Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist Discusses How She Discovered THE ENCHANTED SELF(R)

I was always concerned about some of the issues that clinicians face in practicing therapy. As a client, and also as a therapist, I saw again and again that we tend to focus on what is wrong about ourselves, rather than what is right. We are experts at judging ourselves and usually not for the good. Our capacities to see our own flaws are unlimited. But it is a lot harder to figure out what is really special and wonderful about ourselves. So it bothered me in particular, that if the therapist and the client both became experts in unearthing what was dysfunctional about the person, than the person might end up even more discouraged. I had seen myself become discouraged as a client at times, and I began to question if I wasn’t at times perpetuating discouragement in clients. Of course my intent was not to. But still….I worried.

This led to research that I conducted on women who were not in my practice. The research is discussed in my first book, THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy. To summarize, the research validated that women are easily discouraged about themselves, yet do maintain a secret or special sense of wholeness somewhere inside of themselves. This special sense of feeling good about oneself, or elated, or whole, or ‘happy’ at times, aware of positive states of being, is alive in just about every woman. However, it is often dismissed by society and by us women ourselves. Thus, we deny ourselves unintentionally the unique sense of pleasure, happiness, success that each of us is entitled to. You see I use many terms to describe this place of ‘happiness’ as it is so different for each woman!

I decided to honor this place and its uniqueness by calling it THE ENCHANTED SELF(R). We each have that part of ourselves and it is wonderful. We owe it to ourselves to label it, run with it, nurture it, love it, and help it bloom.

All of the above led to me declaring myself a positive psychologist a couple of years before the actual term became popular. To my knowledge I am the first woman to write a book in the field of positive psychology for women and for their therapists. That book is THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy mentioned above. I hope you will read it and get in touch with me as you read it. You will see that there are exercises at the end of each chapter, so you can take the adventure yourself of defining and developing your Enchanted Self!

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