numberof people will attempt to identify with it. This may result in somewhat goofy titles along the lines of: "positivepsychologist". Alternatively, debate may be encouraged in orderto see whether "the new thing" ought to fall under theprevious, and so forth.
Thereality may be quite different though. This type of psychology datesas far back as 1902 ("Healthy Mindedness" by WilliamJames), and even though the umbrella term may be new, its underlyingcomponents are most definitely not.
Thefollowing topics should be found under the umbrella term of positivepsychology: happiness and subjective well-being, optimism, emotionalintelligence, intrinsic motivation, and so forth.
Is positive psychologyprescriptive?
Somepeople feel that positive psychology may have a prescriptive overtoneto it... However, if the same angle of approach (the problem beingthe study of topics in applied settings) should be applied to anyother science, just as well.
Ofcourse, many would take advantage and write self-help books labeledpositive psychology just to make a quick buck.
Isn't it better to getrid of the bad first?
Wellfrom the opposite stance, things seem quite differently. Namely,"removing the suffering" just may not suffice. This is tosay that perhaps, "getting rid of the bad" just isn'tenough for truly getting rid of it.
Lastly,it is very important to stress that positive psychology is not at allthe alternative to "negative psychology", nor does itremotely resemble "positive thinking". This is to stress the differences when the nature of theterminology is such that it is prone to triggering confusion.