Positive psychotherapy

Positive Psychotherapy (PPT, after Peseschkian since 1977) is a psychotherapeutic method developed by Nossrat Peseschkian and co-workers in Germany since 1968.

It can be described as a humanistic psychodynamic psychotherapy, which is based on a positive conception of human nature.

The term „positive” is derived from the original Latin expression „positum or positivus” which means the actual, the real, the concrete.

The aim of Positive Psychotherapy is not only to help patients to recognize their psychodynamic conflicts and disorders but also to activate their abilities, strengths, and resources in working out these conflicts and alleviating symptoms.

prof. Nossrat Peseschkian
About Positive Psychotherapy (PPT):
  • Integrative psychotherapy method
  • Humanistic psychodynamic method
  • Cohesive, integrated therapeutic system
  • Conflict-centered short-term method
  • Cultural-sensitive method
The three main principles of PPT are:

1. The principle of hope

2. The principle of balance

3. The principle of consultation

1. The principle of hope

Implies that the therapist wants to assist their patients to understand and see the meaning und purpose of their disorders or conflicts. Accordingly, the disorder will be reinterpreted in a “positive” way (positive interpretations). Illnesses have a symbolic function which has to be recognized in a treatment process. The patient learns that the symptoms and complaints of the illness are signals to bring his or her four qualities of life into new balance.

2. The principle of balance

Despite social and cultural differences and the uniqueness of every human being, it can be observed that during the management of their problems all humans refer to typical forms of coping. The founder of PPT – Nossrat Peseschkian formulated a model of coping with conflicts in different cultures which is called Life Balance Model

According to the Balance Model there are the four areas of life accordingly:

  1. body/health (e.g. psychosomatic)
  2. achievement/work (e.g. stress related disorders)
  3. contact/relationships (e.g. depression)
  4. future/purpose/meaning of life (e.g. fears and phobias)

Lack of contact and imagination are some of the causes of many psychosomatic diseases. Everybody develops his or her own preferences on how to cope with conflicts that occur.

Through a one-sided mode to the conflict solution, the other modes are getting eclipsed. The conflict contents (e.g. punctuality, orderliness, politeness, trust, time, patience) are described in terms of primary and secondary capacities, based on the basic capacities of loving and knowing.

3. The principle of consultation

The self-help and the treatment process in PPT are structured into the five consecutive stages and they are closely interrelated. This structure worked out between a therapist and a patient (a family) becomes a constant point of reference in a therapy.

These steps are as follows:

  1. Observation; distancing (perception: the capacity to express desire and problems)
  2. Taking inventory (cognitive capacities: exploring of crucial events in the last 5 to 10 years)
  3. Situational encouragement (self-help and resource-activation of the patient: the ability to use past successes in conflict solution)
  4. Verbalization (communicative capacities: the ability to express outstanding conflicts and problems in the four qualities of life)
  5. Expansion of goals (forward–looking orientation in life after the problems are solved)

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