Dr. Mark Holder is the Chief Scientific Advisor for Perked! and an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia where he teaches and studies the science of happiness.
Many fields of science, particularly medicine, psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience, have focused on deficits and dysfunction. These fields basically ask “What is wrong with you and how do we fix it?” This is a good thing. Using this approach science has developed new ways to identify problems and address suffering. However, this is not the only approach. I believe that we can do better than simply fixing what is wrong.
A newly emerging field, often called positive psychology, asks a different question. Rather than focusing on weaknesses and problems, it seeks to answer the question “What is right with you, and how do we use your strengths to help you thrive?”
It is important to help alleviate pain and distress. It is important to the quality of our lives to help address setbacks and eliminate suffering. But we can do more than that. We can do better than that.
Suppose someone is suffering from depression. If you were a care provider and successfully got rid of their depression, what would the result be? It may not be that they are then happy and thriving; they are simply no longer depressed.
The goal of positive psychology, a goal shared by us at Perked!, is to do more than eliminate the negative. We are driven to help you use your strengths to really flourish.