Well-being is an important topic for many different professions. From health professionals to politicians, a number of fields seek to research, understand and promote wellbeing. As a concept at the heart of psychotherapeutic practice, it is essential that trainee and practising therapists understand the distinctive contribution to our understanding of well-being that each of these professions have made. In this unique text, author Digby Tantam explores the philosophical, political, economical, psychological, medical and spiritual perspectives on well-being through a psychotherapeutic lens, explaining current research data and summarising findings. Theoretical approaches are balanced with an insight into their practical applications, showing therapists how each approach can inform their practice and make a real difference to the life satisfaction and health of their clients.

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Life satisfaction is yet another measure of the combination of happiness, health and morality (I have presented so many such combinations to the reader that I felt the need to summarize them, in Box 9.1). Life satisfaction takes account not just of how people feel about their life, but also of what they think about it. Two influential researchers in happiness, Seligman and Diener, have each moved away from an exclusive focus on positive feelings and well-being to life satisfaction as a better measure of what they would consider ‘the good life’. Seligman currently defines this as requiring five dimensions of living: positive emotion; engagement; relationships; meaning; and achievement involving the application of determination (Seligman, 2011).

Albert Einstein (1930) believed in determination ...

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