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What is a positive psychology practitioner?

In short, a positive psychology practitioner is one who specializes in preventative and enhancement mental health care. Where does this fit with other kind of mental health care?

If we view health as a spectrum, we would find Illness on one extreme and Flourishing on the other…

On the left side, we would find the legally regulated mental health professionals because of the intensity and type of intervention (directing the patient in what they need to do because they do not know what they need). On the right side, we would find the more supportive professionals, including coaches, educators, parents, mentors, etc, who are increasingly less directive as they support their person in taking more responsibility for choosing their own course.

A positive psychology practitioner could also be any of those supportive helping professionals. While in the role of coach, teacher, parent, this helping professional is ready to apply scientifically-supported theory, interventions, and guidance to help people make positive changes those people have chosen for their mental well-being.

While doctors, classical psychologists, therapists and counselors put a great deal of attention on the healing side of the health spectrum, positive psychology practitioners are positioned to help people on the prevention and enhancement side of wellbeing. The needs they can focus on:

  • Recovery after distress
  • Restoration of focus, strength
  • Enhancement of function

In other words, once illness or chronic distress has been alleviated, there is a professional positioned on the other side, helping people build strength to avoid falling back down (prevention) and make progress toward a more flourishing life (enhancement), possibly better than it ever has been.

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