Lawrence, Marisa Hope
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This thesis examines the psychological dimension called happiness from the perspective of philosophy, experimental psychology, psychotherapeutic theory, clinical practice, cognitive neuroscience, and interpersonal neurobiology. The selection of data for review includes major theoretical works accompanied, where findings are relevant to the overall argument of the paper, by empirical data. Major findings are that happiness, while very difficult to operationally define, is distinct from pleasure, satisfaction or conventional success. Rather, happiness is more typically identified with intrapersonal and interpersonal processes that include awareness, deliberate actions toward tranquility and relationships to desire, and a relationship to the external world that includes gratitude, acceptance, and compassion for self and others. Clinical implications include the notion that therapists need to guide their clients toward happiness as a proactive and a process involving diligence and skill.