Prof Arnon Levy

Invited Paper: Dynamic Positive Coaching Psychology – A neuroscience- based dynamic approach to generate positive Change.

Prof Arnon Levy

The relationship between positive psychology (PP) coaching psychology (CP) and neuroscience research are discussed here, considering the topic of the conference. We discuss the significant place of PP since the end of the 20th century, as a field that shifts clinical psychology’s emphasis on psychopathology and the medical model, to research of “what makes life worth living.” Furthermore, PP realizes the vision of the humanistic psychology’s revolution and implements controlled research for the purpose of wellness. Notwithstanding its great popularity, PP is often criticized by colleagues for circular methodology, elitism, promoting a science of “happyiology “and more. It is suggested that PP research results, generating “positive” knowledge, have small impact in changing human behaviors (ex. Weight control is not successful by millions worldwide although all the knowhow exists). Human behaviors change following assimilation of experiences that generate new learning in consciousness and new neuronal patterns in the brain like through the implementation of psychotherapy and coaching techniques. The main command systems developed in the brain by natural selection are 1. Survival: operated by the cortisol and adrenalin 2. Seeking and reward: operated mainly by dopamine and serotonin 3. Attachment: operated by oxytocin and prolactin. Many situations in human cultures abound with symbolic threats that trigger the survival mechanisms as if the person is confronted by a life-threatening hazard. These situations generate stress in the self and distort the beneficial expression of these command systems. When the self is not under stress due to symbolic threats, these systems generate 1. In survival- assertiveness, power, serenity, tranquility 2. In seeking and reward- joy, curiousness, satisfaction, flow 3. In attachment- caring, empathy, love. It is discussed that the potential to change is within us and not by the validation of new or old positive knowledge. Psychotherapy and coaching techniques are suggested to implement modification of the obstructing paradigms generated by the symbolic threats in culture and thus to bring about the desired changes.

Prof Arnon Levy is a clinical psychologist, coaching psychologist and psycho-anthropologist. He founded and was the academic director of the coaching psychology study program at Tel Aviv University and a second program at Bar Illan University. Levy taught and supervised his graduate students to PhD degrees at Middlesex University. Levy was the chair of the Israel association for Psychotherapy and later founded and chaired Israel association for dynamic positive coaching psychology. Among Levy’s publications are the books: “Prometheus Molds – towards an evolutionary psychology of the self”((in Hebrew) and “Beyond the empty glass – Ideas and Images from the Psychological Clinic and Beyond” (in Hebrew) and a new book to appear soon in English “The mindful brain”.


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