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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 3Building Bridges Between Humanistic and Positive Psychology

BRENT DEAN ROBBINS

Author's Note. Portions of this chapter were previously published in “What Is the Good Life? Positive Psychology and the Renaissance of Humanistic Psychology,” by B. D. Robbins, 2008, in The Humanistic Psychologist, 36, pp. 96–112. These portions are being republished with permission from Taylor & Francis.

The relationship between positive psychology and humanistic psychology has been a strained one. Although positive psychology was at first warmly embraced by some humanistic psychologists as an extension of the aims of humanistic psychology (e.g., Resnick, Warmoth, & Serlin, 2001), this reception grew cold when Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000) distanced positive psychology from humanistic psychology in a special issue of American Psychologist. Somewhat in passing and in a way that lacked supporting evidence, Seligman and Csikszentmihalhyi (2000) were harshly critical of humanistic psychology, saying that, although it offered a “generous vision” (p. 7), it lacked a cumulative research base, promoted self-help at the expense of scientific rigor, and reinforced narcissistic tendencies in individuals and the culture—all claims that were received as fallacious, straw man arguments by the humanistic camp (e.g., Bohart & Greening, 2001; Robbins, 2008; Shapiro, 2001). Since that time, many attempts at dialogue have sometimes worked toward integration (Froh, 2004; Linley & Joseph, 2004b; Linley, ...

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