International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

From Crisis to Meaning: Existential Positive Psychology in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Marianne Ingheim, Ph.D.(c)

Transformative Inquiry Department, California Institute of Integral Studies


Existential positive psychology, also known as PP 2.0, is well positioned to address the impacts of the stress brought on by COVID-19, because it integrates existentialism’s focus on suffering with positive psychology’s concentration on flourishing. Especially in these pandemic times, a psychology that focuses solely on the positive seems out of touch with reality. As the physical, mental, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, many of us are experiencing a crisis of meaning. Existential positive psychology highlights the importance of meaning making in the aftermath of a crisis, especially meaning that is oriented toward self-transcendence. Crisis can become the opportunity for change, as we re-consider, both individually and collectively, the meanings we live by. Self-compassion can aid us in this process of self-reflection, as we use our meaning-making abilities to work with and through our suffering, whether it is a personal story of cancer and suicide loss or the collective story of COVID-19.

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