HLTHAGE 2G03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Positive Psychology, Medicalization, Neoliberalism

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Lecture 4 Positive Psychology and the New Self
January 29, 2018
- Readings on the midterm: What are the major arguments of the articles?
- Essay Writing Workshop next week after lecture
Into the 21st Century
- Culmination of the growth of psychology
o Late 1990s to present
- 20th century understanding human nature and behaviour as a psychological
basis
o Understanding how our psyches drive us
- Transition away from focusing on the negative states and deficiencies to
enhancement
o Instead of returning people to normality we are focusing on pushing
people forward and beyond the norm
- Increasingly, daily discipline and governance over psychological life comes from
the self, rather than experts
o Can it still be considered medicalization if we are doing this ourselves?
Emergence of Positive Psychology
- 1990s, Seligman has an “epiphany in the garden”
o he realizes he is a grump, and his mind is clouded with negativity
o suggests that the profession of psychology needs to move away from the
obsession with “the negativity”
revolutionizes the study of psychology by shifting towards the
“universal science of happiness”
assumes that happiness is universal to all human beings
(transcends culture and time)
happiness is objective what makes humans as a species
happy?
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promotion of well-being rather than the alleviation of mental
disorder
- Hungarian psychologist Csikszentmihayli’s revelations and “flow”
o Flow moment of activity where time stops, “living in the moment”,
outside “stops”
o People need flow in order to feel good and to be happy
o Interested in how people who have experienced extreme misery could be
happy (ex: holocaust survivors)
- Positive Psychology emerges as the study of positive experience, human
strengths, virtues
- Key Tenets:
o At root: positivity is good for you, negativity is bad
o Emotions like optimism can be learned, irrespective of life conditions
Happiness is the result of cognitive outlook we can “learn” to be
happy
Revolutionary because, before it was assumed that happiness
accompanied certain environmental conditions
These conditions can help produce happiness but it begins
with the individual
o Inverts Freudian theory that thoughts are driven by underlying emotions
that themselves are products of life experiences
Rather, you feel something because you think it
If you can control your thoughts, you can control your
emotions
o Once happiness inculcated in an individual, they’ll perform better and then
feel better self-reinforcing cycle
You won’t only feel better, but better things will happen to you as
well
o Seligman: rather than curing “negative states”, psychology should
augment the ability to prevent psychopathology
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Document Summary

Lecture 4 positive psychology and the new self. Essay writing workshop next week after lecture. Culmination of the growth of psychology: late 1990s to present. 20th century understanding human nature and behaviour as a psychological basis: understanding how our psyches drive us. Transition away from focusing on the negative states and deficiencies to enhancement. Instead of returning people to normality we are focusing on pushing people forward and beyond the norm. Universal science of happiness : assumes that happiness is universal to all human beings (transcends culture and time, happiness is objective what makes humans as a species happy, promotion of well-being rather than the alleviation of mental disorder. Hungarian psychologist csikszentmihayli"s revelations and flow : flow moment of activity where time stops, living in the moment , outside stops , people need flow in order to feel good and to be happy. Interested in how people who have experienced extreme misery could be happy (ex: holocaust survivors)

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