- Posted by Virginia
- On July 1, 2017
- 0 Comments
- Happiness, Positive psychology, Well-being
‘scientific study of optimal human functioning [that] aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive’.
I had the fortune to attend a conference some years ago where a psychologist Dr. Robert Holden, spoke in front of what was a large audience. Within minutes he was able to captivate us with his Positive Psychology approaches. While Robert was first speaking, there was a crying baby in the audience. He stopped his train of thought and focused on the baby. He asked the mother to stand up and established that this baby girl was just a few months old. Everyone in the audience unanimously and quite naturally exclaimed “Aaaah”. Robert brought his attention back to us and said, “Can you feel the energy of love in this room? So how is it that you all love this baby girl? She hasn’t proved herself in life, she hasn’t got a degree and letters after her name, she hasn’t proved her worthiness…. This is the essence of who we all are. We are all love”.
Robert Holden as well as a psychologist, is an author, speaker, broadcaster and coach. His pioneering work in the field of positive psychology led him to found the first NHS Stress Busters Clinic in Britain in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s he founded The Happiness Project, where his landmark work was the subject of a BBC QED TV documentary titled How to be Happy.
Having studied many neuroses in his psychology studies – i.e., all the things that can be wrong with people – he questioned why they were not studying what was right with people. Surely we all want to be happy? How can we help people to be happy?
He has moved from a career that would be dominated by the word ‘diagnosis’ to a career of positive psychology, exploring the concepts of happiness.
Psychology has more often than not emphasised the shortcomings of individuals as compared with their potentials. This particular approach focuses on the potentials. It is not targeted at fixing problems, but is focused on researching things that make life worth living instead.