Psychotherapists' views of using signature strengths in the workplace : an exploratory study

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Atkinson, Katherine E.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2007
There is limited existing knowledge of the benefits of using personal strengths to enhance various life domains, in particular, the work domain. Preliminary studies in education (Basom & Frase, 2004), psychotherapeutic interventions (Peseschkian & Tritt, 1998; Bandura, 1997), and vocational counselling (Bandura, 2001; Paulsen & Betz, 2004), report that incorporating one's personal strengths in the workplace can have numerous benefits both behaviourally and psychologically for individuals. A burgeoning area in psychology is positive psychology, it rests upon the premise that the best insight is gained by learning from exemplary individuals who excel in a given area. Among professions that lack attention in positive psychology research is psychologists, on a daily basis psychologists provide psychological services to numerous individuals and without proper self management may not reach their professional potential in their careers. Following this approach, the current exploratory study examined how experienced psychotherapists in private practice perceived how their signature strengths enhanced their work. Using grounded theory analysis, results confirmed that psychotherapists commonly reported 3 major benefits: meaningful work, enhanced energy levels, and enabling conditions within the work environment. These three metacategories formed the budding theory that psychotherapists, who chose to incorporate at least three of their five signature strengths, reported enhanced working environments and higher levels of competence and satisfaction with their work. Implications for future studies and professional development, using these preliminary results as a springboard are discussed.
vii, 96 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Psychotherapists -- Mental health , Self-actualization (Psychology) , Positive psychology , Mental health personnel -- Mental health