Turkish Positive Psychology Association 

Psychology has traditionally put more emphasis on the negative than the positive. The main emphasis of the traditional disease model was on healing pathology (e.g., depression, personality disorder, trauma, or anxiety). But scientists nowadays readily agree that a person who remains free of mental illness might still not lead a fulfilling life. Just getting rid of the conditions that cause misery, seems not to be sufficient to yield the conditions for a happy and meaningful life. To provide a more balanced and complete understanding of human experience, the emerging science of positive psychology turns away from the traditional disease model and reverses the focus to understanding under what conditions people flourish.



The field of positive psychology, which emerged at the beginning of the new millennium, aims to improve the quality of life of healthy people using the most rigorous scientific tools. The focus is on studying positive emotions, positive character traits, and enabling institutions (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). As a field of inquiry, the purpose of positive psychology is to understand what makes a good life for individuals and for communities living under normal (as opposed to extreme) conditions. To understand the aspects of human experience that makes life most worth living, positive psychology shifts the attention away from the human weaknesses towards the strengths (e.g., self-regulation, self-acceptance, resilience, creativity, mindfulness, etc.) that enable individuals to thrive.

Positive psychology is not happiology, however. The field does not claim that bad things do not happen to people. Nor does it say that the problem-focused psychology should be discarded and replaced by the study of good life. Rather, it argues that what is good in life is as authentic as what is bad. The main premise of the field is that the study of good life is justifiable in its own right: It should not be a derivative of problem-focused psychology. Thus, positive psychology as a scientific movement within psychology aims to bring together discrete lines of research to advocate a deeper understanding of well-being that broadens the traditional disease model (Peterson, 2009).


Peterson,
 C. (2009). Foreword. In C.R. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. xxiii-xxiv). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. 
American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.
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