Shifting the Paradigm of Positive Psychology: Toward an Existential Positive Psychology of Wellbeing

Paul T.P. Wong, Richard G. Cowden, Claude Hélène Mayer, Victoria L. Bowers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Recent developments in positive psychology and wellbeing research highlight the tremendous capacity for individual wellbeing within the context of a cross-cultural, ecological, and complex model. In this chapter, we propose a paradigm shift toward existential positive psychology, which integrates the dark (negative psychology) and the bright (positive psychology) sides of life to provide a more integrative and comprehensive model of wellbeing. We explore the dialectical interaction between these poles of human experience, with a particular emphasis on the importance of embracing and transforming suffering for cultivating sustainable wellbeing. We highlight some of the innovative ways in which existential positive psychology differs from traditional positive psychology and summarize self-transcendence as the thread that runs through the existential positive psychology paradigm. Our chapter concludes with a brief discussion of some potential implications of existential positive psychology for research and interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBroadening the Scope of Wellbeing Science
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Flourishing and Wellbeing
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783031183294
ISBN (Print)9783031183287
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Existential positive psychology
  • Positive psychology
  • Self-transcendence
  • Suffering
  • Wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Shifting the Paradigm of Positive Psychology: Toward an Existential Positive Psychology of Wellbeing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this