What Are the Positive Movements in Psychology?
There was a time in the history of Psychology that behaviors and mental processes are mostly viewed negatively. The word "Psychology" became almost synonymous to abnormal behavior and mental disorders. However, there is much more in Psychology than eccentric human problems.
The Humanistic Movement
B. F. Skinner and other behaviorists simplified the human being as acting in response to rewards and punishments. In this light, humans are no more than animals favoring rewards and evading punishments. On the other hand, Sigmund Freud and other psychodynamic psychologists reduced the human being as driven by sex and aggression. Again, humans are no more than animals that strive to live and kill. With these two giants in Psychology, subsequent followers perpetuated the notion that humans are nothing more than specialized animals. The Humanistic Movement claims otherwise. Although they do not reject the existence of animalistic tendencies as present in human beings, Humanists, such as Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, believe that human beings have the capacity to be happy, to love and be loved in return, to sacrifice, to care and be cared for, to have friends, and to go beyond their animal nature. For them, such qualities make humans rightfully called "humans."
The Positive Psychology Movement
Negativity in Psychology did not only affect the perceived capacity of the human being, it also influenced the conduct of psychological research. In the 1990s, academic journals in Psychology showed marked trend leading towards the search for negative subjects, such as mental disorders and abnormal behaviors. Virtually no research was conducted on the positive aspects of the human being. In response, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Martin Seligman reoriented the "American Psychologist" journal, year 2000 special issue, in the light of the Positive Psychology Movement. The movement advocates that psychological research should also touch on the positive experiences, traits and values of the human being, such as altruism, leadership and love. Today, the movement is reflected in various lines of research in Psychology, such as Parenting, Law and Forensics, Education, Counseling and Therapy.
Introduction to Psychology
- What Is Psychology and How Did It Develop?
- How Do Contemporary Psychologists Approach the Study of Behavior and Mental Processes?
- What Are the Positive Movements in Psychology?
- What Types of Careers are Available to Psychology Majors?
- What Study Habits and Skills are Useful for Majoring in Psychology?