A Call for Hope: The Mutually Beneficial Integration of Positive Psychology and Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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Abstract

Positive Psychology and dialectical behavior therapy are 2 growing areas within psychology. However, despite this growth, both fields remain unbalanced in their growth by focusing research in one direction. Positive Psychology is unbalanced regarding its population samples. Much Positive Psychology research focuses on nonclinical samples, which limits generalization to whether well-being can be improved in symptomatic individuals. Dialectical behavior therapy is unbalanced as most research focuses solely on symptom reduction, not incorporating the promotion of client strengths. Integrating Positive Psychology and dialectical behavior therapy is mutually beneficial. This integration provides an environment that facilitates the testing of Positive Psychology constructs and interventions within a higher symptomatic clinical sample while also providing opportunities to see how dialectical behavior therapy may promote a client’s strengths. Hope may be an ideal Positive Psychology construct to commence this mutually beneficial integration as hope is a mainstream Positive Psychology construct, and hope has also been previously assessed in clinical populations. Practical implications and potential directions of this emerging research intersection are further discussed.

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