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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 28Clinical Applications of Well-Being Therapy

CHIARA RUINI AND GIOVANNI A. FAVA

The concept of psychological well-being has received increasing attention in clinical psychology. Recent investigations have documented the complex relationship between well-being, distress, and personality traits, both in clinical (Fava, Rafanelli, et al., 2001) and nonclinical populations (Ruini et al., 2003). The findings show that psychological well-being could not be equated with the absence of symptomatology, nor with personality traits. It is thus particularly important to analyze the concept of well-being in clinical settings with emphasis on changes in well-being occurring during psychotherapy.

A relevant methodological issue is the broad definition of psychological well-being and optimal functioning. A review by Ryan and Deci (2001) has shown that research on well-being has followed two main directions: (1) happiness and hedonic well-being and (2) development of human potential (eudaimonic well-being). In the first realm all studies dealing with concepts of subjective well-being (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999), life satisfaction (Neugarten, Havighurst, & Tobin, 1961), and positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2002) can be included. The concept of well-being here is equated with a cognitive process of evaluation of an individual's life, or with the experience of positive emotions.

According to the eudaimonic perspective, happiness consists of fulfilling one's potential in a process ...

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