Positive psychology has been criticised for being ineffective in addressing the complexities that practitioners face through its individual bias and lack of contextualisation. Whilst the field has advanced significantly in science and practice, when taken to scale, positive psychology interventions are frequently ineffective.
Systems science is an interdisciplinary field with a history of addressing challenging, real-world issues. It acknowledges complexity, multiple perspectives, dynamic and non-linear relationships, context, constant change, and unintended consequences. It has developed a range of tools that can be used to understand and address problems, while acknowledging the complexities of human life.
We suggest that if positive psychology is to mature as a field, a systems-informed approach is a necessary evolution of current research and practices. We call this Systems Informed Positive Psychology (SIPP).
SIPP brings together the strength-based lens of positive psychology with the complex, holistic lens of systems science, with the goal of enabling and supporting change that cultivates the wellbeing of human social systems. This presentation introduces SIPP, illustrating foundational systems principles, and opening a conversation that explores how a systems informed approach to positive psychology can enable the science of wellbeing to more effectively address the complexities of human life.