Research Institute on Flourishing and Suffering (RIFS)

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych

From the perspective of second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0), the complexity of the human mind can be best understood in terms of contradictions between opposing forces, such as good and evil, happiness and suffering. Therefore, the circle of wholeness and wellbeing consists of two halves, the existential positive psychology of suffering (Yin) and the positive psychology of flourishing (Yang).

Research on the relationship between flourishing and suffering demands more attention because healing, flourishing, and growth may depend on the optimal tension and balancing between conflicting forces. (Wong, 2019). When we embrace suffering and death as part of us, and work with them as our life partners, we may become more open, authentic, and creative, resulting in sustainable flourishing.

“Yes, ironically, this is the very wound that can lead to new spiritual growth.  Thinking of your death can help you to radically alter your fixed and habitual perception. Instead of living according to the merely visible material realm of life, you begin to refine your sensibility and become aware of the treasures that are hidden in the invisible side of life.” (O’Donohue, 1999)

The RIFS is the research arm of the International Society for Existential Positive Psychology, the professional division of the INPM. Its objective is to support original collaborative research, maintain a Research Ethics Board, and publish a peer reviewed journal (The International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology [IJEPP]). You are invited to becoming a founding member of this institute by joining the INPM.


O’Donohue, J. (1999). Anam Cara: Spiritual wisdom from the Celtic world. Transworld Pub.

Wong, P. T. P. (2019). Second wave positive psychology’s (PP 2.0) contribution to counselling psychology. Counselling Psychology Quarterly [Special Issue]. Retrieved from