Friday, April 22, 2005

FT March 2005: Articles

FT March 2005: Articles: "Psychology in Recovery

Psychology in Recovery
Paul C. Vitz
Copyright (c) 2005 First Things 151 (March 2005): 17-22.

. . . In order to understand positive psychology, we must first provide a short description of its opposite—negative psychology. For Seligman, and now many others, negative psychology refers to the psychology of the last hundred years, begun by Freud. Such psychology focused on traumas and pathologies. It is natural enough, according to Seligman, that psychology would first focus on illness. Seligman himself, in his early career, made a contribution to this negative psychology: he is famous for identifying learned helplessness in animals and in humans as an important source of depression. But it has become clear to him and others that after a hundred years of trying to understand human problems it is time to study human strengths or positive characteristics. In addition, for many psychologists it is clear that in the relatively standard therapeutic session there is not much more to learn. . . .


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