Yes, I Suck: Self-Help Through Negative Thinking

Contrary to the "love yourself" message propounded by countless self-help books, a new study suggests that for people with low self-esteem, positive thinking hurts more than it helps

Photo-illustration by Reena de la Rosa for TIME

In the past 50 years, people with mental problems have spent untold millions of hours in therapists' offices, and millions more reading self-help books, trying to turn negative thoughts like "I never do anything right" into positive ones like "I can succeed." For many people — including well-educated, highly trained therapists, for whom "cognitive restructuring" is a central goal — the very definition of psychotherapy is the process of changing self-defeating attitudes into constructive ones.

But was Norman Vincent Peale right? Is there power in positive thinking? A study just published in the journal...

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