All we can ever hope to do, Sigmund Freud once wrote, is “to change neurotic misery into common unhappiness”. This pessimistic statement from arguably the most influential psychological theorist of modern times captured the mood that prevailed in psychology through most of the 20th century. That is, most psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts were essentially guided by a model of the patient that was based on what was wrong with people, and how to deal with these deficiencies.
Some people take the pursuit of happiness too far:
From the book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Copyright © 2009 by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reprinted by arrangement with Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at