The relationship between Counseling Psychology and Positive Psychology

Vossler, Andreas; Steffen, Edith and Joseph, Stephen (2015). The relationship between Counseling Psychology and Positive Psychology. In: Joseph, Stephen ed. Positive Psychology in Practice. Wiley & Sons, pp. 429–442.




The aim of this chapter is to explore the relation between the professional specialty of counseling psychology and positive psychology. Following a brief historical overview of counseling psychology, we explore its theoretical convergence with positive psychology and examine how the ideas from positive psychology have been received by counseling psychologists. We argue that although counseling psychology has its roots in ideas that are consistent with positive psychology, the profession has developed a broad practice range in recent decades accommodating a diversity of ways of working, many of which prioritize working with distress and its origins over seeking to enhance and build on existing strengths.
As such, the positive psychology movement can offer a new impetus for the profession of counseling psychology to reexamine its fundamental assumptions and reflect on its training curriculum. Based on this overview, we conclude that further bridges need to be built between positive psychology and counseling psychology. Our goal is to encourage counseling psychologists to engage more fully with the ideas and research of positive psychology.

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