A specific psychotherapeutic strategy for increasing psychological well-being and resilience, Well-Being Therapy, has been developed by Giovanni A. Fava, M.D., and validated in a number of randomized controlled trials. Well-Being Therapy is a short-term strategy, that emphasizes self-observation, with the use of a structured diary, interaction between patients and therapists and homework.
Patients are encouraged to identify episodes of well-being in a diary and to set them into a situational context. Once the instances of well-being are properly recognized, the patient is encouraged to identify thoughts and beliefs leading to premature interruption of well-being (automatic thoughts) as is performed in cognitive therapy.
The trigger for self-observation is, however, different, being based on well-being instead of distress. Cognitive restructuring along dimension of psychological well-being may then take place; activities that are likely to elicit well-being and optimal experiences are encouraged. The findings from controlled studies indicate that flourishing and resilience can be promoted by specific interventions leading to a positive evaluation of one’s self, a sense of continued growth and development, the belief that life is purposeful and meaningful, the possession of quality relations with others, the capacity to manage affectively one’s life, and a sense of self-determination. A decreased vulnerability to depression and anxiety has been demonstrated after well-being therapy in high-risk populations.
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