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STEPHEN JOSEPH is professor of psychology, health and social care at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he is the cluster co-ordinator of counselling and psychotherapy training. Previously he was co-director of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth and an honorary consultant psychologist in psychotherapy. He has published more than two hundred academic papers and seven academic books, and is often asked to comment in the media on topical events relating to his work.



Stephen Joseph's Psychology Today blog

Stephen Joseph's website

Featured titles


How To Be Yourself and Why It Matters


The hunger for authenticity guides us throughout our lives. People strive for joined-up living, where on the one hand what they say and do reflects what they think and feel, and on the other what they think and feel reflects who they are.

In the past few years there has been an explosion of research pointing to authenticity as the key to fulfilment, vitality and well-being. Stephen Joseph has pioneered developments in this new field, drawing on the solid science of positive psychology to develop what has become one of the gold-standard tests for assessing authenticity. His and others’ findings reveal that when people are in relationships in which they feel accepted, understood and valued, they drop their defences. They naturally begin to examine themselves psychologically, accommodate new information and live more authentically. What’s more, the latest studies reveal that it is authenticity that leads to true happiness.

In AUTHENTIC, he presents his fresh and inspiring perspective on the psychology of authenticity. Drawing on the wisdom of existential philosophers, the insights and research of psychologists, and case studies from his own and others’ clinical experiences, he shows how authenticity is the foundation of human flourishing – as well as how the ideas relate to debates about the importance of happiness and its measurement in public policy. 


Publisher: Little, Brown/Piatkus

Publication: Spring 2016

Length: 80,000 words


All rights available excluding:

UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada)


The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth

Sounds a hopeful note. Suffering need not destroy – Terry Waite CBE


A thorough and common-sense look at the psychology of survival – NATURE


Informative and thoughtful – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


Accessible for all readers… Well worth the time to read, digest, and utilize in one’s daily life – NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS


A sure-to-be-controversial, provocative challenge to prevailing wisdom on how to deal with stress – KIRKUS REVIEWS


A compelling, honest and hopeful argument in favour of Nietzsche’s dictum – Jennifer O'Connell, Sunday Business Post (Ireland)


Fascinating… should appeal to anyone interested in the human condition – Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool


Insightful and entertaining… An invaluable guide – Elaine Fox, Professor of Psychology, University of Essex


A book of wisdom... psychology at its best: honest, hopeful, helpful, and based on sound serious research – Robert J. Wicks, Professor, Loyola University Maryland, author of BOUNCE: Living the Resilient Life


Literate and compelling – John Harvey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Iowa


Beautifully written – Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde


Convincingly challenging, highly enlightening and compulsively readable – Elaine Iljon Foreman, author of FLY AWAY FEAR: Overcoming Your Fear of Flying

What would you do if life as you knew it were to fall apart? And how would you recover? Surprisingly, psychologists studying the effects of trauma have discovered it can benefit us in remarkable ways...

For the past 20 years, Stephen Joseph has worked with survivors of trauma, most notably those of the 1987 Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster. During this time he and his colleagues have made a startling discovery. Hundreds of studies show that a wide range of events – from illnesses, divorce, separation, assault and bereavement to accidents, natural disasters and terrorism – can act as a catalyst for positive change.

Anywhere from 30 to 90 per cent of people confronted by tragedy, horror and adversity emerge wiser, more mature and more fulfilled, sometimes despite great sadness. Relationships become stronger. Perspectives on life change. Inner strengths are found. In fact many psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors are no longer even viewing posttraumatic stress disorder as an illness. Rather, they believe, the emotional experiences of people recovering from adversity are the mind’s way of dealing with profound existential issues.

In WHAT DOESN'T KILL US, Stephen Joseph argues that such people have much to teach the rest of us. In learning how survivors of major disasters can be transformed by their experience, he has discovered that the lessons are valuable to us all. Indeed his work indicates that we all have an innate ability for such growth.

Drawing on the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the insights of evolutionary biologists and the optimism of positive psychologists, he presents the first robust framework for understanding the mental steps involved in growth following adversity (his unique ‘THRIVE’ model); explores its implications for individuals and society, ranging from our attitude to happiness to our treatment of Iraqi war veterans; and reveals how all of us can navigate change – traumatic or otherwise – to find new meaning, purpose and direction in life.


An authentic life is much sought after, but sadly many of us become derailed in our quest. Introducing the authenticity formula of 'know yourself + own yourself + be yourself', AUTHENTIC examines what we can do to get ourselves back on track.


Little, Brown (UK)/Basic (US)

Pub Date: 2 February 2012 (UK)/1 November 2011 (US)
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:

UK & Commonwealth, US, China (Cheers Publishing Company), Germany (Springer), Japan (Chikuma Shobo), Netherlands (Archipel), Russia (Hippo/Kariera)