Positive Psychology ≠ Positive Thinking

I have noted recently the common but unfortunate confusion and conflation, between the application of positive psychology in coaching and mentoring, and the much less rigorous but similar sounding belief in ‘the power of positive thinking’. As the theories and practices from positive psychology have become a central strand in my own research and approach to coaching, and seeing a need for some clarity, I felt it was time to add some clarity on what positive psychology is – and as importantly, what it is not. But we must get this one out of the way first: Positive psychology and the application of it within coaching and mentoring, is nothing to do with ‘the power of positive thinking’ or ‘wishing yourself rich’, or ‘visioning your success’ – or any other elements of what is often associated with the ‘toxic positivity’ of intense hyper performance and ‘just believing in yourself’.

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