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J Clin Psychol. 2009 May;65(5):461-6. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20588.

Positive interventions in clinical practice.

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Psychological Services, Toronto District School Board, South-West, 1 Civic Centre Court, Toronto, Ontario.


Mainstream psychotherapy has made huge strides in treating symptoms and disorders, but it has largely overlooked happiness as a therapeutic goal despite frequently hearing from clients, "Doctor, I want to be happy." This issue of Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session describes a number of positive interventions for specific clinical problems, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, loss, grief, and relationship distress. Although the name may suggest it, positive interventions do not imply that rest of psychotherapies are negative. Neither are negatives denied nor minimized. Distinct from self-help recipes proffering instant changes, positive psychology interventions refer to systematic approaches to overcome challenges by using clients' strengths and assets. A hybrid psychotherapy-coaching model and strength-based assessment can ask a client "What is right with you?" All articles are supplemented with rich case illustrations.

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