Assistant professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences – Sais, University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, Fez, Morocco.
Usually, people ask about their level of happiness or psychological well-being with the famous question: “How Are you?” The answer expresses an estimate of a certain degree of satisfaction, ranging from quality to poor. The question and answer are considered an expression of the need for psychological well-being and caution against the dangers that constantly threaten a person’s life circumstances. Undoubtedly, such dangers are negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, fear… In this case, a person has two options: either he will work to prevent them and live on well-being, or the individual will suffer from the presence of mental disorders. For this reason, current studies have emerged that have made psychological well-being stand-alone research within the research of positive psychology, as an orientation that greatly supports the bright rather than the dark aspects of the personality of the individual and society.
In this article, we will talk about the concept of positive psychology and its historical context, its place among other branches of psychology and the importance of this science for individuals, groups and institutions.
Key words: positive psychology, psychotherapy, well-being, individual level, groups level,social level.
علم النفس الإيجابي: نحو رفاهية نفسية لازدهار حياتنا
أستاذ مساعد بالتعليم العالي، مسلك علم النفس ، كلية الآداب والعلوم الإنسانية- سايس، جامعة سيدي محمد بن عبد الله ، فاس، المغرب.
تتوالى في عالمنا المعاصر تحولات كبيرةأثرت بشكل كبير على الحياة النفسية والاجتماعية. الأمر الذي فرض على الدارسين إيجاد منظور جديد يقارب إشكالية ضمان الصحة النفسية للجميع. هذا المنظور كما فصل فيه الباحث يسير في اتجاه دراسة الشروط والسيرورات التي تسهم في تجويد وتفعيل الأ داء لدى ألافراد والجماعات والمؤسسات. ويأتي هذا البحث في سياق بيان أهميةتيارعلم النفس الايجابي إلى جانب المقاربات الأخرى كالطب النفسي وعلم النفس الإكلينيكي وغيرها من الحقول التي كان همها فهم ومعالجة الاضطرابات النفسية ،عوض الاشتغال على قضايا أخر بنفس القدر والاهتمتام. حيث تهدف هذه الورقة إلى تحديدمفهموم علم النفس الإيجابي وسياقه التاريخي وعلاقته بالعلوم المعرفيه الأخرى في حضيرة علم النفس بشكل عام، ثم رصد القضايا الكبرىلهذا التيار المعرفي كالرفاهية النفسية بوصفها مدخلالإغناء معنى الحياة لدى عموم الناس. ومن أجل ذلك اعتمد الباحث منهجا يجمع بين الاستنباط والاستقراء لتحليل ومقارنة النتائج ومناقشتها. ووقد كان من ثمرات تلك النتائج أن علم النفس الإيجابي يعتبر أنه إلى جانب الاضطرابات النفسية هناك حياة مفعمة بالمعنى ومسجورة بالإمكانيات تسمح بالرفاهية النفسية للجميع وتنمية الكفاءات الشخصية والاجتماعية رغم إكراهات الشروط الموضوعية .
In the context of the education and training system, when a learner gets a point less than the ideal (20/20), it does not satisfy the teacher or the family. Dissatisfaction is considered to blame the learner for not getting the points that separate him from the higher point. Perhaps some of those involved in the educational process agree that the reason for the difference is that the learner often has a psychological disorder. There is a discussion of Martin with one of his friends while travelling that clearly shows this psychological orientation of the interventionists(Martin-Krumm & Lecomte, 2019). They had a discussion during which his contractor friend said that he had optimistic and creative workers in his company. And in return, the contractor asked Martin about a mission in life. He said he has been a psychological researcher for 15 years on the role of feelings of helplessness as a major factor in depression. The author’s response was to have a new perspective on the issue, and that there are many important aspects that have not yet received attention in the lives of individuals, communities and institutions. The thing that made Martin admit that he really had never thought about this. This discussion completely changed Seligman’s orientation to positive psychology(Martin-Krumm & Lecomte, 2019).
This perception is applicable to positive psychology in its relations with the branches of the field of psychology. So what is positive psychology? What is its historical context? Did it come about in the context of a process adopted by its pioneers according to the principles of extension and continuity? Or did it come about on the principle of antagonism and epistemological rupture with the rest of the current branches of psychology? What is its significance and prospects?
Importance of study
– To reveal the place of Positive Psychology in the humanities as a field of knowledge that seeks to achieve psychological well-being as a legitimate dream of every person in the world.
– The contribution goes beyond mental disorders by achieving the well-being of psychological life, through the levels of positive psychology to enhance the potential and develop the functions of individuals, groups and institutions within the human society .
Objectives of study
– Define the context and concept of positive psychology.
– Understanding the cognitive state of this science in the field of psychology.
– Monitoring the importance of Positive Psychology in the life of the individual and society.
– Reveal the context of the transition from the approach of psychological disorders to psychological well-being.
The method of approaching the research topic is based on the introduction, in which the concept is defined and the historical context of positive psychology is monitored. Then a deductive approach based on a general concept summarizes the research problem in parallel with the theoretical framework and previous studies that dealt with the topic of Positive Psychology, its levels and dimensions, overlapping with the magmatic branches of the field of psychology, and finally discussing the results in a method based on analysis and comparison.
The theoretical framework of the previous study
- The concept of positive psychology and its historical context
During the 20th century, many theoretical and empirical works were conducted in psychology in general and in psychiatry in particular. These scientific works were focused on the levels of understanding and treatment of mental disorders. And if the work done at these levels has led to decisive progress in reducing or alleviating the suffering of individuals, then the aspects related to the development of life conditions, as well as the search for the enabling factors for well-being and personal growth, have not received the same attention and the same enthusiasm. In order to overcome this deficit, the current of positive psychology emphasizes the need not only to deal with the issue of psychopathological disorders and associated risk factors, but also to take into account the factors and possibilities for the development of individuals(Bernard et al., 2011).
As is known to researchers in psychology, the beginning of the use of “Positive Psychology” came in a speech by Martin Seligman when he was elected president of the annual conference of the American Psychological Association in 1999. During this conference, Martin urged psychologists inside and outside America to approach psychology with a new methodology and an advanced perspective and not to remain hostage to the treatment of mental illnesses and go beyond that to promote a better life for everyone. The vision of Selikman and his collaborators calls for Psychology not to be reduced to being an extension of Medicine, and to return to work for the well-being of all(Adler & Kessous, 2020). It can be defined as the scientific study of situations and ways of thinking and acting that influence our positive emotions(Pavani & Savu, 2020). For Shelly L. Gable and Jonathan Haidt “ Positive psychology is the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups, and institutions”(Gable & Haidt, 2005). This means that psychology has gone beyond working on the psychology of personal happiness to being based on three levels: the personal, the interpersonal, and the institutional.
- From psychotherapy to Positive psychology
A set of formulas for the term psychotherapy has been proposed. Some researchers have specifically suggested that it is always a meeting between two or more people, where one of them( the case or the client) is considered to be in need of help and requests treatment or change, while the second (therapist) is considered to be able to have the competence to meet that need by identifying personal qualities and a set of theoretical and technical knowledge that he uses (Chambon & Marie-Cardine, 2014).
we can talk about four types of psychotherapies: Psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive behavioural therapy, Constructivist therapy and Selective integrative therapy. There are also other types of treatments more oriented towards psychobiology, including those specific to psychiatry, such as medications(Hill & Pavese, 2021).
1-Psychodynamic therapy: it includes Alfred Adler’s therapy, Carl Jung’s psychoanalytic therapy, attachment-based psychoanalytic therapy, and Jacques Lacan’s psychotherapy. The premise of this type of therapy is based on establishing a strong relationship of trust, engagement and interaction between the therapist and the client, and then self-rediscovery through expanding perceptions and ideas and shedding more light on the hidden aspects of the client (Feltham et al., 2017).
2-Cognitive behavioural therapy: it includes behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, empathy-based therapy, dialectical-behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy based on mindfulness, and rationalization of emotions. Cognitive behavioural therapy, which is known as contextual therapy or the third wave of psychological therapies, because it makes context a starting point in understanding human behaviour, the truth lies in our ideas about the world and what exists (Hayes et al., 2012).
3-Constructivist therapy: includes narrative therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, personal constructivist counseling and psychotherapy, and solution-centered therapy. This therapy considers that a person is the one who has experience in his life and is responsible for it, and therefore it gives meaning to his existence. But here the therapist cooperates with the patient in order to reconstruct the patient’s personality and reframe his thoughts through self-exploration. He developed this therapy and took his techniques from many schools such as “models of early family therapies” with Haley Jay 1976 (Miller, 2005) .
4-Selective integrative therapy: it includes analytical cognitive therapy, interindividual psychotherapy, multi-modal therapy, multi-modal therapy, schema therapy, auxiliary skill model, and transactional analysis. Selective integrative therapy proceeds from the premise that each individual has unique needs that may not be the same as other individuals, and therefore the patient’s problem is a problem that has its own specifics and contexts and needs a set of solutions that respond to the patient’s aspirations and expectations, meet his ambitions and develop various aspects of his personality on the basis of an integrated and carefully selected approach(Cooper & Dryden, 2016).
- The importance of positive psychology: towards optimal psychological well-being
positive psychology constitutes a unifying set that brings together themes that have already been studied before: motivation optimism empathy etc. Sometimes this science proposes innovative themes: passion, positive emotions, character strengths etc. Positive psychology simply considers that, alongside psychological problems, a whole life rich in meaning and potential is expressed and developed. It is therefore a logical complement to the body of research on clinical psychology and psychopathology(Martin-Krumm & Lecomte, 2019).
If research into psychological well-being leads to increasing or at least maintaining happiness, the literature indicates a lack of research on this scientific trend. However, in recent decades, an American trend has emerged towards studies related to positive psychology issues, such as:
-Well-being/hedonic: This involves evaluating the individual’s level of satisfaction with life and the functionality of emotions(Diener, 1994).
-Psychological well-being/eudemonic: purpose in life, positive relation with others, personal growth, environmental mastery, autonomy and self-acceptance(Ryff, 1989).
There are also studies that have confirmed the possibility of investing in positive, intentional activities that lead to happiness, despite genetic factors or social and natural conditions. Much of happiness is under people’s control, especially in terms of expressing gratitude and thanks and performing nice acts and positive activities that will work to increase happiness(Lyubomirsky et al., 2005).
positive psychology is aimed at developing well-being at work, by allowing the employee or management, to identify and develop their internal resources, in order to control stressful and destabilizing situations(Boniwell, 2012).
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what is going well in life, and at each of its stages. The purpose of positive psychology is to describe and prove facts, something that will enrich psychological and social interventions. It would seem that the first areas of application of these works are classical psychopathological problems: anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. But he largely goes beyond the traditional framework of Medicine and psychotherapy to apply it to personality development. (Cottraux, 2008).
Results and discussion
The research results can be summarized in the following axes:
– The most important concepts of positive psychology are: Conditions – process -Development -optimal functioning – individuals- groups and institutions.
-The treatment for positive psychology is not only to fix what is broken but also to educate what is better…
-Positive psychology goes beyond the psychology of the happiness of the individual.
-Positive Psychology is declined to three levels: personal – interpersonal – societal.
-Positive subjective experiences, in particular happiness, well-being, pleasure and fullness.
– Among the features of studies in the field of positive psychology: are positive personality traits, optimism, the practice of altruistic values, empathy and gratitude …
– The most important topics in positive psychology are especially at the social level: positive institutions, such as the administration of education, the organization of work or social life in general.
The importance of positive psychology can be monitored at the level of its contribution to psychological treatments for some mental disorders, such as depression, which is a public health problem that is still difficult to treat today despite the current therapeutic arsenal (antidepressants and cognitive behavioural therapies …).Therefore, today’s psychotherapeutic approaches based on the principles of positive psychology offer new and promising clinical prospects today. Therefore, awareness of positive psychology should be raised and the main characteristics and positive effects of positive psychotherapy used in the treatment of depression should be presented.(Csillik et al., 2012)
Positive psychology is concerned with improving the conditions of life and the search for factors for the development of individual competence to achieve a higher level of psychological well-being .Positive psychology is a scientific current that came to exceed the work on mental disorders in the horizon of enhancing the positive aspects of the individual, groups and institutions. Hence the ability to overcome various mental disorders and challenges in life .
- The adoption of positive psychology as a complementary scientific stream to other studies in the field of psychology and the speciality of psychological therapies.
- Investing the discoveries of Positive Psychology in the prosperity of mental health and upgrading it to the level of optimal psychological well-being.
- Attention should be paid to the improvement of psychological well-being as a right for everyone, as it is for American society.
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