Positive Psychology Applications

P. Alex Linley, Stephen Joseph, John Maltby, Susan Harrington and Alex M. Wood

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology

Second edition

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780195187243
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Positive Psychology Applications

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Applied positive psychology is concerned with facilitating good lives and enabling people to be at their best. It is as much an approach as a particular domain of inquiry. As shown throughout this chapter, positive psychology has applications that span almost every area of applied psychology and beyond. In clinical psychology, counseling and psychotherapy, applied positive psychology builds on the traditions of humanistic psychology and Carl Rogers' client-centered therapy. It challenges the dominant assumptions of the medical model and promotes a dimensional, rather than dichotomous, understanding of mental health and mental illness. Beyond the alleviation of psychopathology, applied positive psychology has also seen the development of specific happiness-increase interventions, including counting one's blessings, using signature strengths, and paying a gratitude visit. In education, applied positive psychology has been used to promote flow in the classroom, as well as harnessing children's strengths to aid their learning and development. Forensic applications of positive psychology are represented by the good lives model of offender management, which focuses on the adaptive satisfaction of human needs. In Industrial Organizational (I/O) psychology, positive psychology applications are represented throughout work on transformational leadership, employee engagement, positive organizational scholarship, positive organizational behavior, appreciative inquiry, and strengths-based organization. In society, more broadly, applied positive psychology is shown to influence the development of life coaching and the practice of executive coaching, while population approaches are being explored in relation to epidemiology and the promotion of social well-being. Having reviewed these diverse areas, the chapter then goes on to consider the theoretical basis for applied positive psychology; the questions of who should apply positive psychology, as well as where and how; and whether positive psychology applications could be universally relevant. The chapter concludes by considering what the future of applied positive psychology may hold and suggesting that the discipline has the potential to impact positively on people throughout the world.

Keywords: applications; future; positive psychology; theory

Article.  9742 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Organizational Psychology

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