July 27, 2011

Beyond positive psychology?: Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being

Beyond positive psychology?: Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being

McNulty, James K.; Fincham, Frank D.
American Psychologist, Jul 25, 2011

The field of positive psychology rests on the assumption that certain psychological traits and processes are inherently beneficial for well-being. We review evidence that challenges this assumption. First, we review data from 4 independent longitudinal studies of marriage revealing that 4 ostensibly positive processes—forgiveness, optimistic expectations, positive thoughts, and kindness—can either benefit or harm well-being depending on the context in which they operate. Although all 4 processes predicted better relationship well-being among spouses in healthy marriages, they predicted worse relationship well-being in more troubled marriages. Then, we review evidence from other research that reveals that whether ostensibly positive psychological traits and processes benefit or harm well-being depends on the context of various noninterpersonal domains as well. Finally, we conclude by arguing that any movement to promote well-being may be most successful to the extent that it (a) examines the conditions under which the same traits and processes may promote versus threaten well-being, (b) examines both healthy and unhealthy people, (c) examines well-being over substantial periods of time, and (d) avoids labeling psychological traits and processes as positive or negative. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)

Also read: On positive psychology: my worries, views, suggestions and questions

July 22, 2011

Does the problem need a name?

Intuitively we have all kinds of assumptions about what it takes to solve problems. A first example is that it is necessary to know the cause of a problem before we can solve it. That this is not always the case is illustrated in this post: Subtly transforming the negative into positive. A second example of such assumptions is that big problems ask for big approaches. Intuitively we think that the size of the approach needs to correspond to the size of the problem. According to this view small problems require small approaches and big problems require big approaches. But big and complex problems actually are often better tackled with incremental, self-selected, and contextualized small changes. A posts which illustrates this is Small steps are often the only way to start tackling problems that nearly overwhelm us.

July 18, 2011

25 Quotes about Expertise and Expert Performance

At last I have read The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance by Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul Feltovich, and Robert Hoffman (Eds.). This handbook brings together leading researchers on the topic of expertise and expertise development. This field of research, which is only about 35 years old, has debunked traditional views of how elite performance is achieved and maintained. In particular, it has shown the lack of evidence for the importance of natural talents and the existence of evidence for the critical importance of many years of deliberate practice. Here are ten quotes from the book.

July 13, 2011

Conversation between Alasdair Mcdonald and Coert Visser

Alasdair Mcdonald is a consultant psychiatrist who is the research coordinator and former president and secretary of the European Brief Therapy Association. He is the author of Solution-Focused Therapy. Theory, Research & Practice (2007) and he works as a trainer and supervisor and as a management consultant. Coert Visser is a psychologist, author and expert on the solution-focused approach to coaching and change. His website www.solutionfocusedchange.blogspot.com has become, over the years, a trusted source of reference regarding cutting-edge psychological research which is relevant to solution-focused practitioners, coaches and consultants.

Coert: When did you first hear about the solution-focused approach and how did you get involved with it? Could you share some memories?

July 12, 2011

How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good

A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good

June Gruber, Iris B. Mauss, & Maya Tamir

Abstract: Happiness is generally considered a source of good outcomes. Research has highlighted the ways in which happiness facilitates the pursuit of important goals, contributes to vital social bonds, broadens our scope of attention, and increases well-being and psychological health. But is happiness always a good thing? This review will suggest that the pursuit and experience of happiness might sometimes lead to negative outcomes. We focus on four questions regarding this purported ‗dark side‘ of happiness. First, is there a wrong degree of happiness? Second, is there a wrong time for happiness? Third, are there wrong ways to pursue happiness? And, fourth, are there wrong types of happiness? Taken together, these lines of research suggest that while happiness is often highly beneficial, it may not be beneficial at every level, in every context, for every reason, and in every variety. Full article.

July 3, 2011

21 Progress-Focused Techniques

© 2011, Coert Visser

Note: I have changed the way I call my way of working. I now call it The Progress-Focused Approach

Several informal surveys have given an impression of the relative popularity of different progress-focused techniques. The following 21 techniques seem to belong to the most well-known and popular progress-focused techniques: scaling questions, the past success question, the preferred future question, the platform question, the exception seeking question, reframing, indirect compliments, the miracle question, summarizing in the words of the client, the what-is-better question, normalizing, the usefulness question, the observation question, the perspective change question, the coping question, the continuation question, the prediction suggestion, leapfrogging, and mutualizing. Below is a description of these techniques.

1. The scaling question: The technique of scaling questions originated more or less coincidentally when a client, in a second session with Steve de Shazer, answered to his question how he was doing: “I’ve almost reached 10 already!” de Shazer began to play with the idea of using numbers to describe one’s situation. This started the development of the scaling question used in progress-focused therapy. Today, scaling questions have developed into the most well known and most frequently used progress-focused techniques. Scaling questions are relatively easy to use and extremely versatile. Nowadays, many therapists, coaches and managers use them. Even many people who know little about the progress-focused approach know the scaling question.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner