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Journal of Humanistic Psychology – Newly Released Article

Negative Reflections About Positive Psychology: On Constraining the Field to a Focus on Happiness and Personal Achievement

Oksana Yakushko PhD, Eva Blodgett, MS

“Positive” psychology has gained a dominant voice within and outside the field of psychology. Although critiques of this perspective have been rendered, including by humanistic psychologists, psychology scholars have offered minimum space for critical reflections of this movement in contrast to its critiques existing inside and outside the academia in other fields. Therefore, this contribution seeks to explicate emerging systematic critiques of positive psychology by scholars and practitioners from within mental health fields as well as from philosophy, medicine, education, business, and cultural studies and to highlight sociocultural discussions of positive movement by the culture critics. Last, we offer reflections on positive psychology as immigrant professionals from non-Western backgrounds with an emphasis on existential and humanities-based perspectives. We also highlight that the tenets and experiments based on “positive” psychological practices may have especially detrimental effect on marginalized individuals and communities. This contribution seeks to invite a critical dialogue in the field regarding positive psychology within and outside humanistic psychology and psychology in general.



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