The New York Times has a remarkably comprehensive article on ‘positive psychology’ – the research and applied field that aims to understand happiness and human growth.
The article takes a critical look at the field, what the research is showing and how it’s being applied and taught.
Traditionally, psychology has been more focused on mental illness and pathology, with the implicit assumption that freedom from distress is akin to happiness.
Psychologists have begun to challenge this idea and look specifically at human virtues which have been sorely neglected throughout psychology’s history.
For example, despite the fact that we use a concept of wisdom in everyday life and value people considered wise, barely any work has been done to develop a psychological theory of wisdom.
The NYT article is remarkably well researched and discusses the roots of the movement and it current critics.
Link to NYT article ‘Happiness 101′.