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POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, HAPPINESS AND PROSPECTING

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, HAPPINESS AND PROSPECTING

DR. MARTIN SELIGMAN

Martin Seligman, often known as the Father of Positive Psychology, is my favorite theorist, author and researcher in the field of psychology. I have followed him since my earliest days of studying to do missionary and chaplaincy work.

He is releasing a new book, The Hope Circuit, and speaks about it in a blog with Coursera.1

THE HOPE CIRCUIT

Here is what Seligman says the new book is about, “There are three remarkable things that have happened in my life and in the field of psychology in the last 50 years, and The Hope Circuit is about that. The first is that I went from being a depressed and anxious person to being a happy person. The second thing is that the field of psychology went from being about conflict, depression, aggression, and competition to focusing on finding meaning, love, positive emotion, happiness, and fulfillment. The third thing is that the world became a better place.”

PROSPECTIVE PSYCHOLOGY

In the blog, Seligman also states that the form of psychology he is now most excited about is “Prospective Psychology.” This is how he describes it, “humans are prospectors, and we’re constantly looking into the future. Prospection refers broadly to the mental representation and evaluation of possible futures. This may include planning, prediction, hypothetical scenarios, daydreaming, and evaluative assessment of possible future events.”

PROSPECTING THE FUTURE AND HIGH ACE SCORES

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Seligman’s statements and this needs to be the focus of our work with young people who have high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Scores. It is a fundamental part of healing trauma; being able to imagine and work towards a hope-filled future that the youth helps us forecast. This is another key, their engagement in the prospecting process is critical to their sense of hope. It is not something we can “do to” people. Simultaneously, it is rarely something that a person who has experienced a number of ACE’s can do “for themselves.” Our role is to create a process using appreciative inquiry that will help a person prospect their future “with us.”

You can order Dr. Seligman’s new book, The Hope Circuit, through the link in the following article. 

REFERENCE

1Foundations of Positive Psychology: Q&A with Dr. Martin Seligman, Coursera Blog, April 11, 2018, https://blog.coursera.org/foundations-positive-psychology-qa-dr-martin-seligman/

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