tayyab_rashidWe had a wonderful interview with Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D. on December 16, 2010.

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Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D. is the Director of Applied Research for the Values in Action Institute, a position he balances with his post as psychologist with the Toronto District School Board.

He is co-developer of Positive Psychotherapy with Dr. Martin Seligman, one of the leading experts in the field of depression, optimism and positive psychology.

Tayyab is a trainer in positive interventions with the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, where he completed his pre-and post-doctoral clinical training with Marty Seligman, During this training, Tayyab devised and empirically tested a new treatment for depression called Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) which treats depression by building positive emotions, character strengths and meaning.

He has extensively taught and trained a wide variety of professionals including educators, mental health professional and business executives in USA, Canada, Australia and Pakistan in Positive Psychotherapy.

He has also worked with Asian tsunami survivors and 9/11 families. His research has won several awards and has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has also been featured in Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Globe & Mail and Toronto Star. Tayyab guest edited the Journal of Clinical Psychology, May 2009 issue, exclusively devoted to positive interventions for clinical disorder.

Tayyab is also trained in Hatha yoga and in Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR). As a native of Pakistan, influenced by Sufi, yogic and Buddhist philosophy, advocates active and realistic search for the half-full portion of the proverbial glass to survive, thrive and flourish.


Positive Psychotherapy by Tayyab Rashid [From Rashid, T. (2008). Positive Psychotherapy. In Lopez, S. J. (Ed.) Positive psychology: Exploring the best in people. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Company.]

For more than a century, clients have gone to psychotherapists to discuss their troubles, relying on the largely untested belief that discussing troubles is curative. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people attend workshops, retreats, camps, and courses, engaging in numerous brands of psychotherapy, mostly to repair wounds, deficits, and disorders. In all of these interventions, positives are rarely the focus and never are they systematically so. Therapies that attend explicitly to the strengths of clients are rare. One
empirically validated psychotherapy that does attend to patients’ strengths is positive psychotherapy (PPT).

PPT is an approach that explicitly builds positive emotions, strengths, and meaning in a client’s life to undo psychopathology and promote happiness. In this chapter I argue that psychotherapy needs to go beyond negatives and also should cultivate positives.

Story of Growth from Loss by Tayyab Rashid

OTHERS(S) – Optimism and Hope
Colorful falling leaves of autumn remind me both beauty and finality of life. One such fall, back in 1999, the second year [of] my graduate school, was filled with black color of grief for me. Within a span of 18 days, I lost both of my parents, in Pakistan, some 8, 000 miles away, where they raised me with joy until I came to America in 1997 for graduate studies. I had visited them in early fall, 1999, because both were not doing very well but I was sent back to America, optimistically reassured by my elder siblings that my parents are just a bit sick and frail due to aging (folks in 50s are considered aging in Pakistan where average life expectancy is 45) and will be fine. MORE
340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths by Tayyab Rashid & Afroze Anjum University of Pennsylvania © 2005, Tayyab Rashid

Articles/book chapter citations:

McGrath, R. Rashid, T., Peterson, C & Park, N. (2010). Is Optimal Functioning a Distinct State? The Humanistic Psychologist, 38, 159 – 169

Rashid, T. (2009). Positive Interventions in Clinical Practice, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 461-466.

Rashid, Rashid, T. (2009). Strength-Based Assessment in Clinical Practice, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 488-498.

Rashid, T. (2008). Positive Psychotherapy. In Lopez, S. J. (Ed.) Positive psychology: Exploring the best in people. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Company.

Seligman, M. E. P., Rashid, T. & Parks, A.C. (2006). Positive Psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 61,774-788.

Fazio, R., Rashid, T., & Hayward, H. (2008). Growth from Trauma, Loss, and Adversity. Lopez, S. J. (Ed.). Positive psychology: Exploring the best in people. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Company.

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