12 pages/≈3300 words
Social Anxiety and Positive Psychology (Term Paper Sample)
the requirement was to write a 12-page research paper on anything related to positive psychology (Ex: social anxiety applied to positive psychology). the 12 pages were not inclusive of the bibliography. the pages were to be written individually and would contain 15 to 20 credible sources without restrictions for year of publication source..
Social Anxiety and Positive Psychology Author Institutional Affiliation Course Code: Course Title Instructor’s Name Date Social Anxiety and Positive Psychology Introduction Positive psychology is a relatively new field of study focusing on responding to the question of “what is good about people?” and thus departing from the traditional conventions of clinical psychology which focus on responding to the question of “what is wrong with people?” By its fundamental nature, positive psychology emerged as a call-to-action, rather than a fully science-backed paradigm shift, to the unaddressed issues associated with modern clinical psychology. Significant among these is the fact that current psychotherapy helps people in need to move from a negative place to a neutral one but ignores the need to transfer them further from this neutral place to a positive level. In keeping with this much-needed function, positive psychology has found important use as a complementary intervention for people with severe mental illnesses and other mental disorders. The role of positive psychology in addressing social anxiety disorder and extreme social anxiety has been associated with its ability to cultivate important positive emotions such as pride, hope, optimism, and love, which effectively address the salient negative correlation between social anxiety and positive affect. Positive Psychology: A Background Since the birth of psychology as a human research discipline, the primary tenet to which the entirety of this applied science has been built seeks to answer one universal question: what is wrong with people? Over the past century, applied psychologists have made numerous attempts to explicate and, perhaps, formulate a basis for understanding human fallibility or the “human incarnate” that characterizes the average person. The innate nature of humans has sparked contentious debates over the years as experts in the field of applied psychology and philosophy continued to make attempts in debunking the good/compassionate versus the nasty/brutish character of humans. Looking back at history and findings published over time, there has been no simple or concrete answer to this question. In an attempt to find an amicable solution to this age-long question, the 21st century has witnessed a shift in perspective from questioning the bad in people to seeking to understand the good in them. The question “what is good about people?” appears to have caught on strongly since the turn of the century—this question forms the fundamental basis of positive psychology. Loosely defined as the scientific and applied discipline emphasizing the human ability to be inherently good and their capacity for positive functioning, the emergence of positive psychology packs a significant impact in today’s view of the world and its humanity. The basis of positive psychology contends heavily with previously held scientific beliefs on the nature and objective of psychology. Specifically, the outlook of Sigmund Freud, a founding father of modern psychology, fashioned the goal of psychology as one of replacing neurotic despair with conventional unhappiness. Acknowledging that the original goal of psychology was to intervene in mental illnesses by drawing an understanding of people living with such problems, positive psychology inverts this perspective. It offers what many would consider a counterbalanced perspective against what Freud and other pioneers of psychology had originally hoped to achieve. Positive psychology strikes a balance by emphasizing the importance of exploring the will and strength in humans alongside their perceived weaknesses. However, the proponents of positive psychology make it clear that this discipline does not intend to dilute the importance and outcomes of human suffering and the pain that comes with it. The acknowledgment of suffering is prominent in Martin E.P. Seligman’s personalized account of the beginnings, motivation, and objective of the discipline in a now-published 2018 paper titled “Positive psychology: A personal history.” In his account, Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, talked about “the substance” of this discipline as being the very fabric on which the ideals of goodness and beneficence run. He argued that the basis for establishing positive psychology as a scientific and social discipline was to offer a different perspective on the concerns captured in modern clinical psychology. Seligman mentioned “the good life” which he argued was lacking as a guiding principle in clinical psychology. He thought about positive psychology as the mainstay of a healthy and sane lifestyle and a default pursuit for humans when they are not suffering. He recognized the reality of suffering and, in fact, proposed the five elements of wellbeing—positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment (collectively called PERMA). To him, an element implies “what free, nonsuffering people choose to pursue for its own sake.” (Seligman, 2019, p. 9). The inclusion of suffering (or the lack of it) in positive psychology introduces an interesting yet important perspective on how this discipline applies to everyday human living. It is true that almost as many acts of kindness, beneficence, and love have existed in the world as absolute acts of evil fueled by abhorrence and cruelty. Those who lived in the period between the 5th and 14th centuries A.D. experienced the Dark Ages, but their descendants, born after the 14th century, enjoyed a period of extreme calm and euphoria, called the Renaissance period. Similarly, the invention of penicillin was a groundbreaking and much-needed intervention in the world, but somewhat similar chemical processes birthed nerve gas which has brought untold devastation in the face of chemical warfare. The human race has been responsible for the civilian displacement and the advent of concentration camps in much the same manner as has been involved in the building of cathedrals, hospitals, and shelters. For every do-gooder in history who has sought to bring equality and peace to the human race, there has existed an equally influential antihero who has directed discrimination and cruelty at people. However, in line with acknowledging these counterbalancing events, most researchers have departed from questioning the basic nature of humanity. Instead, they have adopted an approach that attempts to answer the question: is it possible to create a world in which the good side of humanity finds an opportunity to flourish and exist expressively? (Ciarrochi et al., 2013). Now, positive psychology has, in part, responded with a resounding “yes” to this question as it channels its main focus towards human strength and flourishing. Much of its success as a discipline has arisen from the fact that experts view positive psychology as an effort to reroute academic/research attention in the direction of previously overlooked topics, and not as a paradigmatic shift in scientific thinking. In keeping with this reality, it suffices to view positive psychology and its propositions as an audacious, bold, and perhaps even half-baked, attempt when considered from a scientific angle. One of the hallmarks of positive psychology has been its ability to courageously point out the weaknesses of modern clinical psychology. While the latter has had extensive success in reducing stress and managing human disorders, it has largely ignored the ultimate purpose of human living. From a positive psychology standpoint, no human being lives to simply be free of distress or mental disorder; however, the “positive” in positive psychology does not also imply the nonexistence of distress or disorder. Seligman’s brainchild continues to insist on the presence of other ingredients that constitute a well-lived life and which have been the focal point of this relatively new discipline. A typical working assumption of the discipline is that the aspects of life constituting health and positivity are not exact opposites of distress and disorder in humans. A neat example of what positive psychology is in what clinical psychology is unable to do—the latter is effective at bringing people from a negative emotion to a neutral place but poor at moving them from this neutral place to a more positive one. Therefore, the primary aim of positive psychology has been to address, harness, and cultivate positive experiences, strengths, and human qualities as a precursor to positive interactions and the creation of institutions of positive embodiment. Effectiveness Cases of Positive Psychology Since its emergence in 1998, positive psychology has grown vastly and rapidly with the central mission of identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions that promote human wellbeing (Wood & Johnson, 2016). Among the key achievements of positive psychology include goalsetting, the espousal of a person’s best self, capitalizing on one’s signature strengths, lingering on past and present pleasures afforded by one’s immediate environment, finding and committing to a flow, showing gratitude for positive experiences in one’s life, cultivating a personal philosophy of optimism, exuding kindness, building strong relationships, harnessing courage, and exercising forgiveness towards others (Parks & Layous, 2016; Parks & Schueller, 2014). Over the years, the rationale for developing positive psychology interventions, called PPI, has evolved from the idea that personal wellbeing and psychopathological traits are two independent yet correlated psychological constructs. Essentially, the role of psychotherapy has been to reduce patient symptoms associated with psychopathology; however, many patients, despite remaining relatively asymptomatic post-treatment, have expressed a feeling of dissatisfaction with their lives. The role of PPI steps in to remedy this aftermath by complementing...
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