Division 17 Section on Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the scientific study of human strengths and virtues. It involves an attempt to move toward a more balanced perspective on human functioning that considers motives, capacities, and human potentials. Counseling Psychology historically and presently continues to be one of the few disciplines that highlights the values of fostering human capacities, satisfaction, and well-being. In some form Counseling Psychology always has been a vital part of promoting good health and preventing disease, including mental, physical, and social disorders for individuals and communities. It is in the context that this Section was formed. The aim of the this group is to focus on how Counseling Psychology fosters and builds human strength and well-being and in pursuing this endeavor, furthers the development of positive psychological science and practice. This site includes information about positive psychology research, teaching, and practice as well as events, strengths based books, and resources.

June 2015

Positive psychological interventions in counseling: What every counseling psychologist should know

Citation: Magyar-Moe, J. L., Owens, R. L., & Conoley, C. W. (2015). Positive psychological interventions in counseling: What every Counseling Psychologist should know. The Counseling Psychologist, 43(4), 508–557.

This article serves as a primer in positive psychology for counseling psychologists to reference in their work with clients. It is also a useful resource in training and practice settings.
— Jeana Magyar-Moe, PhD

Abstract:  Counseling psychologists are in a prime position to claim preeminence in the field of applied positive psychology. A number of misunderstandings or misconceptions of positive psychology seem to interfere, however, with the focus (or lack thereof) that has been placed upon training counseling psychologists to utilize and contribute to positive psychological scholarship and applications. In this article, the most commonly reported misconceptions are addressed, and foundational information regarding positive psychological constructs, theories, and processes most relevant to the applied work of counseling psychologists is reviewed. Counseling psychologists are encouraged to claim positive psychology as the logical extension of our humanistic roots and to consider how to both utilize and contribute to the growing body of positive psychological scholarship.