|E-mail||aloulo (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)
|Supervisor||Professor Renos Papadopoulos
|Thesis title||Positive Psychology and the Refugee Experience: Literature review; viewing refugeedom from a positive psychology spectrum
Positive psychology is a recent development in the psychological world. It has evolved through the earlier ideas of positivism and its founders argue that it brings psychological science to its roots. The main researchers involved in the development and present state of positive psychology are Martin E.P.Seligman and Christopher Petersen of the University of Pennsylvania. Positive psychologists argue that particularly since World War I, psychology focused in the research and treatment of mental problems. The client has been seen as someone who is dysfunctional in some way and the priority is the treatment of the symptoms. However, the supporters of positive psychology argue that psychology, in its essence, is the promotion of the client’s strengths, virtues and talents, rather than just therapy of troublesome behaviour and cognitions. Empowerment, a key feature of psychological treatment, was somehow lost along the way.
Relating to a particular client group, refugees, it is possible to connect positive psychology with the refugee experience. There is already literature on positive growth after experiencing trauma. However, at present, the common trend in agencies dealing with refugees is to rather focus on the problems that the refugees face rather than their strengths and resilience. Victimisation is promoted rather than empowerment.
This thesis reviews the literature on both positive psychology and the refugee experience and examines the possible relations between them. Suggestions are made for implementation of a positive psychology framework when viewing refugeedom and when working therapeutically with refugees.