Chapter 28Clinical Applications of Well-Being Therapy


The concept of psychological well-being has received increasing attention in clinical psychology. Recent investigations have documented the complex relationship between well-being, distress, and personality traits, both in clinical (Fava, Rafanelli, et al., 2001) and nonclinical populations (Ruini et al., 2003). The findings show that psychological well-being could not be equated with the absence of symptomatology, nor with personality traits. It is thus particularly important to analyze the concept of well-being in clinical settings with emphasis on changes in well-being occurring during psychotherapy.

A relevant methodological issue is the broad definition of psychological well-being and optimal functioning. A review by Ryan and Deci (2001) has shown that research on well-being has followed two main directions: (1) happiness and hedonic well-being and (2) development of human potential (eudaimonic well-being). In the first realm all studies dealing with concepts of subjective well-being (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999), life satisfaction (Neugarten, Havighurst, & Tobin, 1961), and positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2002) can be included. The concept of well-being here is equated with a cognitive process of evaluation of an individual's life, or with the experience of positive emotions.

According to the eudaimonic perspective, happiness consists of fulfilling one's potential in a process ...

Get Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.