People often ask me what Positive Psychology is. The word ‘Positive’ isn’t always well-received, as some think it implies a forced element of happiness which is, by its nature, disingenuous. But this relatively new branch of Psychology is gaining traction across the world, and, as a practising Positive Psychology coach, I thought it might be interesting to provide an overview and give some examples of Positive Psychology in practice.
For many years, psychologists have sought to understand what is ‘wrong’ with people. Positive Psychology, established as a new domain of Psychology in 1998 by Martin Seligman, seeks to understand what is ‘right’ with people. It is, fundamentally, “the scientific and applied approach to uncovering people’s strengths and promoting their positive functioning” (Snyder et al., 2000).
Positive Psychology Coaching is coaching that incorporates approaches that seek to improve well-being using evidence-based approaches from positive psychology (Oades & Passmore, 2014). Positive Psychology coaches use what’s known as Positive Psychology Interventions, or PPIs, with their clients to promote wellbeing in various ways. For example, a client may wish to be happier about their current life situation, in which case the coach may select a gratitude intervention, which research has found to improve psychological health and life satisfaction. Another example might be a client who is at a crossroads in their life and wants to consider their long-term future in order to make the right decisions for themselves in the present. In this case, an appropriate PPI might be the Best Possible Self exercise, which uses a combination of writing and visualisation to encourage consideration of the short, medium and long-term horizons, and has been found to improve confidence and success. There are many other PPIs and a growing evidence base to support their efficacy in improving wellbeing.
If you are interested in finding out more about Positive Psychology Coaching don’t hesitate to get in touch. I offer an initial free 30-minute video consultation to all prospective clients, so can answer any questions you may have during that call. I look forward to hearing from you!