Blog post + coaching exercise on Positive Psychology.

Positive Psychologists – why you should work with one

If you don’t know what I mean by positive psychologists, this post is for you.

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While we all agree today that the study of the human mind and behaviour is an essential part of science, we tend to forget that it is a relatively recent field of study as such, with a history of only about 100 years.

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The fact that our thoughts and consciousness cannot be perceived through our senses, doesn’t make it easy for those who are attached to concrete, measurable things, to understand the importance of the role that psychology plays our lives.

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The Crazy Patients and the Crazy Psychologists

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If you live in L.A. you probably sound crazier if you do not visit your personal psychologist or therapist regularly, than you sound if you do. But in many places of the world, there’s still the idea that seeing a psychologist is a sign of weakness, showing that you’re not able to deal with your problems by yourself.

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History doesn’t help here. There have been some pretty ugly experiments, and still, up to today, therapies are being practised that sound more like out of a Stanley Kubrick movie than reality. Okay, maybe electroconvulsive shock therapy isn’t as archaic as one might think, but isn’t about time to find different solutions? What about opening our clinical minds to the potential benefits of alternative psychedelic treatments, for example?

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Not to mention that psychologists aren’t also known for being the most conventional kind of humans. After all, they (we) are interested in studying that twisted part of our human condition: the mind. So how normal can those people (me included) be?

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So, for many reasons, if you decide to start working with a psychologist or psychotherapist, you might be creating a lot of questions in the minds of close family and friends, or anyone you tell about it. Mostly, they’ll be concern about you and curious about what kind of secrets you’re hiding, and what sort of scary changes will start to happen to you and your relationship.

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The Coaching Era

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On the other hand, we’re living in a time where a lot of people are becoming aware of the fact that the way to a better life starts with how you think and what you do every day (mind and behaviour). And, because changing your mind will change your behaviour, and changing your behaviour will change your life, the coaching businesses have boomed, and it’s easier to get a coach than a flower patterned raincoat.

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The Difference Between a Coach and a Psychologist

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Can be as huge as of an elephant and an ant. Any psychologist has been through several years-long superior education at some University, while a coach might have a certificate that took him/her 3 months to get.

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That being said, I believe that a coach with a rich life experience and the right tools will be far more helpful than a narrow-minded psychologist with poor personal development and a big ego. So, it comes down to what you’re looking for of that relationship and personal preference.

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Cure or Development?

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When I used to study depression, relapse rates of 50% were quite discouraging. The idea that someone with depression would very likely experience it again, (and after that first relapse the rate increases to 80%!) makes of depression this muddy swamp hard to get out of. So how can one get help to release him or herself out of this muddy water? Sounds depressing, and it is.

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The New Psychology is Positive

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The answer came to me years later, when I first heard about positive psychology. This is a new field of psychology which focuses on helping the individual to explore his/her capacities and to develop them to make use of his/her full potential. That means, rather than being focused on fixing what’s wrong (and stopping there), there’s a continuum moving towards personal optimisation and life satisfaction.

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Psychological Fitness

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We should be seeing our doctor for advice on how to not get sick, rather than for treatment of sickness. Fun fact: in ancient China, doctors were paid for as long as their clients were healthy, and had to pay their patients when they got sick – how’s that for a health system?

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In the same way, positive psychologists, and other professionals of mental health, should support us in keeping our minds sane and stable. Something that is generally accepted for our body fitness, but is still on the verge of being recognised for our psychological bodies.

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Strengthening the Muscles of Life Satisfaction

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Understanding that just like the muscles of our belly will not flatten themselves, so our life’s satisfaction will not happen out of thin air, is a great start. Energy flows where attention goes.

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Analysing which areas of life feel more or less satisfying might be a good starting point as to where to start bringing some positive changes to life.

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Here’s a coaching exercise to help you get some clarity on this, I hope it helps.

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The Wheel of Life .PDF

The wheel of live tiny

This exercise will help you to have a perspective of your life like no other.
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Let me know in the comments what areas have you found to be most satisfying and which areas you’d like to start improving. Most importantly, have fun exploring! ♡

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