Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Positive Affect, Psychotherapy, and Depression

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Positive Affect, Psychotherapy, and Depression

Article excerpt

Byline: Silky. Arora, Roopali. Sharma

Introduction: Psychological interventions have established competence in the enrichment of mental health, controlling, and diminishing manifestations in mild or moderate mental illnesses. It is evident that psychological therapies, in particular, cognitive behavioural therapy, have quantitatively and qualitatively alleviated the symptoms of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Depression, a mood disorder, contributes to defi cit cognition, behavioral, and emotional malfunctioning in children. Specific aspects of positive affect were used in conjunction with psychotherapy, implied for depression treatment of 9-12-year-old children. The paper outlines the aspects of positive affect in psychotherapy and their role in behavioral modification, stimulation of positive emotions, cognitive flexibility, and effective interpersonal associations. Methodology: The research is based on pre-post research design, t-test was calculated. Results and Conclusion: It was found that integration of positive affects such as 'Fake, Fake and Duchenne Smile' and 'improvising the pleasurable activities' in psychotherapy were effective in alleviating depression.


Emotions are consequential of one's perception in relation to environmental assets. Based on context and the extent of experiences, a relative affect is conceived. These may be constructive, positive, or contrary. Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy. Goldstein and Nagliery [1] claimed that the aspect of pleasure, positive affect may overlap with 'positive emotions' but are not identical. Affect induces resultant emotional response. On considering the stimulating response of affect, an experiment involved sorting of the emotional faces by 3-4-year-old patients. Facilitation was only observed in context to 'happy faces' by participants, as stated in research by Qu and Zelanzo [2] in 2007. Evidently, positive affect was preferred over negative or neutral ones. Fredrickson propounded the domain of positive emotion consisted joy, interest, contentment, and love.[3] It is significant to consider that learning and assimilation regarding pleasurable activities, is a natural human tendency but compromised in affective disorders.[4] Affect, arousal (emotional), emotional response, and emotional regulation are sequential processes. Increased emotional response toward negative affect accompanied with dysfunctional emotional regulation if one of the prominent symptoms of affective disorders such as depression.[5]

Positive affect generation from 'Fake, Fake and Duchenne Smile' and 'improvisation of pleasurable activities'

In association with generating positive emotions, positive affective states are generally determined through self-reports.[6],[7] The review literature supports various ways of positive affect generation, such as timed viewing of pleasant pictures,[8] compliments, receiving gifts, reflection of positive emotion, encouragement, or affectionate touch. A study facilitated that immediate positive affect can be inducted through compliments and gifts in adolescents that promoted creativity and facilitated problem-solving.[9] Stimulation and recurrence of positive affect results in cognitive flexibility,[2] openness to information, and improvement in interpersonal problem-solving attribute.[10] It also accelerates the coping processes and behavior, promoting health psychology.[11],[12],[13]

A case study conducted in patients of multiple sclerosis, also experiencing depression suggests that telephonic psychological therapy based on models of positive affect and optimism was effective in reduction of depressive symptoms.[14] Individual therapy targeting at cultivating positive behaviors or positive feelings do enhance well-being and alleviate depressive symptoms, provided that these interventions are continued for longer periods. …

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