UC Berkeley Helps China Explore Positive Psychology

China’s economy and number of wealthy citizens have grown very rapidly over the past several years. Despite the country’s robust financial growth, recent high-profile events (including two violent attacks on preschool children and a ten person suicide at a manufacturing plant) have shined the spotlight on mental health issues in China. Experts say the nation’s rise in wealth is not being matched by a rise in well-being and overall happiness. To meet that need, psychology faculty from UC Berkeley have teamed up with faculty from Tsinghua University in Beijing to host the nation’s first-ever conference on positive psychology.

Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that seeks to nurture positive elements of mental health rather than simply focus on treating specific mental health issues. It is based on the idea that there are a number of core strengths and virtues inherent in positive human psychology, and that these benefit the overall mental health of individuals and institutions. These strengths and virtues include wisdom, knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Positive psychology has been used in schools and workplaces across the United States as a means of encouraging confidence, achievement, honesty, teambuilding and collaborative problem solving.

The upcoming Beijing conference, titled “First China International Conference on Positive Psychology,” has drawn attention from not only psychologists but teachers, business leaders, and other scholars in China as well. Speakers will present findings on the science and psychology behind living a meaningful life, human morality, and religion (especially Buddhism) and a number of other topics. UC Berkeley’s psychologists, who helped conceive of and plan the conference, hope that drawing on the work of international academics will help set in motion a growing mindset of proven, positive emotions—a mindset that hopefully starts to catch up with the growing finances of this swiftly changing country.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Florence

    Florence

    August 3rd, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Countries like China and India which are experiencing growth and prosperity now can actually learn a lot from nations that have been in the same position before and actually learn from their mistakes and improve on it.They can choose to keep in mind of the evils of over-consumerism and over-capitalism and make amends.

  • Koley

    Koley

    August 3rd, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Just from what I have ever seen on the news it seems that China puts a great deal of pressure on her citizens to always be the best and the brightest at everything that they do. I would hope that this would be an issue that is addressed and focused on how this can be so psychologically damaging for some people

  • Hans.T

    Hans.T

    August 4th, 2010 at 3:14 AM

    material wealth is not all that makes a nation rich…it needs a lot more to actually be rich…it needs to secure the health of its citizens,not only in the physical sense but also mental health.if a country is able to do that,nothing can stop it from being the numero uno.

  • janice

    janice

    August 4th, 2010 at 4:25 AM

    Sounds like a line of thinking that everyone could benefit from learning more about.

  • BROWN

    BROWN

    August 4th, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    The Eastern countries have the added advantage of ancient texts and methods and religious contexts to actually fall back onto in addition to the modern science of psychology and mental health.They need to make use of all this for the betterment of their people.

  • RMacc

    RMacc

    November 26th, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Great article and I agree with Hans T. The most powerful nation will be the one that not only enjoy economic growth but spiritual or mental as well.

  • Ucasur

    Ucasur

    May 16th, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Our minds are extremely powerful and how we think makes a big difference in all aspects of life.

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