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The Era of Positive Psychology

The New Era of Positive Psychology, Part I

By Petrina Yemane

A new school of thought developed in the 1990’s for this concept of Positive Psychology. It is a paradigm shift in this new era for how we view mental illness and distress verses mental health and wellness. New cutting edge research focused on seeing the patient as a client and having the client as an active participant in the therapy session.

Positive Psychology took root in collaboration with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Also new therapy approaches were created such as Supportive Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); which incorporates “Mindfulness” and Motivational Interviewing with a host of other approaches.

These Approaches were developed to promote emotional wellness and mental stability through solution focus processing, developing a person’s level of resilience, trigger strength based coping skills, use of the creative self, increasing ones emotional intelligence, promoting optimism, enhancing self efficacy, and learning empathy and forgiveness.

For the 1990’s this was revolutionary thought in the world of psychology that had it’s roots in Freudian and Psychodynamic teachings. As informed advocates who seek counseling, both teachings for Pschodynamic and New Aged Therapy are beneficial to meeting one’s mental and emotional needs. The classic approaches have benefited the masses for centuries. Yet these new approaches, which are not considered main-stream, should not be discounted nor discredited. They were developed to meet the needs of the new generation who were more existential in having “freedom of choice” and for variety and options in their own mental health treatment.


Fredrickson, Barbara L. & Joiner, Thomas (2002), Positive Emotions Trigger Upward Spirals Towards Emotional Well-Being, American Psychological Society, 13, 172-175.

Egloff, Boris & Schukle, Stefan, (2003), Facets of Dynamic Positive Affect: Differentiating Joy, Interest and Activation in a Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 528-540.

Aspinwall, Lisa G. & Stuadinger, Ursula M. (1998), The Psychology of Human Strengths: Some Central Issues of an Emerging Field, Book Published, 9-22.

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