Positive psychology is currently equated with theory and research on the positive aspects of life. The reality could not be further from the truth. Positive psychology investigates and researches some of the most difficult and painful experiences. Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life is an innovative and groundbreaking textbook that explores a variety of topics we consider to be part of the ‘dark’ side of life while emphasising their role in our positive functioning and transformation as human beings. This more nuanced approach to the notions of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ can be described as the ‘second wave' of Positive Psychology.
Positive Psychology is one of the fastest growing and least understood branches of psychology. Exploring topics at the heart of Positive Psychology, such as meaning, resilience, human development, mortality, change, suffering, and spirituality, this book engages with so-called ‘negative’ matters from a Positive Psychology angle, showing how the path of personal development can involve experiences which, while challenging, can lead to growth, insight, healing and transformation.
Containing useful resources, case studies, practical exercises and chapter summaries, Second Wave Positive Psychology is an essential guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students studying positive psychology, as well as clinicians wanting to know more about the subject. It will also be relevant to the layperson who is interested in positive psychology.
"Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life is not only about seeing the reality of positive psychology more clearly, it’s about seeing who we are as human beings more clearly. Positive psychology studies and embraces all the vicissitudes of life. And here is the book that outlines this for us.
What is most incredible and impactful about this book? Is it that it represents the thought leadership and scholarship of 4 distinguished positive psychology luminaries? Is it that it is the first positive psychology book to deeply integrate the positive and negative of human experience across a wide array of topics? Is it that it’s a clear and interesting read, easily peaking the reader’s curiosity page after page? Is it that those who crack the book open will immediately make it required reading for their students? Or, is it that despite being a scholarly, scientific work the book is also eminently practical in its guidance for readers to reflect and explore that which is personal and meaningful? My answer is clear: All of the above." - Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D., Author, Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing, Psychologist and Education Director, VIA Institute on Character
"This timely book is a must read for anybody seriously interested in Positive Psychology. Rightly or wrongly, Positive Psychology has been often perceived as focusing only on the positive aspects of human life. However, as it reaches maturity, the discipline is increasingly moving in the direction of embracing human life as a whole from a positive, constructive perspective. For example, can we have something like 'Positive Death'? These are issues that this courageous book is grappling with. Written by scholars who have an excellent knowledge and experience of Positive Psychology, this book may well become a landmark in the evolution of the field." - Nash Popovic, PhD. Author of Personal Consultancy: A model for integrating counselling and coaching
"In a climate where the span of positive psychology science so often is reduced to simplistic instructions just to smile, count your blessings, and look on the bright side of life, it is inspiring and exciting to see such a high-quality book guiding us through the most compelling and complex reaches of the field. This book engagingly demonstrates that positive psychology finds its true strength when it unifies happiness and positivity with the kinds of suffering, doubt, and adversity that are part and parcel with human life. It is written with a strong eye toward education, which is completely fitting because The Second Wave of Positive Psychology is written by scientists who are experts at teaching people how to apply research and theory to improve everyday life. Each chapter is an authoritative review of an important topic within positive psychology, from emotions and development to mortality and spirituality. It is a great recipe, blending quality science, insightful reflections and exercises, and new perspectives on the universal human pursuit—not just of a brighter smile, but of a richer, more authentic, and more meaningful life." - Michael Steger, PhD. Head of the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life
"The long awaited book on Second Wave Positive psychology is finally here – a clear evidence that positive psychology has entered a new stage of development. Gone are the smiley face and the existential critique. At long last, positive psychology has openly embraced the dark side of life not only as an inevitable aspect of the human condition, but also an essential part in optimal functioning and transformation. The authors have skilfully provided a new narrative, buttressed by empirical evidence that engagement with the challenge and distress in life can contribute to our healing, growth and flourishing. I highly recommend this book to both the positive psychology community and all my friends in the humanistic-existential community. " - Paul T. P. Wong Ph.D. Editor of The Human Quest for Meaning
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Dialectics of Emotion. Positive Development – Our Journey of Growth. The Dark Side of Meaning in Life. Adversity, Resilience, and Transformational Growth. Mortality and Positive Psychology. Wellbeings: Suffering, Compassion, and Interconnectedness. Spirituality – Transcending the Self. The Hero’s Journey.
About the Authors
Itai Ivtzan is a positive psychologist, a senior lecturer, and the program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL). His research areas are mindfulness meditation, spirituality, and meaning in life. In addition to many journal papers and book chapters, he is the author of several books and the leading editor of "Mindfulness in Positive Psychology: The science of Meditation and Wellbeing".
Tim Lomas is a lecturer at the University of East London, where he is the associate programme leader for the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. As well as publishing numerous peer-reviewed papers and books.
Kate Hefferon is a chartered psychologist, Senior Lecturer and the Head of the Posttraumatic growth research unit at the University of East London. Her interests lie within the areas of post-traumatic growth, physical activity, health and well-being. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as lead author on popular Positive psychology texts books.
Piers Worth is a chartered psychologist, accredited psychotherapist and Head of Academic Department – Psychology for Bucks New University. Piers wrote and leads the Bucks MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme.