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ISSN : 2233-6710(Print)
ISSN : 2384-2121(Online)
Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling Vol.2 No.1 pp.45-60

Introduction to Positive Psychology: Overview and Controversies

Jeong Han Kim, Phillip Keck and Deborah Miller, Rene Gonzalez

Virginia Commonwealth University
Ball State University
University of Texas Pan American
Received October 23, 2011, Revision received January 13, 2012, Accepted January 27, 2012


Since his first formal address in 1998 by Martin Seligman, the significant growth and accomplishments of the positivepsychology have been universally noted. Notable breakthroughs include the inception of the International Positive PsychologyAssociation in 2007 and the First World Congress of Positive Psychology in 2009. However, much concern has also arisen inconjunction with the development of positive psychology. For example, Gable and Haidt (2005) argued that the assumption ofa positive psychology implies the rest of the field must be negative psychology. These controversies are not only limited to thefoundation of positive psychological principles and understanding the controversies is requisite to ensuring the correctimplementation of positive psychology. In this regard, the authors first describe a fundamental tenet of positive psychology inthe areas of positive emotion, positive traits, and positive institutions. Further details on controversies and challenges in eacharea of concern are discussed, leading to the conclusion that positive psychology is a reputable subdiscipline of psychology.