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Positive Psychiatry

A Clinical Handbook

Edited by Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., and Barton W. Palmer, Ph.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-495-9
  • Item #62495


Long overdue, Positive Psychiatry provides a rigorous and clinically useful guide to the growing body of research that strongly suggests that positive psychosocial factors such as resilience, optimism, and social engagement are associated with better outcomes, including lower morbidity, greater longevity, and a heightened sense of patient well-being. Because most of the research has been conducted outside of the field of psychiatry, it has had relatively little influence on everyday clinical practice. This volume, written and edited by luminaries in the field, hopes to remedy this situation by introducing clinicians to the guiding principles of positive psychiatry, which hold that mental health cannot be defined as the mere reduction or even elimination of mental illness, and that mental health professionals must focus on more than simply controlling the symptoms of illness.

To that end, the book, while biologically grounded and exhaustively referenced, is also structured and written to be accessible. It includes many useful features:

  • Bulleted outlines of key clinical points are included where appropriate, fostering direct application of positive psychiatry constructs, measures, interventions, and outcomes into clinical practice and training.
  • An abundance of interesting and compelling clinical vignettes illustrate how to incorporate positive psychiatry techniques and treatment strategies into practice.
  • Comprehensive coverage makes this volume the go-to resource for researchers and clinicians seeking an overview and details of what positive psychiatry is, why it is needed, and how to integrate it into research, practice, and training.
  • The roster of contributors is a who’s who in the field of positive mental health, rendering this the definitive source of information on positive psychiatry.

Chief among the book's strengths is its emphasis on empirically grounded applications, and the editors have ensured that limitations in the available evidence base are identified, as well as directions for further research. Positive Psychiatry fills a critical gap in the treatment literature, and researchers, clinicians, and trainees in psychiatry and allied mental health fields will welcome its publication.


    Chapter 1. Introduction: What Is Positive Psychiatry?
    Part I: Positive Psychosocial Factors
    Chapter 2. Positive Psychological Traits
    Chapter 3. Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth
    Chapter 4. Positive Social Psychiatry
    Part II: Positive Outcomes
    Chapter 5. Recovery in Mental Illnesses
    Chapter 6. What Is Well-Being?
    Chapter 7. Clinical Assessments of Positive Mental Health
    Part III: Interventions in Positive Psychiatry
    Chapter 8. Positive Psychotherapeutic and Behavioral Interventions
    Chapter 9. Positivity in Supportive and Psychodynamic Therapy
    Chapter 10. Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine Interventions
    Chapter 11. Preventive Interventions
    Chapter 12. Integrating Positive Psychiatry Into Clinical Practice
    Part IV: Special Topics in Positive Psychiatry
    Chapter 13. Biology of Positive Psychiatry
    Chapter 14. Positive Child Psychiatry
    Chapter 15. Positive Geriatric and Cultural Psychiatry
    Chapter 16. Bioethics of Positive Psychiatry


    Per Bech, M.D., D.M.Sc.
    Carl C. Bell, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsych
    Dan G. Blazer, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
    Samantha Boardman, M.D.
    Anne M. Day, Ph.D.
    Colin A. Depp, Ph.D.
    P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D.
    Lisa T. Eyler, Ph.D.
    Maja K. Gawronska, M.A.
    Alexandrea L. Harmell, M.S.
    Leslie R. M. Hausmann, Ph.D.
    Dilip V. Jeste, M.D.
    Christopher W. Kahler, Ph.D.
    Robert M. Kaplan, Ph.D.
    Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D.
    Warren A. Kinghorn, M.D., Th.D.
    Evan M. Kleiman, Ph.D.
    Helen Lavretsky, M.D., M.S.
    Julie A. Lord, M.D.
    Maria J. Marquine, Ph.D.
    A’verria Sirkin Martin, Ph.D.
    Brent T. Mausbach, Ph.D.
    Piper S. Meyer, Ph.D.
    Paul J. Mills, Ph.D.
    Raeanne C. Moore, Ph.D.
    Ruth M. O’Hara, Ph.D.
    Barton W. Palmer, Ph.D.
    Acacia C. Parks, Ph.D.
    David C. Rettew, M.D.
    Christine Rufener, Ph.D.
    Elyn R. Saks; J.D., Ph.D.
    Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
    Daniel D. Sewell, M.D.
    Ajai R. Singh, M.D.
    Wendy B. Smith, M.A., Ph.D., BCB
    Nichea S. Spillane, Ph.D.
    Richard F. Summers, M.D.
    George E. Vaillant, M.D.
    Taya C. Varteresian, D.O., M.S.
    Katherine Wachmann, Ph.D.
    Zvinka Z. Zlatar, Ph.D.

About the Authors

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., is Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care; Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging; Director, Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging; and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California.

Barton W. Palmer, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, California.

This thought provoking book is a wakeup call for all mental health professionals. It makes a compelling case for the clinical approach in psychiatry to shift from an emphasis on disease models to positive psychiatry. In this creatively compiled volume, the contributors highlight the endeavors of mental health clinicians to go beyond just symptom control to promote a sense of wellbeing. Spread over 16 chapters, the editors have introduced a road map to facilitate this shift while deliberating on a broad range of clinical and ethical facets of the concept of Positive Psychiatry, applicable across the age spectrum. This is, indeed, essential reading for every clinician.—Vihang N. Vahia, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
Mumbai, India

Jeste and Palmer have created an elegant text emphasizing psychiatry as a profession that not only addresses the suffering of the most unfortunate, but also seeks to foster optimal health among all people. The authors, in a way both scientifically and conceptually sound, advance our understanding of human well-being, resilience, and illness prevention. In a time in which the dystopian narrative pervades in society, it is rare that a clinical text can inspire hope. Yet this book does. It enables us, as clinicians, to imagine a future in which patients flourish, and we are able to serve them better through enhanced skills and a renewed mindset of strength and optimism.—Laura Roberts, M.D., M.A., Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor and Chairman Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Stanford University School of Medicine

Reductionistic paradigms are used to generate knowledge in psychiatry creating a challenge for clinical application in a broad and humanistic framework. Positive psychiatry informs a clinical approach to persons with a mental disorder or at high risk for developing psychopathology. While the World Health Organization gives emphasis to quality of life years, health care in the United States falls far short of an effective focus on promotion of well-being. Positive psychiatry, as defined and richly described in this text, provides clear guidance for a paradigm shift in psychiatry. While maintaining the field’s central focus on mental disorder, clinical care implications go beyond diagnosis and treatment. The additional emphasis on positive psychosocial factors including resiliency, optimism, social engagement, and personal strengths have broad implications for health in general, and alleviation of suffering and dysfunction associated with mental disorders. It also provides a broad and friendly model for addressing high risk patients as the field moves rapidly towards early detection and intervention. Positive Psychiatry is a wonderful read at a time when clinical practice in psychiatry is restricted in time and definition of role.—William T. Carpenter, Jr., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine

The book is well-written and well-structured in easily accessible and short chapters, each of which is followed by a summary and a list of clinical key points. Positive Psychiatry encourages us to rethink psychiatry and offers a compelling new paradigm to treatment, not only in psychiatry, but in medicine in general. I can warmly recommend this book.—N. Okkels, Psychitric Resident and Research Assistant, Department of Affective Disorders, Aahurs University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark

This is a great supplement to the literature of mental health. It provides mental health clinicians with an incentive to rethink the principles of psychiatry, with clear guidelines for a paradigm shift. In addition, it encourages clinicians to focus on prevention of mental illness rather than only on diagnosis and treatment. The book institutes hope and enables clinicians to imagine a future in which patients flourish, and psychiatrists become better equipped to serve them.—Laura Gonzalez-Conty, M.D., Doody's Book Review

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