Chapter 47The Future of Positive Psychology in Practice


The big idea of positive psychology was to change the focus of psychology from its preoccupation with the worst things in life to also include what makes life worth living. As the chapters in this volume show, there has been substantial progress in positive psychology and its applications. Empirical evidence shows that well-being can be increased and approaches to the promotion of human flourishing are developing in educational settings, clinics, workplaces, and communities. In this concluding chapter my aim is to draw together some of the issues that have arisen for me in editing the preceding chapters and to consider the challenges ahead for positive psychology in practice. First, I discuss whether the goal of positive psychology is to integrate with mainstream psychology or to be a separate branch of psychology. Second, I consider how positive psychology relates to negative states and the need for new theoretical developments that dissolve boundaries between the positive and the negative. Third, I discuss the need for greater attention to the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of practice.

Integration and Isolation

Ten years ago, while editing the first edition of this volume, my view was that the success of positive psychology would be marked by its integration into mainstream psychology. As the chapters in this volume show, the practice of positive psychology has attracted interest within various ...

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