Seligman, Martin

Commonly known as the father of modern positive psychology, Martin Seligman (1942– ) was born in Albany, New York. Events during his adolescent years at times caused him to experience a sense of helplessness, rejection, and loneliness. After graduating from the Albany Academy for Boys, he went on to earn a B.A. degree from Princeton University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Seligman’s work is heavily influenced by the humanistic theorists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. His focus on optimism encourages us to examine strengths and character rather than illness and pathology alone. Ultimately, the focus on positive experiences, traits, and institutions aims to prevent mental illness and improve the quality of life.

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