POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY/GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY READING LIST FOR PROFESSIONALS
Flourish, by Martin E. P. Seligman, (2011), New York, Free Press.
If you haven’t read Martin Seligman’s newest book, your knowledge of Positive Psychology is probably obsolete. As is true for all of his books, Flourish is an easy read and well worth the small expenditure of time and money to stay current with the latest science this ever-evolving field.
Can Personality Be Changed? By Carol Dweck (2008). In Current Directions In Psychological Science, Association for Psychological Scienc3, 17: 391-394.
Major concepts of Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy make no sense if one doesn’t believe that personality can be changed even in adulthood. If you are not familiar with Carol Dweck’s, work, this brief article presents an introduction to the science that supports the potential for personality change. It will likely make you want to read more of her work – which has had a major influence on The Mental Health Gym philosophy
The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky, (2007), New York, Penguin Books
This is a nicely written book that has plenty of research to support positive psychology concepts as well as an inviting style and lots of exercises to help readers of all types to think and act positively.
Character Strengths and Virtues, by Christopher Peterson & Martin E. P. Seligman, (2004), New York, Oxford Press.
If you haven’t read this rather weighty volume, and you think that diagnosing mental illness is the only way to conceptualize patients/clients, this is the book to read. It provides guidelines for viewing people positively – backed by a strong research base.
Flow; the psychology of optimal experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,, (1990), New York, Harper.
Before there was a field of positive psychology, Csikszentmihalyi was laying the groundwork by identifying the concept of flow and studying how people can reach a state of being immersed in a creative and positive state of total involvement. The book provides an understanding of an important concept in our field as well as a window into the thinking process that led to the development of positive psychology through the eyes of one of its founders.
The Brain That Changes Itself, By Norman Doidge, (2007), New York, Penguin.
The concept of brain plasticity is recognized by all serious neuroscientists. Organic deficits that were once thought to be permanent have been proven to be amenable to change because of brain plasticity. While this is not a positive psychology book per se, it provides a nice summary and dramatic examples of the science behind neuroplasticity and offers a basis for optimism in our work. We now know that we have the brain as our ally as we guide patients to new habits and attitudes on the road to well-being.