M.Phil., Dipl.-Psych. is Psychological Psychotherapist and board member of the International Center for Positive Psychotherapy (ICPP), Wiesbaden
Christian Henrichs (2007). Supplementary Approaches – Positive Therapy. Deutsches Ärzteblatt. Psychologische Psychotherapie. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag. Köln
As Response to: Sonnenmoser (2007). POSITIVE PSYCHOTHERAPIE: Positive Emotionen, Engagement und Lebenssinn. Deutsches Ärzteblatt. Psychologische Psychotherapie. Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag. Köln
Translation from German:
The contribution of Dr. Sonnenmoser informs very well about both „positive” approaches to psychotherapy like they were developed by Martin Seligmann in the USA since the early 90s years and Nossrat Peseschkian in Germany since the late 60th. Both approaches share a positive, i.e. resources and growth-oriented perspective that they strive for a reasonable etiology and academic evaluation of treatment. Besides, both stress the meaning of „virtues” (with Peseschkian’s „actual capabilities”) like politeness, justice or hope. I see an important difference first in the respective traditions: Peseschkian developed his method from the psychodynamic practice which was at that time in its mainstream predominately deficit- oriented and had long duration of treatment.
Besides that, he has presented – far ahead of his time – particularly the meaning of the (trans)-cultural aspects of a positive image of man. Seligmann on the other side has started his approach with the background of a cognitive- behavioral research tradition. In is mechanistic image of man this tradition also was predominately deficit-oriented and not always integration-supporting. Another difference may lie in the pragmatic spirit of the times of the respective origin: Peseschkian set up the positive psychotherapy as a therapy school with integrated concept of treatment and the claim to bring together depth psychological, humanistic and behavioral ideas. Seligmann on the other side developed the positive psychology as an open program for the empiric psychology. In this manner both attempts are complementary very well. Furthermore the concurrent existence psychodynamically and a cognitive reasonable positive psychotherapy offers an important contribution to overcoming the biggest splitting within the psychotherapy during the last 100 years.
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