Focusing on the positive, focusing on the negative: Implications for psychotherapy
Article first published online: 19 AUG 2002
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 58, Issue 9, pages 1037–1043, September 2002
How to Cite
Bohart, A. C. (2002), Focusing on the positive, focusing on the negative: Implications for psychotherapy. J. Clin. Psychol., 58: 1037–1043. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10097
- Issue published online: 19 AUG 2002
- Article first published online: 19 AUG 2002
Each of the contributions in this special section challenges some of our preciously held notions. We are challenged to be aware that an overfocus on positivity and optimism can be tyrannical, see the positivity in the negativity, realize that some pessimism can be adaptive, see that complaining has positive value, and be aware that false hope is not necessarily bad. Through an examination of these, I have suggested that (a) we have to be careful to deeply respect the individuality of our clients and to take seriously the possibility that there is some “ecological wisdom” in their apparently dysfunctional behavior, and (b) what is more important than optimism–pessimism, complaining versus not complaining, or false versus realistic hope is the degree to which the client adopts a task-focused orientation towards problems. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 1037–1043, 2002.