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Positive Psychology (History)

P. Alex Linley


Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Extract

Positive psychology as we know it today was inaugurated with Martin E. P. Seligman's Presidential Address delivered to the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 21, 1999. Shifting focus from an established career as an international authority on depression, pessimism, and learned helplessness, Seligman proposed to his audience that psychology had largely neglected the latter two of its three pre-World War II missions: curing mental illness, helping all people to lead more productive and fulfilling lives, and identifying and nurturing high talent. The advent of the Veterans Administration (in 1946) and the National Institute of Mental Health (in 1947) had largely rendered psychology a healing discipline based upon a disease model and illness ideology, and Seligman resolved to use his APA Presidency to initiate a shift in psychology's focus toward a more positive psychology. Seligman's presidential initiative began with a series of meetings in Akumal, Mexico, of mid-career scholars who could inform the conceptualization and early development of positive psychology. The Akumal meetings ran annually from January 1999 (Akumal I) through January 2002 (Akumal IV). The first Positive Psychology Summit was held in September 1999 in Lincoln, Nebraska, followed by two further national Positive Psychology Summits in Washington, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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