Application of Well-Being Therapy to People With Disability and Chronic Illness

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Abstract

Purpose/Objective: Research data clearly indicate most people living with a disability return to premorbid levels of psychological functioning. However, some individuals living with a disability are vulnerable for the development of psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Rather than understanding this phenomenon of vulnerability solely as the presence of psychopathology, it can be understood from a positive psychology standpoint as a deficit of well-being. We extend this approach by demonstrating the links between the historic foundational principles of rehabilitation psychology and the relevant current research on psychology of well-being. The article then explores the implications of providing meaningful interventions that could improve the lives of persons living with disability and chronic illness. Results: Based on this view, well-being therapy is proposed as an intervention because it has proven efficacy in acting as a buffer against the development of some negative affective states. The assumptions and dimensions underlying this approach are shown to be relevant to both persons living with disability and to the foundational principles of rehabilitation psychology. A model for assisting people with disability in improving their well-being and decreasing negative aspects of their life by balancing factors relevant to well-being is discussed. Conclusions/Implications: The authors conclude by exploring the benefits of engendering positive well-being versus the traditional focus on solely alleviating negative affective states.

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