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Positive Psychotherapy: An Introduction

Abstract

Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) is a humanistic psychodynamic psychotherapy developed by Nossrat Peseschkian in the 1970s and 1980s. As a conflict-centered and resource-oriented short-term psychotherapy, it is based on transcultural observations in more than 20 cultures. The method combines a humanistic conception, a psychodynamic understanding of disorders, and a culturally sensitive and systematic therapy process approach in five steps, in which tools of other methods can be integrated. The term “positive” is used as an expression of that which is available, the given, the actual. The positive connotation confronts the patient (and the therapist) with the function of the illness, to see it as capacity to react on a conflict. Based on a positive image of human beings, the humanistic concept of “capacity” runs throughout this method, such as viewing values and capacities as contents of actual, basic and inner psychodynamic conflicts and the key conflict. A feature of this method is that the concepts can easily be understood by all patients.

Central concepts are the four areas of life balance and conflict reaction, the modeling dimensions of the early developmental phase and of the actual relations, three dimensions of interaction, primary and secondary actual capacities, questionnaires (First Interview, WIPPF) and a five-stage-process for therapy, family treatment and self-help to empower the patient and the family.

Positive Psychotherapy (PPT after Peseschkian, since 1977) is now applied in more than 25 countries in psychotherapy, counseling, psychosomatic medicine, psychiatry, children, youth and family counseling, in prevention, pedagogy and social work. On the international level training programs for mental health professionals and counselors, conferences and international exchange are organized by the World Association for Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy.

Keywords

  • Positive Psychotherapy
  • PPT
  • Nossrat Peseschkian
  • Humanistic psychodynamic psychotherapy

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Positive Psychotherapy (PPT after Peseschkian, since 1977) is a registered trademark in the European Union (registration no. 014512578 and 014512537). Registrations in the United States of America (registration no. 1343592) and Canada (registration no. 1748288) are being processed.

  2. 2.

    Nossrat Peseschkian mentions the term ‘positive psychology’ in his book on Positive Psychotherapy in 1987, p. 389, but not going further.

  3. 3.

    similar to Kurt Goldstein (1939), who saw self-actualization as “the tendency to actualize, as much as possible, [the organism’s] individual capacities”

  4. 4.

    In recent years, some North American authors have published the clinical applications of positive psychology and named it Positive Psychotherapy (Martin E. P. Seligman, Tayyab Rashid, Acacia C. Parks, Positive Psychotherapy. November 2006, American Psychologist, 774–788) [43] .

  5. 5.

    In German language, there is a very exact word for worldview, philosophy of life, or image or conception of human beings: Menschenbild. This concept plays a very important role in philosophy, medicine and psychotherapy.

  6. 6.

    The two authors of this chapter supported this development with extended stays in Eastern Europe: Hamid Peseschkian in Russia from 1991 to 1999 and Arno Remmers in Bulgaria from 1992 to 1995, in Romania 1996.

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Peseschkian, H., Remmers, A. (2020). Positive Psychotherapy: An Introduction. In: Messias, E., Peseschkian, H., Cagande, C. (eds) Positive Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33264-8_2

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