Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths


Remediating deficits and managing disabilities has been a central preoccupation for clinical psychologists. Positive Psychology, in contrast, is concerned with the enhancement of happiness and well-being, involving the scientific study of the role of personal strengths and positive social systems in the promotion of optimal wellbeing.

Alan Carr's Positive Psychology has become essential reading for anyone requiring a thorough and accessibleaintroduction to the field. This new edition retains all the features that made the first edition so popular, including:

  • accounts of major theories and relevant research
  • learning objectives
  • chapter summaries
  • research and personal development questions
  • suggestions for further reading
  • measures for use in research
  • glossaries of new terms.

The book has also been completely updated to take account of recent research and major advances, and includes a new chapter on Positive Psychotherapy, an extended account of research on character strengths and virtues, and a discussion of recent ground-breaking research on emotional intelligence.

This new edition of Positive Psychology will prove a valuable resource for psychology students and lecturers, as well as those involved in postgraduate training in related areas such as clinical psychology, social work, counselling and psychotherapy."


I stand for the reform of municipal morals. New worlds for old. Union of all. Three
acres and a cow for all children of nature. Saloon motor hearses. Compulsory manual
labour for all. All parks open to the public day and night. Electric dishscrubbers
for all. Tuberculosis, lunacy, war and mendacity must now cease. General amnesty,
weekly carnival, with masked licence, bonus for all. Esperanto the universal brother
hood … Free money, free love and a free lay church in a free lay state.

(This is Leopold Bloom’s vision of a better
world from Ulysses by James Joyce, 1922)

Clinical psychology has traditionally focused on psychological deficits and disability. It has rarely privileged our clients’ resilience, resourcefulness, and capacity for renewal. In the USA Professor Martin Seligman and his colleagues have laid foundations for a positive psychology to complement deficit-based approaches (Seligman, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Snyder & Lopez, 2002). This new branch of psychology is primarily concerned with the scientific study of human strengths and happiness. Like Leopold Bloom, whose words open this preface, it is concerned with identifying factors that promote well-being. However, unlike Leopold Bloom, the mission of positive psychology is to base conclusions about what would make a better world on science rather than opinion or rhetoric.

When I wrote the first edition of Positive Psychology in 2002, brief accessible books on the topic were in short supply. This was problematic because I wanted such a text to accompany my lectures on positive psychology, which I had incorporated into an introductory course on clinical psychology. It was this wish, along with my longstanding interest in resilience, that prompted me to devote a sabbatical year to writing the first edition of Positive Psychology. The first edition was very popular. However, by 2010 it was out of date due to the explosion in research on positive psychology in the first decade of the twentyfirst century. Hence, this second edition.

The second edition of Positive Psychology retains all of the features that made the first edition so popular, including accounts of major theories and . . .

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