The History of Positive Psychology

The Origin of Positive Psychology 

In 2000, the formal discipline of positive psychology started to exist. The basic concept of Positive Psychology was present more than a thousand years ago. The concepts were present in many religious texts and philosophical discourse. Positive Psychology is influenced by many humanistic and psychodynamic approaches. Researchers have been predating the term “positive psychology”. They are going to include such topics under the new denomination.

The term positive psychology dates back to 1954. As in 1954, Maslow’s first edition of Motivation and Personality was published. It published a final chapter titled “Toward a Positive Psychology”. Many psychologists started promoting mental health rather than treating mental illness. The psychology field has addressed the human experience using the “Disease Model”. In this, they particularly study and identify the dysfunction of an individual.

In 1988, Martin Seligman chose psychology. It is the theme for his term as president of the American Psychology Association. He stated a point in the first sentence of his book. That is “For the last half-century psychology has been consumed with a single topic only  – mental illness”. He also urged psychologists to continue the earlier psychology missions. So as to nurture talent and improve the normal life.


In 1999, the first Positive Psychology summit was held. Later in 2002, the First International Conference on Positive Psychology took place. In 2006, common people gave more attention to this. A course at Harvard University became popular. The First World Congress on Positive Psychology took place at the University of Pennsylvania in June 2009.

IPPA is an established association known as International Positive Psychology Association

Later the IPPAs missions include –

1. To continue the science of positive psychology across the globe. Also to ensure that the field continues to rest on this science.

2. To work for the effective and responsible application of positive psychology in diverse areas. Areas such as organizational psychology, counselling and clinical psychology. Also business, health, education, and coaching.

3. foster education and training in the field


Humanistic psychologists are Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm. They developed theories about human happiness. Recently they found empirical support for their theories of flourishing. It has been moved further in a variety of new directions. 

In 1984, Diener influenced people by publishing his tripartite model of subjective well being. Components of wellbeing are frequent positive affect, infrequent negative affect, and cognitive evaluations. As it includes cognitive, affective, and contextual factors. Thus, this model has contributed to subjective well-being. Mental well being has three components that are hedonic, psychological and social well-being. Carol Ryff’s Six factor Model of Psychological Well was published in 1989. It stated that six factors are the key to well-being. The well-being factors are self-acceptance, personal growth, and purpose in life. Also environmental mastery, autonomy, and positive relations.  

Some view positive psychology terms as eastern thoughts. Eastern philosophy such as Buddhism, and Western psychodynamic approaches. Also, such philosophy and teachings are found in Aristotle’s teachings. His teaching cultivates moral virtue as the means of attaining happiness and well-being.

The History of Positive Psychology

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