Positive power

YOU’VE got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative,” sang Bing Crosby in 1944, predating positive psychology by decades.

Melville-based therapist Natalie Barker says it’s simple advice, like something your grandmother would say, “but it’s backed up by clinical studies.”

Positive psychology is based on the early work of Abraham Maslow, who invented the hierarchy of needs.

Princeton university professor and psychologist Martin Seligman took the model one stage further – with worldwide research on what makes happy people happy – and came up with his revolutionary therapy.

• Therapist Natalie Barker is giving talks in Fremantle. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Psychiatrists rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which focusses on what can and has gone wrong.

But Seligman turned that on its head by looking at what can go right “and the ingredients that create positive wellbeing,” Barker says.

“If you are a kind, giving person you are a happier person.”

Hello Happiness runs positive psychology workshops and one-on-one sessions to help people discover their inner-happiness, boosting their emotional and physical health.

“It’s a tool set of activities and habits that raise psychological wellbeing. It’s not rocket science, but it is profound…It basically connects to our joy, which is so easily forgotten because we are too busy or too stressed.”

• Selina Barker

Seligman’s themes of happiness and self-actualisation captured Barker’s imagination, “because I was battling on and off with depression, hopelessness and anxiety.”

With a diploma in positive psychology from the Langley Institute under her belt, daughter Selina Barker works with her mum.

“I applied positive psychology to manage my self-doubt, decrease ruminating and improve my relationships,” she says.

For more information on positive psychology or to book go to http://www.hellohappiness.com.au

And check out the Hello Happiness blog where you’ll find a new page every week on hope, harmony and happiness.

The seven weeks of workshops at the Fremantle Meeting Place on South Terrace will be held August 28-October 9.


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