October 27, 2007

Positive psychology and Carol Dweck

A few weeks ago I posted this post: It is essentially about what has functioned well (not about strengths). In this post I said this about solution-focused questions:
"It is not certain that the answer to these questions necessarily leads to the discovery of some stable personal strength. What the answer will lead to is to the identification of some behaviour which in the past has been successful in a more or less comparable situation. So these are not strengths based questions so much as questions which shine a light on what has functioned well. What has functioned well does not exclusively refer to people only but to the interaction between people and situations. So, again it may be wise to be careful of placing a great emphasis on any kind of fixed labels on people (even if these labels are positive). Here is another reason for that. Carol Dweck, Stanford professor, has warned against complimenting children for intelligence. Her research shows that praising children for intelligence leads them to fear challenges and makes them feel stupid and discouraged when they fail."

Today, I was pleased to see an article on Positive Psychology News Daily by Bridget Grenville-Cleave about this same idea and also refering to Carol Dweck's work. Here is a quote from that article:
"Perhaps focusing on people’s strengths and creating labels (albeit positive ones) is not always a good thing."

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