This brief text, suitable for upper division undergraduate courses and graduate seminars, introduces students to the hugely popular field of positive psychology. One of the most important movements in psychological science in the past two decades, positive psychology has captured the interest of students, practitioners, and researchers in psychology, as well as the general public. Positive psychology as a discipline seeks to understand the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life for individuals and serves as a complement to what has been seen as psychology's traditional focus on deficits in human functioning. This brief, accessible introduction to positive psychology focuses on the key theories and research that has made this field so intriguing. Surveying the four pillars of positive psychology - Subjective well-being, positive emotions, positive psychological traits, and positive institutions, this book pays particular attention to the emergence of well-being - the study of happiness - as the leading edge of positive psychology research and practice. Also considering the criticisms that have developed of positive psychology, this book helps readers will understand how the science of positive psychology can enhance their own well-being.
Philip C. Watkins, PhD is Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University, USA. The major focus of his research since 2000 has been on gratitude and subjective well-being, which has received funding from the Templeton Foundation and was been published in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters within the positive psychology field, including Journal of Positive Psychology, the second edition of The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, Positive Psychology in Higher Education (APA, 2012) and his own book, Gratitude and the Good Life: Toward a Psychology of Appreciation (Springer SBM, 2013.) He currently serves as associate editor of Journal of Positive Psychology and as made over 60 presentations at regional, national and international conferences. He has been active in APA Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) and served as its APA Council representative and convention program chair. His teaching responsibilities at EWU include the design of an advanced undergraduate positive psychology course, Happiness and Positive Psychology, which he has taught for 11 years, in addition to teaching courses on Emotions and Emotional Intelligence, Stress and Coping, Research in Emotional Disorders, Health Psychology, Introductory Psychology, and Psychological Statistics.