1. Major strengths and weaknesses of this goal.
a. Major Strengths – I think that the definition of happiness presented in the lecture is simple and elegant. In addition, I think that the very attempt to address the issue of happiness is necessary and should really form the basis of psychology.
b. Major Weaknesses – While I agree that psychology should have happiness as the optimal mental state from which to address patient’s mental health issues, I think there are some weaknesses in the approach to determine how to get clients—or people in general, to understand exactly what constitutes happiness.
2. Major personal insights gained
After reviewing the lecture materials and much thought, I found it interesting that the approach to happiness is limited only to “physical” considerations–when it is evident that people who have all the physical comforts and advantages are not the most happy.
3. Personal and professional application (if any) of some of the content.
a. Personal application of some of the content – While I consider myself a happy
person, I think it is primarily from the standpoint of being fortunate to have met my physical needs (positive environment, life experiences, status, possessions). However, I’m becoming more aware that these things do not exclusively determine happiness.
b. Professional application of some of the content – I am concerned that while all the approaches fail by analogy to define man as an animal, they still call him one. Man isn’t simply an animal. Why? Animals lack the ability to have, express and satisfy these needs (e.g., an animal can’t compose a symphony, or create art). Also, animals do not kill or create problems for other animals for reasons of envy, hate or jealousy—only human beings do. I intend to consider the content, but to research and possibly assist to develop new ideas about how to assist individuals address their needs by first understanding that they are already complete human beings—no matter their circumstances, who simply seek various ways to express themselves. Until we understand this we can’t help society.
4. React to major areas of interest
After some thought about Freud and Maslow’s approaches I began to feel that the flaws in these two approaches permeate all approaches to a “model” of happiness. All major approaches are devoid of spirituality, or the idea that man is more than an animal with physical needs. I feel that man is a spiritual being that is fulfilling or expressing himself, through his body, based on higher-level needs. I feel that this approach keeps individuals unhappy. Why? We perpetuate the myth that only through obtaining physical things, or outside circumstances can we achieve happiness. I want to make positive psychology the cornerstone of my clinical approach, and use coaching models compatible with an area I feel needs more exploration: how to impact people suffering from pain, to increase their happiness potential regardless of their “physical” (social, economic, etc.) circumstances.