Positive Psychotherapy Session-by-Session Planning

Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D. C. Psych. | Licensed Clinical Psychologist

> What is Positive Psychotherapy? (pdf)

> 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths (pdf)

Exercise & Home Work

Description

1.

Orientation to PPT

Confidentiality and its limits; rules, roles and responsibilities are discussed; importance of completing homework is also underscored.

Presenting problems are discussed in the context of a lack of positive resources like positive emotions, engagement, positive relationship, meaning, character strengths, positive relationships, and meaning.

HW: Positive Introduction

Client writes one page (about 300 words) "positive introduction" in which she tells a concrete story showing her at her best.

2.

Character Strengths

Dynamic Strengths Assessment

Client identifies his character strengths, also those illustrated in his Positive Introduction; character strengths are discussed cultivate engagement and flow.

Client completes an online 72-item character strengths inventory; two significant others (a family member and a friend identifies his top character strengths, also known as Signature Strengths. (optional)

Benefits of positive emotions are discussed.

HW: Blessing Journal

The client starts a journal to record three good things every night (big or small). Each subsequent session begins with processing of weekly blessing journal, identifying benefits, patterns and challenges.

3.

Signature Strengths

Signature strengths are identified integrating various perspectives.

The client and therapist discus specific, measurable and achievable goals targeting specific problems or to cultivate more engagement.

HW: Signature Strength Action Plan

Client completes frames goals into a concrete Signature Strengths Action Plan (SSAP).

4.

Good vs. Bad Memories

The role of bad and bitter memories is discussed in terms of how they perpetuate psychological distress.

Positive Cognitive Reappraisal Strategies are discussed to rewrite and repack bad and bitter memories The benefits of good memories is also highlighted.

HW: Writing Memories

The client writes bad memories and about feelings of anger and bitterness and their impact in perpetuating emotional distress.

5.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is explored as a potential option to transform feelings of anger and bitterness associated with a specific transgression into neutrality or even, if possible, into positive emotions.

HW: Forgiveness Letter

The client describes a transgression, its related emotions and pledges to forgive the transgressor. Does not necessarily deliver the letter.

6.

Gratitude

Gratitude is discussed as an enduring thankfulness. The roles of good and bad memories are discussed again, with an emphasis on gratitude.

HW: Gratitude Letter & Visit

The client writes and delivers in person a gratitude letter to someone he never properly thanked.

7.

Mid-therapy Feedback Session

Signature Strengths Action Plan, the forgiveness and gratitude assignments are followed up.

Therapeutic progress is discussed. Feedback to and from client is discussed and necessary changes are made.

8.

Satisficing vs. maximizing

Concepts of satisficing (settling for good enough) & maximizing are discussed.

HW: Satisficing

Client identifies and plans areas where he could benefit from satisficing.

9.

Hope, Optimism &

Posttraumatic Growth

Optimism and hope are discussed in detail. The client is helped to think of times when important things were lost but other opportunities opened up. Potential growth from trauma is also explored

HW: One Door Close, One Door Opened:

Client writes about the three doors that closed and then asks: What doors opened?

10.

Positive Communication

Discussion about Active-Constructive - a technique of positive communication.

HW: ACR Practice

The client self-monitor for active-constructive opportunities

11.

Signature Strengths of Others

The significance of recognizing and associating through character strengths of family members is discussed.

HW: Family Strengths Tree

Client asks family members to take the signature strengths online measure and draws a family tree of strengths and arranges an in-person or virtual gathering to discuss family member's signature strengths.

12.

Savouring

Savouring is discussed, along with techniques and strategies to safeguard against adaptation.

HW: Planned Savouring Activity

Client plans a savouring activity using specific techniques.

13.

Altruism

The therapeutic benefits of helping others are discussed.

HW: Gift of Time

Client plans to give the gift of time doing something that also uses her signature strengths.

14.

The Full Life

Full life is discussed as the integration of positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

Therapeutic gains and experiences are discussed and ways to sustain positive changes are devised