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The happiness industry and Positive Psychology

The happiness industry and Positive Psychology

June 21, 2024

To my surprise, in recent times I have been finding in numerous media, television, radio and print media channels, many allusions to a supposed "industry" based on the irrational and unconditional search for happiness .

Like any argument or current that is reduced to absurdity, it loses its foundation when we forget the true essence or reason of being of Positive Psychology, to establish derogatory analogies, such as, for example, the fact of making certain publications on the social networks of the type Mr Wonderful or mocking the "need" to have to go to a "motivational coach" to solve some kind of trivial issue.

After the numerous episodes of this kind of "attack" on a sector of psychotherapy or mental attention (let's not forget that the etymological origin of the word therapy, is related to the concept of attention), even from sectors "colleagues", who did not finish learning from the old paradigmatic battles between behaviourists and cognitivists or among nativists against environmentalists, among others (paradoxically, both confrontations to the emergence of integrating paradigms).

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Unfair criticisms against Positive Psychology

I can understand that from ignorance or ignorance, can be made endless disqualifications and criticisms, more or less destructive . But what I can not understand is that there are professionals of psychology, who cling to their old paradigms and methodological currents, as shipwrecked to the wreck, to defend their model or way of practicing the profession, as if this were the only possible.

On the other hand, they do not have as much reluctance when it comes to embrace concepts such as "Learned Helplessness", developed by Professor Martin E.P. Seligman, to justify the development of depressions or other psychological imbalances, this being one of the banners of positive psychology.

I understand that the medical model of psychodiagnosis continues to exert a remarkable influence in the way of understanding psychology for some. But, dear colleagues and curious of diverse nature, the psychopathological clinical model does not explain the complete diversity of human behavior, and that is why without intervening in the prevention or rehabilitation of psychiatric pathologies, there is a field of psychological action that does not obey her rules.

A person who feels bad or is dissatisfied with the life he leads obviously, she is not sick. In fact, there are many people cataloged as sick or deranged that raise many doubts about the reliability of the diagnostic system. If they knew the damage that can cause a person to feel labeled for life, forming part of a "bag" or group of pejorative connotations for their own health and consequent social adaptation, they would be more careful when performing according to what type of classifications.

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The problem of overdiagnosis

Recently, I have had the opportunity to know in greater detail the opinion of Dr. Javier Álvarez. This head of psychiatry at the Hospital de León is a champion of a movement called "New Psychiatry", which postulates the inconsistencies and suspicions of a medical model probably influenced by another type of industry, but in this case a real industry. The pharmaceutical. It's curious the vertiginous growth experienced by the main instrument of psychiatric classification and diagnosis (better known as DSM).

Since its inception to date, the number of mental disorders has increased exponentially and its treatment has been prioritized as a priority. employment and administration of psychotropic drugs . Psychopharmaceuticals whose mission is mainly to act on the brain neurotransmitters "involved" in the development of the shift disorder. The problem lies in the conviction and confidence that they give on the very little knowledge that exists about the functioning of the aforementioned neurotransmitters as a sufficient guarantee to experiment with these chemical drugs.

I do not want bad interpretations on my part, I am not an anti psychopharmaceutical, nor any other kind of treatments, but I do consider that we have developed a remarkable confidence in something that is still in its infancy and we have neglected and even ridiculed other ways of understanding the world of psychology and psychiatry, without finding so many everyday examples of criticism with this. The smoke of the "charlatans" in front of the "magic little pills" . And it's not about this, but neither about the other.

Each person is a world and in each world one type of intervention or another is required.

My problem is not bigger or smaller than yours.

Maybe it's not even a problem.

But it's mine and I decide how I want or need to address it.

William Davies on the Happiness Agenda (June 2024).

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