Have you ever noticed how simply changing your attitude towards a challenge can impact your abilities, state of mind, and overall well-being? This powerful concept forms the basis of the Positive Psychology movement, an approach to psychology that promotes focussing on the study of well-being in order to achieve tangible improvements in individuals’ lives as well as society as a whole.
Bea Rhodes, B.A., M.Ed., is the Founder and President of Rhodes Wellness College, a Master Practitioner of Clinical Counselling, and a Counselling Supervisor. She has extensive experience working as a counsellor and an educator. Bea has successfully incorporated principles of positive psychology into the curriculum at Rhodes Wellness College.
Read on to discover Bea’s insights into the importance of Positive Psychology and how it can foster real change.
The Meaning of Positive Psychology and How it Differs From Traditional Psychology
Traditional psychology aims to help clients recognize past traumas, become aware of negative habits, and overcome any mental health challenges they may have. “In traditional psychology, we study the problems and pathologies, or what is wrong with people,” Bea notes. “Positive Psychology looks at what is right and expands on this.” (Rhodes, 2017)
As graduates of a Counselling College know, while traditional psychotherapeutic techniques can be effective, there is great benefit to focus on what brings people joy and a sense of well-being and that’s exactly what Positive Psychology aims to do.
Developed during the late 90s by Dr. Martin Seligman, Positive Psychology holds five key concepts, known as PERMA (Rhodes, 2017). “In this acronym,” Bea states, “he identified the key concepts for living well and flourishing. They are Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Purpose, and Accomplishment.” (Rhodes, 2017)
The Importance of Positive Psychology, Which You’ll See During and After Studying at Rhodes Wellness College
After graduating from Rhodes Wellness College, helping your clients hone in on the positive aspects of their lives can foster improved well-being and life satisfaction. “The research is remarkable. If we train people to notice and appreciate what is going well in their lives, over time, it can re-wire their brains.” Bea explains that, “A study was conducted whereby children were trained in Positive Psychology principles. Not only did their happiness, well-being, and general mental health increase, their academic performance increased.” (Rhodes, 2017)
The study, Gross National Happiness and Positive Education in Bhutan, followed the progress of several groups of school children in Bhutan. Some completed a life skills class, which focussed on key aspects of Positive Psychology like mindfulness, empathy, and creative thinking. Not surprisingly, the students taking the class saw a boost in happiness and even a boost in academic performance. For example, students who originally fell in the 50th percentile jumped as high as the 60th level (Adler, 2015). Bea believes that Positive Psychology and a focus on wellness could make a drastic impact on society as a whole. “If enough people practiced Positive Psychology principles, we could have a more peaceful and harmonious society. I believe we could decrease violence and perhaps even eliminate wars – at a micro and macro level.” Counsellor training courses should have this focus.
Bea notes that, “If we begin to ask people what is important to them, we can start to focus our energy and resources in a direction that supports these values. She adds that, “When asked, most people say happiness, close relationships, or achievement. These values are so common across cultures. It just makes sense to prioritize and focus on what people value.” (Rhodes, 2017)
Rhodes Wellness College Values the Study and Practice of Positive Psychology
Despite the fact that Positive Psychology has gained some attention in the realm of psychology, it’s still not taught as widely as traditional methods. Bea says that, “Even though we now have abundant scientific evidence that training teachers and students in these concepts and methods increases academic performance and decreases mental health issues, very few public education institutions have adopted these important educational values.” (Rhodes, 2017)
Because of this, Bea makes Positive Psychology concepts a priority: “At Rhodes College, we firmly believe that building better therapists will build better relationships, families, communities and countries. Our focus is to not only train the student counselors in these techniques, but to ensure they are living these principles in their own lives.” (Rhodes, 2017)
Do you want to learn more about studying Positive Psychology?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College today to learn more about becoming a counsellor or life coach!
Adler, A. (2015, April 30). Gross National Happiness and Positive Education in Bhutan. Retrieved from Ipen: http://www.ipositive-education.net/gross-national-happiness-and-positive-education-in-bhutan/
Rhodes, B. (2017, May 24). Presiden of Rhodes Wellness College. (J. Stafford, Interviewer)