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How can Positive Psychology help me and my family?


“The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation of repairing the worst things in life to building the best qualities

in life.”

- Martin Seligman, professor of psychology and director of the positive psychology

centre -

1. How does it do so?

  • Positive psychology focuses on positive emotions and personal strengths. It complements rather than replaces traditional psychotherapy. Although it does not serve as a replacement for traditional psychotherapy, it acts as a valuable supplement to treatment.

  • The most important thing to understand about positive psychology is that it is indeed a science—it is a subfield of psychology, and although it is sometimes derided as a “soft science” or a “pseudoscience,” it is still based on the scientific method of evaluating theories based on the evidence.

  • The study of how humans thrive, find happiness, and flourish; fits neatly with psychotherapy. Rather than trying to decrease or eliminate sadness, it works on acknowledging it and finding ways to increasing happiness and well-being instead.

  • Christopher Peterson, a renowned psychologist, defines positive psychology simply as the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behaviour while emphasizing strengths instead of weaknesses and building on the good in life.

2. I want to know more!

  • Since life is continually changing and throwing us curveballs such as challenges at school or work, losing a job, ending a marriage, experiencing a break-up or moving to another place, we can feel as if we are losing control. It seems a big plan collapses or someone rejects us. Here we have the option to stay focused on what is not here anymore (the doors that have been closed) or become aware of the new avenues that unfold. Optimism is about the latter option. It is about holding a favorable view about the present and future while considering closing doors and turning them into something beneficial.

  • Yet most people think they make more progress and improvement by focusing on their weaknesses only once they have been able to identify what they are struggling with. This can take time and often leads to getting frustrated when things take longer. It seems you are constantly fighting the old, which takes a lot of energy versus focusing on building the new which can be more beneficial for that person.

3. What are the general benefits?

  1. experiences of more positive emotions

  2. greater insight into positive actions and pathways

  3. improved self-efficacy

  4. more enjoyable goal pursuit and enhanced well-being

  5. greater effectiveness and more progress

The use of validated concepts and methods help clients to make more sustained positive changes and takes place in the form of empathic listening, engaging in client stories, building on appreciative inquiries, strength-building measures; diverse techniques such as the imagined self-technique, forgiveness exercise, the change and perma model and many more.

Developing trusting coaching relationships with the client, leads to more connection, compliance and participation. By working with the client over time, one can help them achieve their goals for more sustained positive change and shows many potential benefits.

4. Check out the list below of examples for positive changes and benefits it can create:


· Optimism, hope, happiness and joy

· Strengthens relationships, encourages can-do-self-inquiry

· Offers the opportunity to get beneath the surface, enhances clarity and insight, enables problem-solving, improves both emotional and physical well-being

· Exploring values, resources, and skills

· Enhancing self-efficacy, Get unstuck, overcome challenges in life and relationships, avoid feeling lost

· Deeper sense of meaning and meaningful life

· Reduces stress, offers an emotionally positive experience


· Character strengths, exploring values, resources, and skills

· Enhancing self-efficacy, self-esteem and well-being

· Greater creativity, release feelings of pessimism or depression

· More openness to ideas, learning and exploration

· Expanded sense of self and possibilities

· Greater outlook on life

· Improved ability to imagine future accomplishments and how to achieve them such as applying graduate school

· Healthier Friendships and interpersonal relationships

· Overcoming challenging experiences

· Handling Challenges and creating healthy routines

5. Let's bring it together.

Positive psychology also provides direction for working with clients who are not suffering from mental illness, but would still like to improve their lives by using:

· other validated coaching tools and skills

· relevant research findings

· helpful diverse practices and exercises

· solutions focused coaching

Research in the realm of positive psychology has found that especially gratitude, social connection, and kindness are very important to living our best live which must be cultivated on a consistent basis.

There are many more contexts for applying the science of positive psychology like clinical psychology and therapy, self-help and pop-psychology, social work, bibliotherapy, creative arts, optimal performance, sports, life coaching, stress management, and public policy, to name a few

6. What steps can I take to ensure this method is most effective for me?

  • Regular attendance to the sessions and consistent practise.

  • Self-disclosure and emotional release.

  • Willingness to have honest conversations and share stories.

  • Diligent participation in the exercises and activities during therapy.

  • Client’s perception of the ultimate goals of the treatment.

  • Daily routine in the morning and evening

McAtee Psychology is a private family psychology practice offering counselling, assessment, and therapeutic services to families. Our services include counselling and assessment for individuals, couples, and children & teens. Our mission is to help you and your family create a more rich, connected, and meaningful life.

McAtee Psychology NW: 1982 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB

McAtee Psychology SE: 105, 11500 29 St SE, Calgary, AB |

Phone: 403-926-3738

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