Footsteps on the road to a positive psychology

Behav Res Ther. 1999 Jul:37 Suppl 1:S163-73. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(99)00055-8.


We have argued that psychology as a field has been preoccupied with the negative side of life and has left us with a view of human qualities that is warped and one-sided. Psychology is literally 'half-baked'. We need to bake the other half now. It is time for us to become equally concerned with the qualities and experiences that make life most worthwhile. A balance is needed between work that strives to relieve damage and work that endeavors to build strength. This balance is beautifully exemplified by Jack Rachman's work over the past 40 years. As an astute and compassionate clinician and researcher, Jack developed and evaluated effective treatments for some of the most debilitating anxiety disorders. At the same time, he was impressed by the resiliency of his clients and the courage they exhibited daily. His observations and studies of courage have helped to launch a systematic science of human strengths. They are giant footsteps on the road to a positive psychology.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Psychology, Clinical* / history
  • Psychology, Experimental* / history