Positive Psychology

by CBT Psychology ~ September 19th, 2011. Filed under: News.

NZ Association of Positive Psychology – Conference Sept 2011

This was an excellent day with great, varied and competent speakers.

2011 was the first NZ conference and the main philosophy of Positive Psychology was present throughout the day. The content of the presentations, the approach of the speakers, and the attitude of the delegates… it was all testimony to this new (ish) approach in psychology.

-Dr Lindsay Oades spoke about the fact that business wellbeing and employee wellbeing are interdependent and that prosperity can only follow if both are well.

-Prof Todd Kashdan linked in from US and reminded everyone that context matters. If Positive Psychology is to become meaningful, then it cannot be applied ‘mindlessly’ to every situation or client in a ‘cook book’ way.

-Dr Suzy Green reminded the audience that Positive Psychology is NOT ‘Happy-ology’. The meaning IN life (not OF life) deals with questions of life purpose and ‘making of meaning’, even after trauma. It also includes all emotions – not just happiness. She suggested that we all think about writing our obituaries…’What would you want to be remembered for?”

-Gaynor Parkin took a similar approach by pointing out that Positive Psychology is not just ‘positive thinking’; rather reality appraisals, resilience and the meta-cognitive approach. She acknowledged Seligman’s, Padesky’s and Fredrickson’s contributions and she recommended the use of measurements/ psychometrics to establish ‘markers of effectiveness’.

-Dr Jo Mitchell reminded the audience that Positive Psychology has already spread online and thus even people in remote areas can be part of this new approach. The traditional ‘illness alleviation’ needs to be complemented by ‘wellness enhancement’. The internet allows mental health to be promoted in an accessible, sustainable, effective and individually tailored way. If presence of wellness can be promoted/achieved, this translates immediately into absence of illness… She also reminded us of the effectiveness of keeping a gratitude journal…

Dr Aaron Jarden was lauded as being the main driver for this conference and for the inception of the Association of Positive Psychology in NZ! He presented the ‘International Wellbeing Study’, which has been running for a few years and has generated a mountain of data (from 18 psychometric measures). These data are slowly being interpreted, but best of all: they are ‘open source data’ and available to everybody on the website! This is true collaboration and true spirit of sharing, meaningfulness and positive outlook into the future. Their first results have pointed towards the best predictors of wellbeing:

“Living life aligned with ones values, while using one’s time in a meaningful way”

It is definitely the next step for psychology and fortunately the present CBT approaches are well suited to fit this new future.

Check out their website as well: www.positivepsychology.org.nz

 Dr. Veronika Isler

Comments are closed.