What is Positive Psychology?


The field of clinical psychology has spent decades examining what can go wrong in people’s lives. We have classified the various disorders and have come up with effective treatments for many of them.

The underlying assumption has been (to paraphrase Positive Psychology researcher Martin Seligman) that if we take away people’s rage, their depression, their extreme anxiety, then what will be left will be happiness. This, unfortunately, is not true. Although we can do much to alleviate distress, this does not automatically lead to tremendous fulfillment and life satisfaction.

In recent years, a growing number of psychologists and others have begun studying the psychology of excellence, of fulfillment, of better-than-average functioning. This is the field of positive psychology. It asks not how we can alleviate disorders, but how we can enhance a person’s life.

At Changeways Clinic we offer a number of services that fit into the Positive Psychology model. These include:

  • Goal Setting Lessons. Structured techniques for identifying your Ultimate Goals, prioritizing them, and breaking them down into a clear and achievable path.
  • Assertive Communication Training. Humans are social animals, and human lives tend to go better when they communicate clearly and calmly about what they want and need, and what they can offer.
  • Self Esteem Enhancement. Constantly dwelling on our real or imagined inadequacies can be like trying to sail with the anchor down. Learning to “lighten up,” embrace our quirks, and see ourselves more-or-less accurately can be enormously helpful.
  • A Psychological Checkup. Just as you might see your physician for suggestions to keep things running smoothly, we can provide the opportunity to review your life and come up with useful course corrections.
  • Mid-Life Course Correction. At mid-life we become aware that we are not preparing for our future life, we are living it - and if it isn’t taking us where we want to go perhaps we need to make some changes.
  • Life Coaching. Strategies to help you shift your life onto a course of your own choosing, and work toward your goals.
  • Life satisfaction enhancement. Strategies to shift the balance of emotional experience toward the positive end of the spectrum - largely through cognitive strategies and the incorporation of meaningful activity into one’s life.