Positive Psychology: a (very) brief introduction & history


Positive psychology is a recent branch of scientific psychology that studies the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities, who are not experiencing significant levels of distress, to thrive. The advantage of positive psychology is that it unites scattered and disparate lines of theory and research about what makes life worth living and provides a theoretical backbone for coaching psychology.

According to Martin Seligman, President of the American Psychological society and arguably the strongest proponent of Positive Psychology, positive psychology can be delineated into three overlapping areas of research referred to as “the Pleasant Life,”related to enjoyment, “the Good Life,” related to engagement and “the Meaningful Life,” related to affiliation. Seligman contends that for life coaching psychologists, practicing exactly these three endeavors may bring some order into chaos by limiting coaching’s  scope of practice and providing the solid research base with a strong theoretical backbone that coaching psychology desperately needs.