The Dark Side of Positive Psychology
I have been a wellness coach for almost exactly 10 years. And along the way, I have gotten thoroughly immersed in positive psychology. Which, if you didn’t know, is a fairly new field of study typically said to be pioneered by Dr. Martin Seligman in the late 1990s. It’s all about reaping the benefits that can be had from focusing on the good in life, and where you want to go in the future, rather than on unpacking all the stuff that has happened in the past as more traditional psychology models tend to encourage. I’ve see it work for plenty of individuals over the years – there’s a lot of benefit to placing your focus on what you do well already and the good things that you want to bring into being.
Right now I’m reading a book called America the Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks. Midway through the book, Dr. James Coyne, in an interview with author Ruth Whippman, shared the name of a lecture he was to be giving the following week. It was “Positive psychology is for rich white people.”
In my work as a coach, I recommend ‘practicing gratitude’ on a regular basis, regularly help people take ownership of their choices, and often encourage calling out the positives in life while staying present in the moments as they unfold. These strategies have made a difference for many of the folks I have worked with, so I know positive psychology has plenty of benefits.
Plenty of benefits IF you were born into privilege. Continue reading “The Dark Side of Positive Psychology”