Positive Psychotherapy focuses on wellbeing and seeks to amplify strengths and minimize symptoms that cause distress.
Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) encourages individuals to fully recognize what is good inside of them and use those strengths to become resilient in order to meet the challenges that come with mental distress. A PPT therapist does not view clients as broken. Rather uses a type of positive inception within the therapeutic interaction using optimism with the hope of building a foundation for a supportive and co-creative relationship.
The human brain is hard-wired to react more strongly to negatives than to positives, and this can make some suffering with a mental illness less functional. A better therapeutic approach is to emphasize strengths and work toward reducing symptoms. It is important to note that PPT does not deny negative emotions nor encourage clients to see the world through rose-colored glasses. A PPT therapist does not offer empty platitudes, such as pointing out the positive opportunities that trauma, loss, or adversity may present for a person’s development and growth. PPT can help clients learn how to encounter negative experiences with a more positive mindset and reframe and label those experiences in ways that are helpful.
As the quality of the client-practitioner relationship has always been a strong predictor of therapeutic outcomes, it stands to reason that the relationship should be a goal in and of itself. PPT strives to allow clients to experience a sense of wellbeing during sessions and throughout the client practitioner engagement, while the attitude of non-attachment and realistic expectation are practiced and instilled. PPT builds on strengths and positive emotions and equips clients to find meaning in their lives in the effort to undo psychopathology and promote wellbeing (Rashid & Seligman, 2018).
Dr. Tayyab Rashid Interview
Dr. Tayyab Rashid is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre, University of Toronto Scarborough. For more than 15 years, Dr. Rashid has worked with individuals experiencing complex mental health issues including severe depression, debilitating anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and suicidal behaviour. Dr. Rashid has also worked with individuals experiencing with severe trauma, including 9/11 families, survivors of Asian Tsunami of 2004 and Syrian refugee families. Dr. Rashid has recently won Outstanding Practitioner Award from the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA; 2017) and Chancellor Award from the University of Toronto (2018). Dr. Rashid’s work has been published in academic journals, included in textbooks of psychiatry and psychotherapy and has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Maclean's magazine, Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation (CBC) and at TEDx in amazing video What are you Good At? His book Positive Psychotherapy along with Martin Seligman, is considered the most comprehensive in the field and has been translated in five languages since its publication in late 2018.
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