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Positive Psychology Research and Practice: Old Wine in New Bottles? Danny Singley, Ph.D. The Center for Cognitive Health & Positive Psychology Symposium.

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Presentation on theme: "Positive Psychology Research and Practice: Old Wine in New Bottles? Danny Singley, Ph.D. The Center for Cognitive Health & Positive Psychology Symposium."— Presentation transcript:

1 Positive Psychology Research and Practice: Old Wine in New Bottles? Danny Singley, Ph.D. The Center for Cognitive Health & Positive Psychology Symposium Presented at the Fall 2009 Conference of the San Diego Psychological Association

2 Tongue Breaker 1. Sonja Lyubomirsky? \Loo-bu-MEER-ski\ 2. Shigehiro Oishi? \She-jay-HE-ro\ 3. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? \Cheek-sent-ME-high-ee\

3 Overview Past, Present, and Future of the Field Current Research in Positive Psychology Evidence-Based Best Practices Models of Positive Functioning Models of Positive Functioning Assessment Assessment Interventions/Consultation Interventions/Consultation DO NOT HOLD YOUR QUESTIONS UNTIL THE END

4 Roots of Positive Psychology Aristotle- (354 B.C.E.) “Everything we do, we think will make us happy.” Abraham Maslow (1954) “Fully functioning person”-optimal human development Donald Super (1955) ”Hygiology” Martin Seligman (1998) “Scientific pursuit of optimal human functioning.”

5 Focus on the Negative “The science of psychology has been far more successful on the negative than on the positive side; it has revealed to us much about man’s shortcomings, his illnesses, his sins, but little about his potentialities, his virtues, his achievable aspirations, or his psychological height. It is as if psychology had voluntarily restricted itself to only half its rightful jurisdiction, and that the darker, meaner half.” -Abraham Maslow

6 Evidence-Based Branches 1.Models of Positive Functioning 2.Assessment 3.Clinical Interventions/Consultation  Subjective Well-Being – Ed Diener  Psychological Well-Being – Carol Ryff  Flourishing/Complete Mental Health – Corey Keyes  Quality of Life – Michael Frisch  Values in Action – Martin Seligman  StrengthsQuest/Finder – The Gallup Organization  Broaden and Build – Barbara Fredrickson

7 What is Positive Psychology? What comes to mind for you?  Happiness  Fluffiness/Praise  “Wellness Myopathy”  Invalidates negative experiences Medical Model  Pathology  Remediate Deficits

8 Positive Terminology Positive Psychology is a political movement Well-Being describes an outcome variable Wellness in Recovery is all Mary Ellen Copeland Optimal Functioning means achieving potential Strengths Development is identifying and growing

9 Positive Psychology “The social science of what’s right with people.”

10 Models of Positive Functioning Which experiences relate to optimal functioning? And more importantly- how??!!

11 Positive Functioning - SWB Subjective Well-Being (SWB) – Ed Diener Hedonic Balance – Tripartite Perspective:  High Positive Affect  Low Negative Affect  High Life Satisfaction Well-Being = Happiness

12 Positive Functioning - PWB Psychological Well-Being (PWB) – Carol Ryff Eudaimonic Meaning-  Autonomy  Environmental Mastery  Personal Growth  Positive Relations  Purpose in Life  Self-Acceptance Well-Being = Meaning/Actualization

13 Well-Being = Being Well SWB and PWB are related but distinct

14 Complete Mental Health Model Corey Keyes (Keyes, 2007; Keyes & Lopez, 2002) Mental health is defined by  The absence of mental illness  The presence of well-being “Flourishing” defined by the presence of  Emotional Well-Being (SWB)  Psychological Well-Being (PWB)  Social Well-Being

15 Complete Mental Health Model (Keyes & Lopez, 2002) Low Strengths Struggling High Strengths Low Symptoms High Symptoms FlounderingLanguishing Flourishing

16 Prevalence of Mental Disorders by Level of Mental Health (Keyes, 2007)

17 Broaden and Build Theory (Fredrickson, 2001) Theory of positive emotions Rooted in evolutionary psychology Posits that positive emotions broaden thoughts and behaviors which helps to build durable personal resources

18 Broaden and Build Broaden “momentary thought-action repertoires” Positive emotions broaden by increasing:  Cognitive flexibility  Creativity  Integrative processing  Openness to information  More efficient thought patterns “Takes the blinders off”

19 The Losada Line The “tipping point” is at the 3/1 ratio  People with 3/1 have been shown to flourish  Below this ratio, positive emotions may be inert and do not build resources  Above this ratio, people appear to build resources and trait resilience

20 Quality of Life Michael Frisch – Quality of Life CASIO model of life satisfaction C is for Circumstances C is for Circumstances A is for Attitude A is for Attitude S is for Standards S is for Standards I is for what’s Important I is for what’s Important O is for Other areas O is for Other areas Life Domains and Goals

21 Positive Assessment Well-Being (PWB and SWB) Quality of Life Strengths

22 Subjective Well-Being Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) “So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life.” Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) PA - attentive, interested, alert, excited, enthusiastic, inspired, proud, determined, strong, and active NA- distressed, upset-distressed; hostile, irritable- angry; scared, afraid-fearful; ashamed, guilty; nervous, and jittery SWB = SWLS + PA - NA

23 Psychological Well-Being Full-Scale Score Sub-Scale Scores  Autonomy  Environmental Mastery  Personal Growth  Positive Relations  Purpose in Life  Self-Acceptance

24 Quality of Life Inventory Michael Frisch Combines SWB and PWB 32 items in 16 life domains Yields concrete information

25 Strengths- VIA Seligman – Values in Action Survey of Character 6 Virtues and 24 Character Strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) 240 items – character and top 5 “signature strengths” Free vs. $40 report options

26 Strengths- VIA Virtues and Strengths Virtue- Wisdom and Knowledge - Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge Strengths- Creativity, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Love of learning, Perspective Examples of Virtues and Strengths: Courage - Authenticity Humanity - Social Intelligence Justice - Fairness Temperance - Forgiveness Transcendence - Gratitude

27 My Top 3 Signature Strengths Gratitude You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks. Humor and Playfulness You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations. Hope, Optimism, and Future-Mindedness You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

28 Strengths- StrengthsFinder Strengths- T he ability to consistently produce a nearly perfect positive outcome in a specific task 34 themes reflect the most prevalent human talents Focused on academics and business

29 My Strengths- StrengthsFinder Achiever- Great deal of stamina and work hard. Take great satisfaction from being busy and productive. Individualization- Intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. Gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively. Woo- Love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. Derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person. Strategic- Create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. Strategic- Create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues. Maximizer- Focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. Seek to transform something strong into something superb.

30 Clinical Interventions Strengths Quality of Life Therapy

31 Positive Psychology Interventions (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005) Internet-Based Study The Interventions – 1 weeks  Three Blessings**  Using signature strengths in a new way*  Identifying signature strengths  Gratitude visit*

32 Three Blessings (Guided) Journaling  “Each evening before bed, write down 3 things that went well that day. They can be small things or be relatively large in importance.  “Next to each positive event in your list, answer the question: What role did you play that made this happen?”

33 Personal examples “I caught up with several friends on the phone and had some good conversations. It felt good to catch up. I called them.” “I had a good workout. I felt tired after work and didn’t feel like going but did it anyways and felt more energized afterward. I stayed dedicated to the routine and made it a priority.”

34 Gratitude Visit Write and Deliver Letter in Person “Think of a time when you behaved kindly toward someone else and they appreciated it. Something caring or generous that you did, intentional or unintentional. Your actions meant something important to someone else. In your minds eye, try to see the person’s response to your act – their face, their body language. Remember how they acted and what they said to you. Experience your feelings in that moment.” Ben-Shahar (2007)

35 Using Strengths in a New Way   Take the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire online   “Over the next X days this week, find a way use your top 5 strengths in a way that you haven’t done before. You can modify something you already do on a regular basis to better use your strengths, or create a new activity altogether. It’s important that it’s something new and different.”   Example: Encourage someone with Creativity to take a pottery, photography, or painting class.

36 Developing Strengths ala Gallup Interview/Strengths Vocabulary Future Self Intervention “Imagine a ladder standing before you. The top rung is a ten and the bottom rung is a 0. On which step do you stand today? On which step will you stand in 5 years? How will your strengths help you to get to where you want to be?” Primes thinking about how strengths can be used to create the best possible future self

37 Quality of Life Therapy Brainstorm possible solutions under each CASIO strategy, or, in other words, by listing attitudes or actions for managing or solving the problem. CASIO Changing Circumstances Changing Attitudes Changing Goals and Standards Changing Priorities or What’s Important Boost Satisfaction in Other Areas not Considered Before Basic Strategy: Problem solve to improve situation. Find out what is really happening and what it means for you and your future. Set realistic goals and experiment with raising and lowering standards. What new goals and standards can you come up with? Re-evaluate priorities in life and emphasize what is most important and controllable. Increase satisfaction in any areas you care about for an overall boost to happiness.

38 Broaden and Build Interventions Set client goals to foster specific, relevant positive emotions Make a list of enjoyable behaviors Psycho-education on the 3/1 ratio The Big 2: Socializing & Cardio Exercise

39 Next Steps “We need a science of being pulled by the future as opposed to of being pushed by the past.” – Martin Seligman Positive Education fMRI – neurological processes related to positive states

40 Contact Information Danny Singley, Ph.D. GO FORTH AND SPREAD THE POSITIVITY!!


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