Positive Psychology – – A new approach to create possibilities!
Raising children who are happy, healthy, knowledgeable and morally good is the ultimate goal of all educators, parents and caregivers of any society. Although specific definition of health, happiness and good character may vary across time, place and culture their importance for personal as well as social well being cannot be debated upon.
What is a good life indicator in a person? How can we measure it? How can we build good character among children and youth? These timeless questions were asked by the Athenian philosophers and are still posed by modern psychologists and educators. Positive psychology has refocused scientific attention on character, central to understanding of psychological good life. The basic premise of positive psychology is that the happiness and fulfillment of children and youth entail more than identification and treatment of their problems. This as the basic premise is used for all counselling and group sessions.
Is counseling limited to solving problems or is it a life skill used by teachers, parents, colleagues, friends to build good character, revive hope, give confidence and enable people. If the answer to the above question is the latter, then we need to focus all our energies to use positive psychology in building good character.
Character refers to that aspect of personality that is morally valued. Hence, good character is at the heart of positive youth development. Good character is associated with desired outcomes such as school success, leadership tolerance and self control. Character strengths are related to achievement, life satisfaction, and well being of children and youth.
Positive psychology is all about people doing their best in their circumstances, dealing, coping and learning. Positive psychology does not deny the problems that people experience and positive psychologists do not ignore stress, anxieties or fears but their challenge is in their attempts to understand what it means to live well. The most basic assumption here is that positive psychology urges belief in human goodness and excellence which are as basic as disease and distress and hence should be given equal attention.
All counseling focuses on strengths of students, allows them to explore possibilities and seek the right path, understanding their self, the society and their responsibilities.
1. Positive individual traits – character, values, interests
2. Positive relationships – friendship, marriage , colleagueship
3. Positive experiences – happiness, life situations, fulfillment
4. Positive institutions – family, school, community
People of any age, are at their best when institutions, relationships, traits and experiences are in alignment and doing well in life. This represents a coming together of all four domains.
The goal of counseling, hence, is understanding the person in his/her context, listening without judgment and then creating possibilities within and around, so that an individual develops strength to deal with his situation using his own unique strengths and respect his self.
In group sessions in school with students of same age, counsellors use unity building and team building to get to know each other and break the barriers. In dealing with students the counsellors want to help the students realize that even though they are all very different but have so much in common. They need someone to focus their positive energies into building a group that shares and cares. Within their groups students are encouraged to confront their issues, identify the root of the problems and learn coping strategies for the future.
Collaboration in counselling at educational institutions (KG to PG) – If a student’s well being or success is at stake we need to collaborate and use all resources to solve the problem. It’s all about pulling resources together in the school and in the community to help young people who have different inherent abilities and their own coping mechanisms for the varied challenges.
Strength based counselling –There is always something more, something new, and something else that needs attention; thus building student resilience and taking a strength based point of view should be the approach, presented through parenting workshops and teacher in-service training to create mental health awareness in educators.
I firmly believe that all children deserve regardless of their life situations a positive , rigorous and enriching school experience …I work to make that possible.
Salony Priya is a counseling psychologist working in the area of Education Management, Human Development & Training, Student Empowerment & comprehensive Counseling for more than 16 years and her interventions have reached out to several educational institutions, corporate and social organizations. She is the founder Director of Ummeed Counselling & Consultancy services, a multi-speciality positive psychology institution based in Kolkata where she empowers, enables and energizes the populace with therapies, workshops and individualized sessions. She is also a Trustee of UMEED FOUNDATION, an organization that works for the underprivileged children in the field of mental health.
She is advisor for Mentor Educational Initiatives, recognized as a progressive voice in the field of education. She is empanelled at the national level by CBSE for conducting training for heads of schools.
Visit www.salonypriya.com to know more about her