Toxicity and positivity: Toxic psychology and the positivity tidal wave

Helen Gavin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Psychology is one of the helping professions. From clinical and health psychology, focused on the study and treatment of psychological problems, to counselling and psychotherapy as a person centred paradigm, psychology is designed to aid the human condition. Even forensic psychology, the hitherto darling of tv and literature, is used to investigate and prevent crime, and be the helpmate of justice. How can psychology be toxic, surely that is an accusation born of misunderstanding and the dismissiveness of the medical profession? Psychology is actually a powerful set of tools that can be used for good, but weaponizing them is far too easy, and often people don’t know that it is being used against them, or even that they are using it themselves. This is the situation in which relationships, corporations, and even nations can suffer from cultural toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationToxic Cultures
Subtitle of host publicationA Companion
EditorsSimon Bacon
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781789979558, 9781789979565, 9781789979541
ISBN (Print)9781789979534
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameGenre Fiction and Film Companions
PublisherPeter Lang International Academic Publishers


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