The pursuit of euthymia.

The pursuit of euthymia.

Psychiatrists often consider the positive characteristics displayed by a patient in their clinical judgment, yet current assessment and treatment strategies are shifted on the side of psychological dysfunction. Euthymia is a transdiagnostic construct referring to the presence of positive affects and psychological well-being, i.e., balance and integration of psychic forces (flexibility), a unifying outlook on life which guides actions and feelings for shaping future accordingly (consistency), and resistance to stress (resilience and tolerance to anxiety or frustration). There is increasing evidence that the evaluation of euthymia and its components has major clinical implications.

Specific instruments (clinical interviews and questionnaires) may be included in a clinimetric assessment strategy encompassing macro-analysis and staging. The pursuit of euthymia cannot be conceived as a therapeutic intervention for specific mental disorders, but as a transdiagnostic strategy to be incorporated in an individualized therapeutic plan. A number of psychotherapeutic techniques aiming to enhance positive affects and psychological well-being (such as well-being therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy) have been developed and validated in randomized controlled clinical trials. The findings indicate that flourishing and resilience can be promoted by specific interventions leading to a positive evaluation of one’s self, a sense of continuing growth and development, the belief that life is purposeful and meaningful, satisfaction with one’s relations with others, the capacity to manage effectively one’s life, and a sense of self-determination.

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