A lot has happened since my first book, Wise Therapy, was published in 2001 - in the world at large and in our understanding of what can help us to lead flourishing lives. My new book Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology, published by Hodder on June 27th, aims to present the most important of these ideas to you in a very practical and readable format.
One of the most significant developments has been the progress of Positive Psychology, the science of human well-being. At last psychology has moved from researching how rats negotiate mazes to developing and testing ways to help you live better. In 2001 Positive Psychology was a small and relatively little known movement; now thousands of articles have been written in peer-reviewed journals to help turn theoretical musings into evidence-based facts. One of the aims of my new book is to summarise the key findings of Positive Psychology with an emphasis on how you can put its ideas into practice.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was already recognised in 2001 as one of the most effective ways of treating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT is based on the scientific paradigm; understand the problem, work out ways to solve it, test your solution and keep improving it. By 2006 the Depression Report written by Lord Layard convinced even the UK government of CBT's effectiveness. The result was IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) which has seen the training and availability of many more CBT therapists. I now work part-time as a High Intensity CBT therapist in the NHS, treating particularly challenging cases of depression and anxiety. Many of the things I've learnt over the years from these difficult cases is equally relevant to helping those of you not suffering from mental health problems to become more resilient. I've included the most important of these tips in an extended chapter on Resilience and CBT.
A third important advance in the last fifteen years is the progress of new, "third wave" cognitive-behavioural therapies which emphasise mindfulness, compassion and commiting to valued actions. Mindfulness-based CBT (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion-Focussed Therapy (CFT) are three such third-wave CBT therapies. I've undertaken training in all of these and regularly use them to help clients in my private practice in Central London. These therapies are extremely relevant for those who wish to lead flourishing lives and you can find out more about them in my new book.
Whilst these three developments show how psychology has progressed in the last decade, philosophy has not stood still either. Stoic ideas, philosophical decision-making protocols and Philosophy with Children have been tested with encouraging results. I argue in the book that whilst Positive Psychology can help us be wiser it can become wiser still by incorporating ideas from Practical Philosophy. In the book I assess Positive Psychology in the light of philosophical ideas and summarise philosophical ideas to can help us become wiser.
So why should you depart with your hard-earned
Here are my top 10 reasons...
10 Questions Answered in Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology.
1. Why happiness is not just a "nice to have"; the considerable positive spin-offs of feeling good explained.
2. Which practical exercises are most likely to increase happiness and well-being?
3. How to determine which values are most important for your well-being
4. How to identify and use your personal strengths and talents
5. How to reach your goals and accomplish more
6. How to lose yourself in the moment and find more flow.
7. How to find more meaning and purpose in your life
8. How to have more satisfying relationships
9. How to become more resilent
10. How the pursuit of wisdom can strengthen Positive Psychology.
I hope you find the book useful. Let me know how you find it in the comments below.