Positive Psychology Themes

Post a 200- to 300-word description of the central themes and strategies of positive psychology as you understand them from your reading.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read the introduction to our textbook. I was starting to think that psychology was all about diagnosis and treatment rather than prevention. After all the best way to stop a bad habit is to never start one. To that end, the central theme of positive psychology is the understanding of human flourishing as an effect of autonomy and relatedness. This branch of psychology also acknowledges that we are both creatures and creators of our personal and social worlds. Positive psychology seeks to utilize the scientific method as a tool in order to study human strengths and civic virtues.

Furthermore, positive psychology explains that choice, change, and control are paramount when striving towards an internal locus of control, autonomy, and an incremental theorist’s worldview of malleability. Additionally, too many options act against the expected benefits of choice and bring about choice paralysis. Likewise, excessive control can lead to illusory control or in other words the perception that even chance events are under our personal control. Biological and environmental constraints must also be taken into account when dealing with human flourishing. It is these limits which guide us in our quest for successful change and control. It also appears that freedom and control work hand-in-hand. Freedom without control can bring about choice paralysis and control without freedom can bring about illusory control. Freedom and control work in concert in order to aid us in making wise choices. In summary, positive psychology is the study of the optimistic side of human behavior; the “glass is half full” branch of psychology if you will.

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Bolt, M. (2004). Pursuing human strengths: A positive psychology guide. New York, NY: Worth.

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