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Positive Psychology Essay Sample

Positive psychology is a field within psychology that sprung up due to the realization that psychological studies were more inclined towards the understanding of negative behaviors, but provided little or no knowledge related to positive behavior. Most studies in psychology during the second half of 20th century studies social ills such as racism, violence, irrationality and self esteem management among others. On the other hand very few studies described virtues and strong characters. According to Galbe & Haidt (2005), “Positive psychology is the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the optimal functioning of people, groups, and institutions.” Therefore, positive psychology has a long history that can be traced back to writings of Williams James on ‘healthy mindedness,’ Maslow in his study of healthy people in consideration of the sick and the research by Cowan on the resilience of children and adolescents. However, for a long period there has been the general observation that positive psychology has been ignored. This is due to the assumption by people that study of positive psychology implies that the rest of psychology is negative. Study of positive psychology is important because use of human strength can actually mitigate weaknesses; there is a need to establish balance between funding and research of positive and negative aspects and finally concentration on negative aspects may be inherent in our nature and study of positive psychology can change this perception. Critics argue that positive psychologists make other forms of psychology appear negative and they also outline that people who study positive psychology tend to ignore the realities of life. The future of positive psychology is that it should be able to understand factors that endow human beings with strength and resilience, the relationship between these factors and other and how these factors generally contribute to physical health.

Analysis

In the contemporary world and the institutions within it, there is a general realization that people would rather concentrate on attempting to find solutions to problems rather than strengthen positive aspects. The reasons behind the establishment and development of positive psychology are to seek ways in which a balance can be established. This does not necessarily imply that [psychology will now ignore vices in the society, but it means that psychology will look at both positive and negative aspects of the society. It is not the first time that positive psychology is receiving attention, it s just that for the past few centuries the world has experienced many social problems that funding and research initiatives have been directed towards finding solutions to these problems. In the same perspective the world is experiencing a paradigm shift in terms of strategies and approaches used to mitigate and eliminate these vices. Significant research has in fact established that positive aspects have the capacity of lessening the existence the emergence and even the severity of negative aspects. Furthermore, current approaches in the field of clinical medicine have identified prevention as the best way to deal with illness. Instilling positive behaviors within the healthy population of the society can actually be a way to reduce the number of new cases of persons with negative behaviors. Positive psychology is perhaps receiving opposition due to the fact that the name may imply that other forms of psychology are negative. Furthermore, there is a general feeling that positive psychology is not realistic to the problems facing the society. However, from the discussion there is a general realization that much ground in psychology can be covered when positive psychology and other forms of psychology work hand in hand. This is because by eliminating vices a vacuum is bound to be left that if not filled by virtue relapse is inevitable. Understanding of this important fact can reconcile positive psychology with other forms of psychology.