According to Abraham Maslow, “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.”
Current statistics speak to the need for a different approach by mental health service providers. Depression is 10 times greater today than in 1960, and the average age for depression today is 14.5 as compared to 29.5 in 1960. The use of positive psychology techniques halved the rate of depression in three studies of children and young adults that included nearly 10 years of follow-up, stated Martin Seligman, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, at a seminar sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Positive psychology has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Positive psychologists share a desire to determine how to help people live happier, healthier lives. Contrary to earlier schools of thought, positive psychologists believe happiness can be studied and that happiness comes from having and meeting challenges, choosing one’s own goals, and creating meaning in life.
Positive psychology is a shift from the traditional study of disturbing experiences suffered
in life to the study of all that makes life worth living.
Cross-Cultural Positive Psychology
Rose Pavlov, founder of Ivy Child International, explains the relevant significance of the study of Positive Psychology in the article: “There’s a New Mental Health Model in Town Focusing on the Positives”. Ivy Child uses cross-cultural positive psychology to build healthy capacity within youth and strengthen their psychological immune system so they can persevere through difficulty regardless of gender, race, or culture. The science behind positive psychology is founded on the idea that happiness comes from having and meeting challenges, choosing one’s own goals, and creating meaning in life. Ivy Child’s programs are uniquely designed to foster healthy habits through a variety of strength-based approaches focused on exercising mindfulness and positive psychology in every aspect of daily life.
Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR is a therapeutic application used increasingly in modern psychology to allow ourselves to learn to use our innate resources and abilities to more effectively respond to stress. Mindfulness, as described by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is “a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life…mindfulness is not something that you have to “get” or acquire. It is already within you — a deep internal resource available and patiently waiting to be released and used in the service of learning, growing, and healing.”