Positive Psychotherapy According to the Socratic Method

Abstract

The present article explores the integration of positive psychology and the Socratic method. Positive psychology provides an important shift of focus, helping psychotherapists to move away from an exclusive focus on problems, symptoms, and pathology. Instead, psychotherapy sessions can include a strong emphasis on personal qualities and social resources for managing stressful situations. The Socratic method provides a broad framework that is compatible with positive psychology. Three areas are explored that integrate positive psychology with the Socratic method: (a) A focus on developing positive views of self and other people, (b) positive goals for life-long changes, and (c) a positive process for therapy that is guided by collaboration and exploration. When combined, these three focal shifts can help to soften the style of therapy and expand the relevance of treatment.

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Correspondence to James C. Overholser.

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Overholser, J.C. Positive Psychotherapy According to the Socratic Method. J Contemp Psychother 45, 137–142 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-014-9279-7

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Keywords

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Positive psychology
  • Socratic method