Podcast: Positive Psychology

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Tova interviews Lorena Cucalon to discuss Positive Psychology. 


Host: Tova Kreps, LCSW
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Guest: Lorena Cucalon, RMHC
Facebook // Linked-In


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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Welcome to wellspring on the air where professional Christian counselors share practical life and Bible insights. Why? Because hearts and minds matter. We're glad you joined our show today to hear from our host Tova Kreps, president of wellspring counseling in Miami. Tova is a licensed therapist with many years of experience as a Christian counselor. Tova teaches rights and consults and life. FM is pleased to have wellspring counseling, restoring hearts and minds in our community. Welcome to wellspring on the air. I'm Tovah Co founder and president of wellspring counselling. Today's radio program is about positive psychology. We're going to talk about wellbeing and with me today in the studio I have Lorraina [inaudible] and she's a new therapist with us. We're so excited to have you join us learning. I'm very thankful to for the opportunity that you have made in your group, but also here today. Well you actually have some experience in the radio, don't you?

Speaker 1: (00:51)
Tell us about that. Yes, I did have some experience in my country and here as well. They interview me several times for different programs to be the person who spoke from the mental health point of view and answer some questions and tell us your country, Ecuador, South America. Yes. So she's from Ecuador and she's done Spanish talk radio on mental health topics. So I have an expert here with me. This is really fun today, but today we're going to talk about positive psychology. So before we begin, just tell us a little bit about yourself as a professional. Well, I started my career light in 1990 and yes, and I spent 12 years of my career in my country, which I did a lot of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. And then I move here to the United States where I got a masters degree in counseling because I wanted to pursue my passion, which is the wellbeing of people.

Speaker 1: (01:42)
So here I've been working privately since 2007 and now I have, I have the pleasure of joining wellspring, wellspring, and you have a strong faith and I figured out how to integrate your faith into all of these skills you've had as a therapist, right? Yes. Well, I think this has been a privilege that God really allowed me to come into my faith at the same time that I started my career. I have a passion to do research. So I did, I researched the Bible like AP if it was my career as well. So I integrated both from the beginning. Yes. And that's why we're happy to have you. So all right, so I brought you in as a guest to talk about positive psychology cause this is something I know you're passionate about. So I want you to tell us why are you passionate about wellbeing and flourishing and positive psychology?

Speaker 1: (02:30)
Well, because I do believe like from both points of view, like nature and faith point of view, we all have a lot of strengths. We have the tendency to see only you know what's wrong or the fears we have or our mistakes or failures. But would we need to learn, we can learn how to see the strength that we'd have and how to overcome. Of course we have. There is a time for you to have negative emotions too and you can let them go through your body and through your mind, which is nature itself, but after you cannot dwell on them, you need to learn how to, you know, positive, positive, go to optimism, the truths and OPA scripture, right, and I have to tell you these positive psychology, it doesn't have to do with think positive and be positive and deny that bad things are happening that has nothing to do with that.

Speaker 1: (03:23)
It has to do with your strength, how to work on them, how to learn to develop them or recognize them sometime. Okay, so I'm going to give a full definition. I brought it here. Others today. This is according to Christopher Peterson, who's one of the gurus in this world of positive psychology and his definition is this. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a call for the psychological sciences and practice to be as concerned with strength as with weakness as you just said, as interested in building the best in life as in repairing the worst and as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology. Yes, that's positive psychology. That's why it is my passion because I have seen so many people, you know, in counseling or just in life that I met so many brilliant people, youth in you know, couples that could be thriving in life and they're just living alive.

Speaker 1: (04:21)
And the Lord said that he came to give us and abundance. So I, I love to see people to have their abundance in life and that wellspring, we really do focus on this. We focus on both sides, that people do tend to come to us when they have problems and when they have bad things happening. Because when you have enough pain, you're willing to pay and show up. And so it does take pain to motivate us sometimes too to do that. But really to be motivated instead to do wellness, to say, how do I flourish? And not just survive, um, in January, every year now we have a healthy habits seminar that we have and how do I do things better? How do I become who I'm meant to be and who God designed me to be and not just barely getting by. And so this is part of wellspring to do this and but let's just dive in.

Speaker 1: (05:08)
That's a positive psychology. Just so you listened to, we want, you know, we're not just talking about just be optimistic and we're not saying sweep all the bad things under the rug and ignore them or we're not just saying name it and claim it either. You just think positive things and like the book the secret and he'd just make it happen. Although there is a scientific correlation between our positive view and good things happening, but we're not little gods that create and manifest good things by only thinking good things. So we have already been given talents and strength, correct? Yeah. We've been created that way and we have, I think we have the responsibility to look at them, not just the, you know, the benefit of and for ourselves. And the people around us, but we have a responsibility because too much has been given, much is required.

Speaker 1: (05:56)
So we, we did have that response. So we do we have the talents and are we going to go bury them an hour and then have God's judgment or are we gonna multiply them the way God designed us to. Yeah. So tell us about wellbeing theory. What does that mean and describe that. Okay. Wellbeing theories. Actually what you just mentioned before is the theory that explains how you flourish. You know why it is required to flourish and positive psychology has developed this perma which is p e. R. M. A. It means positive emotions, which is critical thinking optimism. How do you see life, you know, how do you explain emotional regulation? Emotional intelligence has to do with positive emotions. The second one is engagement. Weed has to do with self regulation as well and how you engage in things and how you flow. If you are willing to do this for free, that you are engaged or your emotion is not being really present.

Speaker 1: (06:54)
Yes. About being presses or how you perform things. The next one is relationship. How you transform your relationships and being dynamic and positive and how you flourish in relationships. Any kind of relationship, high quality of connections, kindness, a. The other one is meaning. Um, weed has to do with purpose and spirituality. Even though the, this is a scientific process yet they also, you know, take a look at our, yeah, they recognize how faith is an important topic here. Meaning it has to do with how you see life through. There's a bigger world view. Exactly. And achievement is something that you do for yourself actually. How you have vision goals and you accomplish them and you feel proud of yourself and you know, you can, you can look back and see, you know, I did this well and it is rewarding to see what I did.

Speaker 1: (07:50)
I need affected people, but also it affected me. I, I did something good with myself. Okay. So let me review for listeners. So you're saying the wellbeing theory covers what's called perma and they basically got a lot of research behind this that says these areas of life. If you have these character qualities that go into these areas that you actually do scientifically come out with a better positive worldview. Your wellbeing is there so it's perma. P is positive emotion, e is engagement, rs relationships, m is meaning and a is accomplishment and yes and all of them and they can be measured to have tools to measure them so and we also use them when we are in you. When we have a client therapy we use them. It's not just something that we talked about and we motivate people. We do have researched behind that but also in 2011 there's another scientist who decided to add one more which is v that's why she calls it Perma v because it has to do with vitality, how your body has balanced and you align your body and the energy.

Speaker 1: (08:58)
How would you manage your energy? The sleep nutrition and physical activity stress versus com, which she's addressing now nowadays. And I think it's really important because before we didn't know how important was to treat your body as well as your soul and your mind, you know? So you're saying that all of these things, these five things can be addressed, that they can be measured, that they can be taught and learned and developed. Yes. And this is a pathway to flourish and that people do flourish if they develop these things. And can anyone develop these things? Anyone can do. It doesn't. It's not like I'm born without the capacity to have engagement or relationship. Actually, I was reading research recently that says that when you have inherited depression for example, of course you do have certain percentage of, you know the pressure in your family. So you will have you, you haven't developed and learned that helplessness, but also you can relearn how to become optimistic.

Speaker 1: (10:00)
It doesn't mean that you're going to completely get out of it with learning tools, but you going to improve greatly even if you are. So research is backing up all this, you know, theories in and you do therapy with clients, helping them discover, test and measure these things and then choose which ones they're going to work on and then actually work on them. Yes, I do. Of course it's not the first step that we follow because usually we have to develop a plan and their goals. And also I try to help them to include in their goals to explore how to flourishing the things that they did. They really thrive and they will enjoy and they will become better just because they are looking at them and before they were not looking at them, they are telling the story in a different way. Um, we got, of course we do have these negative emotions and this negative past and, but we also have a beautiful presence where we can explore things and go through it differently.

Speaker 1: (10:54)
It's just the balance that we believe in and we need to heal what's broken. But then we need to learn how to live well. Yes, exactly. And that's called wellbeing. That's your whole wellbeing. Well. On that note, we're going to take a little break and I glad you listened to her hair with me today. We've got Lorraina with me and we're talking about positive psychology and wellbeing and how do we get at that? So we'll be right back. Wellspring now offers professional Christian counseling at six locations in Dade County. Therapists are now taking clients at two new locations, one at Crossbridge, Miami Springs and Kiva Skein for more information, (786) 573-7010 or wellspring miami.org for more information. Welcome back. This is Tova with wellspring on the air. And with me, I have Lorraina today and we are talking about positive psychology and wellbeing. And if you are just joining us today, we've been talking about the fact that science shows us there are attributes that relate and strengths that relate to people who actually flourish, who are happy.

Speaker 1: (11:58)
And so it's just great to know that the science is telling us what it takes to be happy, that we can learn that. And at wellspring we, we help people who come in with pain and problems and brokenness. But we also help people move forward into living well. So if you think of us like a hospital, so one, one side of us is a hospital where people are coming and they are needing healing, but the other side is like a gym. Exactly. Yes. It's like going to the fitness center where you're going to take care of your emotions and and learn how to live well and be strong and work from your strengths. Right? Yeah. And that's a great example because the more you remember when you go to the deem you move your muscles muscles that you didn't even know you had. But then yeah, their, their pain goes everywhere from everywhere I need hurts for several days and then you become stronger and you one more and more and more because you see the result is the same thing in a theory of wellbeing.

Speaker 1: (12:50)
I've been practicing this and people who come for just one thing, let's say to move forward because they were on their fear of, you know, life was good. They were teachers or you know, just the mother who was at home and doing well, no problems, but they knew something else was missing. So when we tried exploring those areas and they feel like they're accomplishing more and they get into degree or they are, you know, going to the gym or day and putting together reading club or something like that, they want more and they want more. And that's the beauty of it. And that's something. And also you can work on autonomy when you are there and then suddenly you are by yourself leading your own life, you know? And that's beautiful. That's beautiful. That's why I have a passion for it. I love it. Well, we're doing some of this work from some of the leaders of it's Seligman and Peterson and we just want you to know that we're basing this on some research and some things, but we'd spoken early in the program.

Speaker 1: (13:44)
If you miss the beginning, you can find us on a podcast at wellspring on the air. But otherwise join us as are going to go back through wellbeing theory. And there are five attributes that fall under that per mfi. So we're just going to go back through each of those one at a time and flesh them out a little bit. So the first one that is a part of people who have good wellbeing is positive emotion. So tell us what's positive emotion. Really positive emotion is the feeling of wellbeing. You feeling happy, optimistic that you can see the past and see that it's something good. It was something good. Uh, you can be present in your present and enjoy the present and then to the future and be hopeful for a better future so people can learn to see positives in life. Yes, they can learn.

Speaker 1: (14:31)
Optimism actually is learning. I read this research from Saligman that he says that optimism is one characteristic that we all have until we are 12th before you have the ability to have a new a call pool and have babies and eat and successfully at that time who does on reason, that's still a puberty. Yes. Purely. You know, when, when I was reading that I couldn't help to think about the Bible verse that says you have to be a child to tell like this to yes, because they did not doubt at all. They are optimistic no matter what. When you tell a child that the parents are going to get divorced and they are very young, they usually never lose hope when they see the parents smiling or talking, you know, but they to not lose hope. Never. So southern life, you know, usually even if they are hurt, they did not lose hope.

Speaker 1: (15:26)
They did not stop loving the person who has heard them. And yes, until you know, so it's for us adults to develop our positive emotions. Some of us have to become more childlike and there is a place of faith in that and in scripture helping us to see the world from God's permanent hope he gives us, someday we'll be in heaven and we won't cry anymore. The pain will be gone. And so some of that comes through our faith and trusting God. So it comes through other practices. What other things would help vall up positive emotions. Yes. I think that faith is really hard at that point when you've been hurt deeply, it's hard to believe that, okay, you know, in this way. But you can learn how to believe and you can learn how to become optimistic. So yes, there is a route. There is a weight doing it and it takes time.

Speaker 1: (16:19)
It takes effort, it takes your engagement into it. But, um, you know, once you are there, you are gonna love it for the rest of your life because you already know how to get there whenever your mind is trying to betrayed you and bring you back to the pain. So the helplessness and we need to address the pain to heal it, but we also need to learn how to see what's good, to see, what's hopeful to see what's also true. At the same time. Yes. Also, there's another research because I've been reading a lot of research to support the work that I do and other research research shows that our brain was wired that way too, to learn how to defend itself, you know, because yes, yeah. You have to protect of danger and it's not bad to, to protect yourself. But nowadays we've will live very comfortable slide.

Speaker 1: (17:09)
We did not have to haunt or we are not going to be attack, you know, but we still have that into our brains. So that's why when we are in the car where like you know what happened and it's nothing happened really. It was just a red light or somebody, you know what's crossing. But we see it as a huge event because we are wired that way and we can learn how to train your brain to not respond immediately to that. Yeah. But it takes time. Like you develop a muscle, you also develop that stability. It's really talking there about self regulation and exempt learning. The capacity to say, okay, I feel danger but I'm going to stop and take a real look around and see things really are and you can actually develop the capacity to stay present and to see the good and exactly.

Speaker 1: (17:56)
And self regulation I think is one of the characters that it's, it goes through all of the main points of positive psychology. And so it's muscle building, muscle building for our strengths. And you can work on them. Yes. So that was positive emotion. The second one of the Promo was engagement. So tell us a little bit more about engagement. Yeah, this is a fundamental for wellbeing because we, we do benefit from the people that are around us and if we invest time in the people who can bring the best in as it's, it's just wellbeing will be in itself, you know, surround yourself with good people, like minded people, people who have passion for the passions that you have and faith like you know, and, and you learn how not to judge and they will build you up. The Bible says that, you know, when a friend is a brother in a time of trials, so it is like that.

Speaker 1: (18:50)
It is like that. So, so engagement and I do you think that, I'm just asking this question, do you think that we have less engagement in society now because of technology that people are less engaged? They are less engaged but also sometimes in society we tend to engage with people just because we have, let's say service in common, but we do not go farther than that. You know, we don't, we don't take the time to call and see how are you doing or even if you have to, normally you can send a text and say, you know, how are you doing today? Or I remember I was praying for you on Saturday or I remember seeing you and I didn't say hi. Just little things that will deeper personal engagement with men. Yes. And your coworkers. People at Church, if you go to church, if you go to the gym with people at the gym, sometimes you go to the gym and you see and you don't even say hi to anybody.

Speaker 1: (19:39)
You didn't know anybody there. You have to purposely engage with relationships. So I'm gauging in and relationship rave kind of overlap though. So it was relationship different than engagement or oh yes. And engagement is different. Engagement has to do with your passion and how you engage in whatever you give to it and how deep you get into it. Yes. How passionate you are about how passionate you are about in a way that you are time doesn't matter anymore. You can do it for free. You are doing this and you don't even know. Why are you doing it? Yeah, that's engagement. I'm really there. I'm present. I'm giving myself to it. That is for me in my personal life. That is one of the things that really give me wellbeing. Yes. So [inaudible] ship means what? Relationship means just a to contribute one another. And you know, I build you up, you build me up.

Speaker 1: (20:33)
Uh, when you are in, down in life, I'll pick you up. And when I fill in, you know, I, I celebrate with you as well. It's not just when you're feeling better. Mine is to have wellbeing. We have to have relationship. God made us as social animals. We're herd animals. We are designed for community. Um, I know that in the research about positive psychology that other people, people engage with other peoples. One of the absolute is uh, happiness indicators. Yes. That people have to be connected with other people to have happiness. It's a correlated legally it gives you the capacity, love, empathy, cooperation, self sacrifice, all of those forgiveness, kindness, everything has to do with the others. So in order for you to develop character strengths, this is one of the main, and it's interesting, you know, we, we teach in school critical thinking, which is head stuff, but we really should be teaching in school heart stuff.

Speaker 1: (21:30)
Unconditional caring is actually made me a better predictor of our happiness then our capacity to do critical thinking and yet we don't really teach that in school. Exactly. There's a problems. Yeah. There is a program actually that Sally Mann has developed also for Indian educational program for teachers in schools. Because imagine we only teach math, like you were saying, critical thinking and language and which is okay, it's important. It's important because they are going to flourish in that area. Right. But there was this research done that says that college students, 13,000 college students were on that research and 45% of them were depressed. So 45 it's a huge amount of students and the ages that you're supposed to be happy, happy, you know, because you're flourishing. But they are not, they are struggling with the pressure, social pressure financially, you know, and, and because they did not have the carrots and strengths to see life as a worth leaving.

Speaker 1: (22:32)
Yeah. And that's why this positive psychology and is so important we, because our suicide rates have gone astronomically higher, people are more depressed and more detached from others. And so one of those strengths that we all have, nobody's missing this capacity to connect with other people, are they? I mean I suppose maybe some people on the spectrum would struggle with it a little bit more, but even they can learn and are capable to communicate or connect with others in a different way, man. But they can do it. So we can all do it. All right. Oh, we're coming towards the end here. So we've got a wellbeing theory to review, positive emotion, engagement, relationship, and then we have meaning, accomplishment and vitality. So talk a little bit about meaning as we get towards the end here. Okay. A sense of meaning and purpose can be a great source of the sense of belonging.

Speaker 1: (23:22)
So that gives you, that gives you a purpose. I belong here. I am here for a purpose. I, I know what I'm going to do with my life. My life is worth leaving. So people who have meaning, dad will be usually meaning relates to something bigger than yourself. So I'm contributing to my family and the next generation cause that's where I belong or to my society around me or to my church or to God's kingdom. Most importantly, I'm contributing toward that. So I have a purpose beyond myself. Yeah. Actually Science says that people usually find meaning in religion, family science, politics, and work organizations. So say those five again. Again, religion, family, science, politics, and work organizations. Okay, there we go. So what we need meaning too and purpose in our lives and beyond that we need to have accomplishment. So achievement. What? Tell us about that.

Speaker 1: (24:16)
Yeah. Two minutes for your own sake. In this case. Yeah. People pursue achievement for to be successful, you have to like a little show of fame for themselves. Yeah. Which is okay. And it's actually a need. It is, it is needed. It's pursue for you, not for everybody else. And this is define, this defines, it says here, it's defined and measured independently of the other elements. This one, because it's only for you and I needs is healthy to have something for you. I think about the garden of Eden. So before the fall, and Adam is told to, to name all the animals he had tasks that he needed to succeed. He had things to achieve. And that's a part of the beautiful example of how we're supposed to live. We actually are called a succeed. And how achievement, um, I think, I don't want to say especially men, so because women and men do it, but I think that that this drive for men is so powerful that they know if they have mastered something and succeeded in it and, or maybe the lack of that for men is very powerful.

Speaker 1: (25:20)
I've seen in their sense of failure, I've never achieved and see that someone who was in midlife crisis because I thought I'd achieved this and then I didn't. And so having to rewrite and understand what have they achieved and how can they continue to achieve and how does it go from there. That's why the theory of wellbeing works because it helps you to perform better at work, to have more satisfying relationships, to be, to cooperate with others, to engage in your own passion, to find your own passion, to have better physical health and reduce stress or you know, have greater self control, which are, you know, qualities of these. It's Turk. Well our last one is vitality. And we'll have to just say that quickly and I'll just sum it to say that has to do with our bodies, right? We have to connect our bodies to everything else and that's part of our wellbeing.

Speaker 1: (26:10)
It can't just be left out. No, you have central, you have. Yes, you have to find your body balance, how you sleep and nutrition, how you care for, you know the your buddies where it's taking you. It's the temple that we live in and God lives in and we got to function out and sometimes we allowed certain things it would take them for granted like health and it's part of your wellbeing, taking care of it, your stress versus calm. How to be mindful. That has to do with the body as well and not just with your spirit because it all affects if your mind and just period relates to into, into a thought or a point your body will follow. It's true. It's true. Well, Lorena, it's been wonderful to be with you today. I'm ready to just sit at your feet and have you go get me all these tests and take me through all of these things.

PodcastAlexandra Delgado