Positive Psychology and Love
To be or not to be in love? That is the question.

Everyone knows love is good for you but what does positive psychology say about. Let’s kick start the process of love with some philosophical references such as Irving Singer (1984) who conceptualised it with as a concept associated with virtuous attributes such as goodness and Godly attributes. Further differentiating it into four components: “Eros”: desire for the beautiful, “Philia”: companionship love, “Nomos”: obedience to ones loved one, and “Agape”: preference of love over spirituality. The variant levels of love are very interesting and divulge humans into thinking about love in a very comprehensive manner.

What is passionate love? Another external expression of the feeling of love Hatfield (1988) proposed the true essence of passionate love is an intense attraction that’s entails marriage to that individual. Others extend this element that compassion, passion, satisfaction, friendship and commitment are elements of love too (Sprecher and Regan, 1998). The Zeitgeist of understanding love within an applied adult love attachment theory states that joys and sorrows of childhood come prevalent within adult love experiences (Hazan and Shaver, 1987).

The evolutionary theorist postulates that survival of species is dependent upon pro creation and attending to the helpless infant so as to build primitive emotional bonding (Mellen, 1981). Research into love has found that love, companionship, honesty, trust as main features of the notion of love (Regan, Kocan and Whitlock (1998). Others state that the process of love may motivate an inner self expansion process within the individual (Aron and Aron, 1996). Sternberg (1998) is a process of personal social construction which is experienced through life experiences.

The notion of love has been linked to happiness and positive wellbeing as human is group orientated species that need to belong (Myers and Diener, 1995). The renowned psychologist Barbara Fredrickson postulates love is a moment in which you experience warmth and connection with another being naming it Positivity Resonance. Positivity Resonance is a three part process you mirror each other’s behaviours, biochemistry and impulsive care for one another. Love and respect have layers which have been identified as attention, curiosity, dialog, empowerment, healing and self respect Lawrence-Lightfoot (2000). Gender differences have been identified as men are more susceptible to lucid behaviours and women are more prone to practical friendship gestures (C.Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986).

Collaboration of positive psychology practices

The purpose of couple therapist professionals counselling psychologist, clinical psychologists, pastoral counsellors, marriage and family therapist is to listen, respect, understand and cultivate effective communication between couples. The basic principles of counsellors is to develop dialogue that expresses authentic feelings, motivate effective communication between couples, embrace reflective accounts of challenges/processes of change among the people concerned, encourage autonomy, exchange relevant information, boost communication, set clear goals and objectives. The common core principles of relationships entail the following respect, empathy, tact, consent, confidentiality, accountability, expertise and practitioner facilitation of less conflictive behaviour with more solution based behaviour.

Relationship therapist need to take upon some Positivity Resonance tasks within their normal practices to acquire optimal level of love functioning within human relationships. I do indeed feel that in coherence to these imperative principles a Positivity Resonance approach collaborated within this framework will provide a more current form of couple therapy.

The future for love research

The future of love in Positive Psychology is imperative in understanding close relationships and clinical Psychology postulates that knowledge of love is compulsory for therapist to practice within their field (Bergner, 2000). Large body of research advocates that love does indeed prolong human life and is good for your Positive Well being with a gender bias advocating men are the superior Beneficial’s of this notion. With recent researchers such as Barbara Fredrickson defining the science of love as a Positive resonance with experiences of shared positivity amplified by the people physiological reactions and behaviours. This notion is very plausible and provides a good framework for further research to be conducted which could actually entail brain scans of people who display Positive resonance behaviours. I leave you with the thought love does indeed make the world go around even the science behind it proves this.

– Acevedo, B.P., Aron A., Fisher, H. E, & Brown, L. (2012). Neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 145-159.
– Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. (2000). Couples shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273-283.
– Barbara, L. Frederickson (2013) Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become. Hudson Street Press.
– Snyder, C.R. & Lopez, S, L. (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press.
– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couples_therapy
– https://positivepsychologytraining.co.uk/2017/02/liberate-love/
– https://www.nationalcounsellingsociety.org/find-counsellor/types-of-therapy/
– https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201203/5-principles-effective-couples-therapy

About the author: To find out more about Fizza Shah, please click here.

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