This column also appears in the online format of the January-February issue of The Therapist Magazine, the publication of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. While it was written for clinicians, concepts discussed are readily accessible to any interested reader.
In this column, Dr. Heller examines the clinical limitations of the Positive Psychology model, particularly the ways in which its limited dimensionality forecloses on the therapeutic process of working through and subsequent integration of strong vitality affects. Rather than obviating the need for defenses like splitting and projection, this model sustains defensive posturing and induces guilt and shame. Split off and projected affects often develop an independent life of their own where they continue to be acted out in their unmentalized and pre-articulated state. Self-injurious repercussions frequently accrue from these repetitively abortive attempts to manage difficult feelings. Literary, film and clinical material are used to illustrate iconic concepts of Donald Winnicott, Wilfred Bion and Melanie Klein. Continue reading “A Psychoanalytic Examination of Positive Psychology”