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Calgary Therapy – The Benefits of Positive Psychology in Calgary Therapy

Positive PsychologyBy Dr. Dan McKinnon PhD. (Education)

If you feel you need help coping with stresses in your life in Calgary, therapy options to assist you are many and are readily available from a wide range of Calgary Psychologists.  A brief Internet search will yield an impressive list of professional therapists, complete with academic qualifications, areas of expertise, and preferred therapeutic approaches.

There is a new field of focus within Psychology called Positive Psychology.  Positive Psychology is not a specific therapeutic approach, but rather it is a broad movement aimed at identifying the sources of psychological health and well-being.

Although its research emphasis is relatively recent, Positive Psychology has uncovered significant benefits that are being incorporated into Calgary therapy approaches.  More and more, you will see Calgary Psychologists emphasizing how they use Positive Psychology in their therapy.

Historically, psychological research focused on the negative aspects of life, most notably clinical depression and its components as well as low self-esteem and a variety of other personality issues.  Individuals generally enter therapy because something in their lives is not as it should be – something is wrong.  By definition, this made the therapeutic process inherently negative – focusing on “fixing” the problem.

Positive Psychology looks at the other side of the human condition – what is right with the lives of the majority of humans.  It has identified and studied human strengths and virtues that contribute to happiness and meaningful lives.

The results of Positive Psychology research are increasingly finding their way into a range of therapeutic approaches.  A notable example is Cognitive Therapy, which helps people rethink the way they see the negatives in their lives in relation to the many positive aspects they often ignore.

Positive Psychology does not ignore the value of studying what goes wrong in human life.  Rather, it says to have a complete picture it is necessary to learn from the strengths that characterize what is right in human life.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to be realized from the contributions of Positive Psychology is prevention.  Identifying and building on positive strengths can act as a shield against mental problems like severe depression and substance abuse.

Focusing on real and lasting happiness and more meaningful lives also actc as a buffer against potential problems.  Positive psychology is finding techniques that enable this process.  These techniques are finding their way into Calgary therapy approaches.

One example is the power of giving gratitude.  Many therapies now include gratitude exercises, where clients are given the task of expressing gratitude to someone in their lives who has had a significantly positive impact on them.

Another example is the exercise of identifying the positive things that have occurred during a day in your life.  This requires you to focus at the end of each day on three things that happened to you that were “good”, and then to record them in a diary.

Both these examples are Calgary therapy techniques designed to allow us to begin to shift focus from what is wrong in our lives towards identifying and appreciating what is right in our lives.

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