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Reflection on Positive Psychology


Positive psychology has become one of the most researched fields as it focuses on an individual’s strengths and abilities that aid in their recovery from trauma and psychological issues in individuals who can function well in society (Park & Peterson, 2008). theories and research in positive psychology have identified the elements that characterize good life and have proposed and experimented with practices that contribute to the well-being and life satisfaction. According to Peterson (2008), positive psychology can be defined as a scientific study of what makes life worth living. It bases its strengths on identifying an individual’s thoughts, behavior, and feelings. Therefore, the need to build on the good comes first instead of focusing on correcting the bad. Other researchers have also suggested that positive psychology involves the application of positive principles and virtues by investing in positive experiences such as love, everyday inspiration, and happiness. It also involves the application of positive traits and states such as compassion, resilience, and gratitude (Park & Peterson, 2008). Therefore, as suggested by positive researcher Martin Seligman, positive psychology aims to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to building the best qualities in life. Normal psychology is often narrow and focuses on negative aspects such as mental abnormalities and illnesses, trauma, pain, suffering, and other abnormal psychology. However, positive psychology provides a different approach to the positive trends in handling psychological issues and problems.

Theories of positive psychology

Researchers and psychologists have discussed and tested several theories concerning psychology and positive psychology (Vo & Allen, 2022). All these theories have aimed at improving well-being and quality of life. One of the essential theories is Seligman’s theory, known as the PERMA model theory. This theory maximizes an individual’s positive emotions, engagement, relationship, meaning, and accomplishment. Seligman argues that the components are intrinsic; hence an individual would be motivated to pursue personal well-being. PERMA is a model that has informed psychologists to help their clients to identify areas in their lives that lack well-being and work on it to increase it. Although Seligma did not consider health as a component in the model, he argues that by adopting healthy lifestyles and physical fitness, individuals can regain vitality, mobility, and energy to function well. This model has also contributed to the motivation of individuals in workplaces and institutions and the general performance of individuals in society. In their study, Allen et al. (2022) note that PERMA theory has become popular because of its effectiveness in changing lives and the mode of living as individuals are becoming more engaged in the positive traits and also because it has impacted the quality of relationships such individuals initiate.

Another theory that has contributed a lot to positive psychology is the strength theory. This focuses on an individual’s strengths rather than weaknesses; the individual with the psychological problem is encouraged to work and manage the goals to achieve a meaningful life (Seligman, 2002). The strengths can be drawn from an individual trait or behaviors that can be used to create opportunities for more growth. According to Seligman’s study in 2002, this theory was identified to be effective at lowering anxiety and depression for a more extended period. Psychologists have also used the theory to help their clients to identify and comprehend where and when they could use their strengths to improve and promote their well-being and quality of life. Knowing their strengths also helps them increase their performance and productivity in their workplace or school. Jones smith, in his study in 2014, argues that an individual’s identity of their strengths is essential because one can act and focus on making their lives better; hence, they get a chance to control experiences and events that happen in their lives (Webb et al., 2022).

Resilience theory is another theory of positive psychology that focuses on how people react to similar challenges and how they find solutions to adapt to the changes (Southwick & Charney, 2005). Depending on their reaction, some struggle to adapt, leading to chronic health issues such as depression and stress. From research done by Southwick and Charney, 2005, 90% of individuals experience some traumatic event during their lives; however, not all individuals recover from the trauma altogether. This theory has implications for psychotherapy because an individual’s recovery depends on their resilience to challenges. It suggests that psychologists can use this theory to help their clients develop resilience which is essential for achieving a positive outcome in life (Neenan, 2017). It also builds on an individual developing coping techniques and strategies to manage trauma, stress, and other adversities in life. Therefore, this theory, as described by Neenan 2017 emphasizes the importance of positive relationships and personal resources in initiating and developing positive change and achieving well-being. Other essential theories of positive psychology include flow theory which helps individuals to achieve what they have thought impossible by immersing themselves at the moment and enjoying any task given (Neenan, 2017). Hope is another theory that focuses on instilling hope despite the situation and holding on as long as possible.

Positive psychology has contributed a lot to the development and interventions of psychologists and therapists because it has contributed to exploring an individual’s strengths, emotions, character, and other qualities important in motivating quality living that contributes to positive life outcomes. From the research, the value of life has been associated with the strengths that can be built on to bring positive outcomes. It has also been associated with improvement in the workplace. In a study by Kjerulf 2017, they found that positive psychology leads to success in the workplace, has also improved job performance, and other workers can feel the effect, which has contributed to quality relationships at the workplace (Kjerulf, 2017). The small but positive acts, such as loving others, contribute to the larger picture of productive life; hence it encourages individuals and workers to have happier and more productive hours, suppressing the negative emotions that contribute to psychological problems (Kjerulf, 2017). Positive psychology does not only lead to happiness, but it also contributes to the development of a meaningful life despite the adversities and challenges in life. Therefore, it is clear that there is a crucial connection between positive psychology and recovery; for any individual to have a functional and meaningful life, they need to identify their strengths and invest in developing them through positive engagements and relationships.

Positive psychology can be used in dealing with individuals who have undergone trauma, pain, and other difficulties to help them regain control of their lives. Although normal psychology helps, positive psychology invests in what the individual can use without going through the pain again. Intrinsic motivation is crucial as the individual needs to identify their strengths while the psychologist and therapist build a support system for the individual. Although some researchers have contrary opinions about its effectiveness, it has been proven effective in workplaces and institutions and has resulted in increased performance and productivity.

In conclusion, positive psychology is an area that has grown with the changes in the psychology and therapy field. Propagation of positive thinking and actions contributes to positive advancement in creating a meaningful life for individuals who have undergone trauma and other experiences that contribute to negative emotions. Positive psychology aims to positively impact clients’ lives and increase their experiences by embracing positive emotions. It has also enhanced goal setting and keeping as the individual controls it. The theories of positive psychology, such as PERMA theory, strength theory, and resilience theory, among others theories, have contributed to the success of psychology because of their positive impacts on the individual. The researchers have identified this field as a promising avenue for practice because it has been proven to have improved engagement and meaningful relationships that contribute to the overall quality of life. Therefore, positive psychology focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses compared to other sciences focusing on repair and pathology.


Kjerulf, A. (2017). Leading with happiness. United States: Woohoo Press.

Neenan, M. (2017). Developing resilience: A cognitive-behavioural approach. Routledge.

Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2008). Positive psychology and character strengths: Application to strengths-based school counseling. Professional school counseling12(2), 2156759X0801200214.

Seligman, M. E. (2002). Positive psychology, positive prevention, and positive therapy. Handbook of positive psychology2(2002), 3-12.

Southwick, S. M., Vythilingam, M., & Charney, D. S. (2005). The psychobiology of depression and resilience to stress: implications for prevention and treatment. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol.1, 255-291.

Vo, D. T., & Allen, K. A. (2022). A systematic review of school-based positive psychology interventions to foster teacher well-being. Teachers and Teaching28(8), 964-999.

Webb, C., Smith, A., Orrell, M., & Jones, K. A. (2022). Positive psychology and attitudes to ageing in people aged 50 and over in the United Kingdom. Aging & Mental Health, 1-7.


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