Critiques of Positive Psychology paper gains traction

June 1, 2023

From Papers and Recognition to Talks and a Special Issue of the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology

Positive psychology has emerged as a rapidly growing sub-discipline of psychology that explicitly focuses on promoting wellbeing, positive health and optimal functioning of individuals, communities, and institutions. While its contribution and growing popularity are undeniable, positive psychology has also been criticized for its relevance, impact and credibility as a scientific discipline and practice domain.

A recent research paper on these critiques and criticisms of positive psychology has captured the attention of the academic community. Published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, the paper has rapidly become the most widely read article in the journal over the past 12 months.


The research has earned its lead, Llewellyn E. van Zyl, invitations to host an upcoming workshop on the topic for prestigious organizations such as the European Network of Positive Psychology, The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard and the University College of Cork. This recognition further solidifies the significance of the study's findings and the importance of critically analyzing positive psychology.

In addition to the workshop invitations, Van Zyl has received an overwhelming response from podcast hosts and professional platforms, expressing interest in featuring their insights and writing articles based on the study. This surge in attention emphasizes the growing demand for nuanced discussions surrounding positive psychology.

Special issue

To further contribute to the field, Van Zyl and Bryan Dik (Colorado State University, USA) are hosting a special issue on the topic for the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. This special issue has already attracted contributions from leading experts in the field, like Robert J. Vallerand, Everett Worthington, and Stewart Donaldson.