Application of Positive Psychology to Substance Use, Addiction, and Recovery Research

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Application of Positive Psychology to Substance Use, Addiction, and Recovery Research
Amy R. Krentzman (2012) hypothesized that the application of positive psychology could be filtered into the methods of recovery and rehabilitation from substance abuse. Krentzman (2012) defines positive psychology as being “dedicated to the rigorous scientific study of “strengths, well-being, . . . optimal functioning” (Duckworth, Steen, & Seligman, 2005, p. 631) and flourishing (Keyes & Haidt, 2003). Flourishing individuals are “filled with emotional vitality . . . [and] functioning positively in the private and social realms of their lives” (p. 6).” (Krentzman, A. R. 2012 p. 2). My theory is that positive psychology is a key method for recovery that should be implemented into all rehabilitation programs. This paper is a response and reaction to Krentzman's (2012) stance on positive psychology and its integration into substance use, addiction, and recovery research. I will provide my own theory on the hypothesis by discussing why I agree with Krentzman's (2012) view on positive psychology.

“Long before positive psychology, the great philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and psychological thinkers (Freud, Jung, Adler, Frankl, Rogers, Maslow) articulated theories of the good life, pleasure, wholeness, purpose, health, and actualization (Duckworth et al., 2005; Ryff, 2003). In addition, empirical work existed on adaptation, resilience, thriving, spirituality, and growth (Aspinwall & Tedeschi, 2010b).” (Krentzman, A. R. 2012 p. 2). In this regard, is that not what those enduring the long road of recovery from substance abuse intend to achieve? Generally, substance abuse programs attempt to break the physiological addiction that patients have and find ways to integrate them into a modern society by means of steady employment, education, family life, etc. The idea is to, rather than fixing negative behaviors or thought patterns, introduce positive behaviors and life...
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