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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005;1:629-51.

Positive psychology in clinical practice.

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Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104, USA.


Positive psychology is the scientific study of positive experiences and positive individual traits, and the institutions that facilitate their development. A field concerned with well-being and optimal functioning, positive psychology aims to broaden the focus of clinical psychology beyond suffering and its direct alleviation. Our proposed conceptual framework parses happiness into three domains: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. For each of these constructs, there are now valid and practical assessment tools appropriate for the clinical setting. Additionally, mounting evidence demonstrates the efficacy and effectiveness of positive interventions aimed at cultivating pleasure, engagement, and meaning. We contend that positive interventions are justifiable in their own right. Positive interventions may also usefully supplement direct attempts to prevent and treat psychopathology and, indeed, may covertly be a central component of good psychotherapy as it is done now.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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