Dr. Tayyab Rashid created positive psychotherapy (PPT) for depressed patients seeking treatment at Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Pennsylvania. As with other psychotherapies, positive psychotherapy is a set of techniques that are most effectively delivered with basic therapeutic essentials such as warmth, accurate empathy, basic trust and genuineness, and rapport. We believe that these essentials allow for tailoring the techniques to the individual needs of depressed clients. We first conduct a careful assessment of the client’s depressive symptoms and the well-being scores from www.authentichappiness.org. We then discuss how depressive symptoms are potentially explained by lack of well-being: lack of positive emotion, engagement, and meaning in life.

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A few examples:

We discuss the roles of good and bad memories in maintaining depression. Holding onto anger and bitterness maintains depression and undermines well-being. Homework: The client writes about feelings of anger and bitterness and how they feed his depression.

Savoring is introduced as a technique to increase the intensity and duration of positive emotion.  Homework: The client plans pleasurable activities and carries them out as planned. The client is provided with a list of specific savoring techniques.

We discuss that the full life integrates pleasure, engagement, and meaning.