Professionalising positive psychology: Developing guidelines for training and regulation




positive psychology, ethical practice, reflective practice, regulation


Abstract:  Although positive psychology (PP) was initially conceived as more a shift in perspective (towards the “positive”) than a new field per se, in pragmatic terms, it is arguably beginning to function as a distinct discipline, with people self-identifying as “positive psychologists.” Thus, we contend it is time for the field to start developing a system of professional (e.g., ethical) guidelines to inform the practice of PP. To this end, we outline one such possible system, drawing on guidelines in counselling and psychotherapy. Moreover, we argue for the creation of two tiers of professional identity within PP. Firstly, people with a master’s qualification in PP might label themselves “positive psychology practitioners.” Secondly, we raise the possibility of creating a professional doctorate in PP which would enable graduates to assume the title of “positive psychologist.” We hope that this paper will contribute towards a dialogue within the field around these issues, helping PP to develop further over the years ahead. 


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Author Biographies

Tim Lomas, University of East London

Lecturer in positive psychology

Module and deputy programme leader, MSc in Applied Positive Psychology

Department of Psychology

University of East London

Itai Ivtzan, University of East London

Senior lecturer

Department of Psychology







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