if any of you ever took an intro to psych course, you probably read about the experiment on learned helplessness where Seligman and Maier put one dog in a box and hooked another dog up to the boxed dog, then electrified the floor in the box. the dogs outside the box realized they could do nothing about being in pain and just learned to accept it. kind of dark, right?
funnily enough, that same dog sadist Martin Seligman became the pioneer of positive psychology, a movement that focused on non mentally ill people keeping up their good mental health.
at the time that Seligman developed his ideas, he was frustrated that the field of psychology had become single minded and too focused on mental illness, which left regularly functioning people without information.
there are obviously some criticisms of a focus on positive psych: what about people with actual problems that need dealing with? depressed and anxious people exist. people with bipolar and schizophrenia exist. they need your help more.
even though i have my own history with mental health struggles, i really like looking to positive psychology just because the things you focus on while trying to maintain a fulfilling life are really useful once episodes are in remission, especially for people with affective disorders.
because i know getting way into how to deal with my own specific mental health issues isn’t super useful to most people, i’ll try my best to incorporate some of the tenents of positive psych into my mental health posts from here on out. and who knows, maybe i’ll actually end up helping someone.
peace love and the diathesis-stress model,