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What is

Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy?

About Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy

  • Integrative psychotherapy method

  • Humanistic Psychodynamic Method

  • Conflict-centered short-term method

  • Cultural-sensitive method

  • Use of stories, anecdotes, and wisdom

  • Innovative interventions and techniques

  • Application in psychotherapy, other medical disciplines, counselling, education, prevention, management, and training

The term “positive”

The method used to be known as Differentiational Analysis until 1977 when Nossrat Peseschkian introduced his work "Positive Psychotherapie." The book was later translated into English and published as "Positive Psychotherapy" in 1987. The term "positive" is derived from the original Latin expression "positum or positivus," which means the actual, the real, the concrete. Positive Psychotherapy and its practitioners aim to assist patients and clients in recognizing their abilities, strengths, resources, and potential.

3 Main Principles

The three main principles or pillars of Positive Psychotherapy are:

The Principle of Hope

The Principle of Balance

The Principle of Consultation


The Principle of HOPE

The therapist helps patients understand the meaning and purpose behind their conflicts or disorders. By reframing the disorder positively, such as seeing sleep disturbance as heightened vigilance with little sleep, low mood as deep responsiveness to conflicts, hallucination as navigating both reality and fantasy, and anorexia nervosa as surviving on minimal food and empathizing with hunger worldwide, a new perspective emerges. This positive outlook not only benefits the patient but also those around them, highlighting the symbolic purpose of illnesses. Both therapist and patient recognize that symptoms and grievances signal the need to bring life into balance.

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The Principle of BALANCE

Despite our diverse social and cultural backgrounds, we tend to respond similarly to problems. Thomas Kornbichler highlights Nossrat Peseschkian's Balance Model of Positive Psychotherapy as an innovative approach to dynamic psychotherapy that addresses conflicts across cultures.

The Balance Model identifies four life areas:

  1. Body/health - psychosomatic issues

  2. Achievement/work - stress factors

  3. Contact/relationships - depression

  4. Future/purpose/meaning of life - fears and phobias

While these areas are universal, Western cultures often prioritize body and career success, whereas Eastern cultures emphasize relationships, imagination, and future concerns. The model suggests that a lack of connection and creativity can lead to psychosomatic illnesses. Individuals develop their coping preferences within these areas.



The five stages of Positive Psychotherapy are a method that integrates therapy and self-help. Patients and their families learn about the illness together and work on individual solutions:

  1. Observation: Recognizing desires and problems.

  2. Inventory: Reflecting on events over the past 5 to 10 years.

  3. Encouragement: Activating past successes for self-help.

  4. Verbalization: Expressing conflicts and problems in different areas of life.

  5. Goal Expansion: Looking towards the future and setting long-term goals.

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