1). Special issues/special sections on positive psychology2000: , (1)

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Sheldon, K. M., & King, L. (2001). Why positive psychology is necessary [Special issue]. , (3), 216–217. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.56.3.216. The authors provide a definition of positive psychology and suggest that psychologists should try to cultivate a more appreciative perspective on human nature. Examples are given of a negative bias that seems to pervade much of theoretical psychology, which may limit psychologists' understanding of typical and successful human functioning. Finally, a preview of the articles in the special section is given.

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"positive psychology has emerged as a repackaged product that has been aggressively marketed and has achieved amazing success as a result. Despite its rhetoric to the contrary, this encyclopedia [Lopez, 2009] unwittingly exposes positive psychology's similarity to both its predecessor and the mainstream. Its importance may lie in its revitalization of a humanistic psychology that attempts to more fully embrace positivistic empirical methods" (Friedman, 2009).

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Gillham, J. E., & Seligman, M. E. (1999). Footsteps on the road to a positive psychology. , , S163–73. Retrieved from . We have argued that psychology as a field has been preoccupied with the negative side of life and has left us with a view of human qualities that is warped and one–sided. Psychology is literally 'half–baked'. We need to bake the other half now. It is time for us to become equally concerned with the qualities and experiences that make life most worthwhile. A balance is needed between work that strives to relieve damage and work that endeavors to build strength. This balance is beautifully exemplified by Jack Rachman's work over the past 40 years. As an astute and compassionate clinician and researcher, Jack developed and evaluated effective treatments for some of the most debilitating anxiety disorders. At the same time, he was impressed by the resiliency of his clients and the courage they exhibited daily. His observations and studies of courage have helped to launch a systematic science of human strengths. They are giant footsteps on the road to a positive psychology.


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Fredrickson, B. L. (2000). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well–being. , (1). doi:10.1037//1522–3736.3.1.31a. This article develops the hypothesis that intervention strategies that cultivate positive emotions are particularly suited for preventing and treating problems rooted in negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression, aggression, and stress related health problems. Fredrickson's (1998) broaden–and–build model of positive emotions provides the foundation for this application. According to this model, the form and function of positive and negative emotions are distinct and complementary. Negative emotions (e.g., fear, anger, and sadness) narrow an individual's momentary thought–action repertoire toward specific actions that served the ancestral function of promoting survival. By contrast, positive emotions (e.g., joy, interest, and contentment) broaden an individual's momentary thought–action repertoire, which in turn can build that individual's enduring personal resources, resources that also served the ancestral function of promoting survival. One implication of the broaden–and–build model is that positive emotions have an undoing effect on negative emotions. By broadening the momentary thought–action repertoire, positive emotions loosen the hold that negative emotions gain on an individual's mind and body by undoing the narrowed psychological and physiological preparation for specific action. Indeed, empirical studies have shown that contentment and joy speed recovery from the cardiovascular aftereffects of negative emotions (Fredrickson & Levenson, 1998). Stepping off from these ideas and findings, a range of intervention and coping strategies are reviewed, including relaxation therapies, behavioral therapies aimed at increasing rates of pleasant activities, cognitive therapies aimed at teaching optimism, and coping strategies marked by finding positive meaning. These strategies optimize health and well–being to the extent that they cultivate positive emotions. Cultivated positive emotions not only counteract negative emotions, but also broaden individuals' habitual modes of thinking and build their personal resources for coping.

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Fitzpatrick, M. R., & Stalikas, A. (2008). Positive emotions as generators of therapeutic change [Special issue]. , (2), 137–154. doi:10.1037/1053–0479.18.2.137. The purpose of this article is to highlight commonalities and facilitate links between the domains of psychotherapy and positive psychology. The authors describe the Broaden–and–Build theory and suggest that it has heuristic value for understanding psychotherapeutic processes. The authors propose that broadening represents a common factor in intrapersonal therapy that contributes to many helpful change events across different psychotherapies. The upward spiral in which positive emotions and broadening feed one another enlarges current psychotherapeutic conceptualizations by suggesting that positive emotions are not just indicators but also generators of change. The positive emotion–broadening spiral offers new avenues for research and ways to understand existing research, an alternative avenue to therapeutic change, and a method to tailor therapeutic work to individual clients. It also bridges researcher, clinician, and client points of view about key change events. Links between different viewpoints enhance therapeutic work. Links across lines of theorizing and research foster interdisciplinary ties that fertilize both fields.