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


Authors: Marianne Ingheim, Ph.D.(c)

Category: Meaning Conference Proceedings: Student Winners

Pages: 13

IJEPP Issue: Vol. 11 no. 1

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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.