Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ruark, Jennifer. "An Intellectual Movement for the Masses." CHRONICLE August 3, 2009.

In the past decade, positive-psychology research has drawn hundreds of millions of dollars in grants. Studies of emotional well-being and its many facets, once next to impossible to find, are now routinely presented at meetings of the Association for Psychological Science and published in the discipline's leading journals. Dozens of colleges offer courses in positive psychology, and in 2007, Csikszentmihalyi founded a Ph.D. program in the specialty at Claremont Graduate University. But the success of positive psychology has a flip side. The research has advanced alongside the mushrooming of a hungry popular market for guidance on what "happiness" really is and the tools—called "happiness interventions" in the lingo—that help people achieve it. Guides to happiness, many of them written by scholars, fill bookstore shelves. Membership in the International Coach Federation, one of several organizations that certifies life coaches (as well as career and executive coaches), has grown from just over 2,000 in 1999 to more than 13,000 this year. Academic psychologists are ambivalent about this market, but it is a market that they helped create: The IPPA was formed in 2007 explicitly to share the science of positive psychology with a broad audience, and the bulk of attendees at the Philadelphia meeting were corporate consultants, coaches, and other people hoping to apply researchers' findings in their own professions. The world of positive psychology is vast and varied. . . . Read the rest here: http://chronicle.com/article/An-Intellectual-Movement-for/47500.

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