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Contemporary subdisciplines in psychology

There are a wide range of emerging and contemporary subdisciplines within psychology, we will explore some of them in this section, beginning with positive psychology.

Positive psychology

Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on positive human experiences, well-being, and flourishing. Positive psychology attempts to understand and enhance the factors that contribute to a meaningful and fulfilling life, in contrast to traditional psychology, which frequently emphasises the research and treatment of mental illnesses and psychological disorders. In the late 1990s, it became an established field of study. Dr Martin Seligman is frequently cited as one of its pioneers.

In this 23-minute video, Dr Seligman talks about the new era of positive psychology:

The new era of positive psychology | Martin Seligman

View The new era of positive psychology | Martin Seligman video transcript

Some of the key concepts, issues and debates within positive psychology include:

Methodologies and applications

Positive psychology applications are broad and diverse. They can be applied in many different contexts, including therapy, organisational psychology, education, and personal growth. Positive psychology interventions (PPIs) encourage individuals to focus on their strengths, build positive coping mechanisms, and cultivate positive relationships to improve well-being (Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011).

Suggested wider reading

If you would like to learn more about positive psychology, you can read the following text; it is available through your online reading list: