Quality of Life Therapy represents a comprehensive, and evidenced based approach to positive psychology intervention. Clients are given tools for boosting satisfaction and fulfillment in any one of 16 specific areas of life in order to enhance overall contentment or quality of life. These areas include life Goals-and-Values, Spiritual Life, Self-Esteem, Health, Relationships, Work, Play, Helping, Learning, Creativity, Money, Surroundings–Home, Neighborhood, Community—and relapse prevention.
While Quality of Life Therapy is aimed at non-clinical populations who wish to be happier and more successful, Quality of Life Therapy teaches clinicians how to integrate the latest in positive psychology into their clinical practice.
Quality of Life Therapy is evidenced-based in so far as it has been evaluated as successful in two separate trials conducted at different laboratories with different clients, that is, a coaching sample from Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston and a clinically depressed sample at Baylor.
According to Ed Diener, Quality of Life Therapy is “research-based”, “science based”, “comprehensive” and representative of the “state of the art” in positive psychology today (Diener, 2006, in the Foreword to the book, Quality of Life Therapy). The evidence-based Quality of Life Inventory or QOLI® can be used to plan interventions (by identifying problem areas of life that may be the targets of intervention), identify areas of strength, and scientifically measure the effect of intervention by showing if clients’ overall scores move into the average or normal range of life satisfaction for a nationwide sample of adults that approximate the US Census in ethnic composition.
The Quality of Life Inventory or QOLI® has been used to document change in numerous outcome studies. It also predicts academic retention in college students one to three years in advance (Frisch and others, 2005 which also catalogs empirical validation studies from other researchers). Quality of Life Therapy/Coaching has been evaluated as successful and superior to the standard treatment in the following randomized controlled trial: Rodrigue, J. R., Baz, M.A., Widows, M.R. , & Ehlers, S.L. (2005). “A Randomized Evaluation of Quality of Life Therapy with Patients Awaiting Lung Transplantation”. American Journal of Transplantation, Volume 5, #10, 2425-2432. From page 2430 of article:
Several primary findings emerged from this study. First, a brief, targeted psychological intervention, that is, Quality of Life Therapy, with wait-listed lung transplant patients leads to significant improvement in quality of life, mood disturbance, and social intimacy. Second, improvements in quality of life and mood appear to be maintained for as long as 3 months after treatment. Third, while supportive therapy/treatment as usual appears to yield some short-term benefits in mood, Quality of Life Therapy is a more effective treatment overall.
Quality of Life Therapy and Coaching is being taught at the University of Pennsylvania in Martin Seligman’s premiere graduate program in positive psychology—see http://www.sas.upenn.edu/CGS/graduate/mapp/ . The approach has also been favorably reviewed by the pre-eminent leaders in the field of positive psychology (and even cognitive therapy). According to Ed Diener, Quality of Life Therapy and Coaching (QOLTC) is “research based” and “science based” as it presents “state-of-the-art findings in positive psychology brought to life with practical exercises that make the research findings accessible to readers”—from the Foreword to the book which delineates this approach, Quality of Life Therapy published in 2006 by John Wiley & Sons.
“It is, by far, the best and most comprehensive system of positive psychology intervention available”, according to coach, Robert Biswas-Diener. It is also the “number one guide for therapists who wish to learn positive psychology techniques for their clients”, according to Ed Diener (2006). According to Christopher Peterson (2006), “Quality of Life Therapy, is psychology at its best–theoretical and practical. The book is fascinating and filled with insights about how to cultivate the good life. Professor Frisch has my gratitude”. With respect the fields of Executive Coaching and organizational change , “Quality of Life Therapy and Coaching is on the cutting edge for both the audience of current practitioners and academia. It is a compendium of quality and thoroughness. Dr. Frisch is a leader in developing training techniques, including a wide variety of experiential exercises, questionnaires, and models”, according to Dr. Paul Lloyd, Executive Coach and Past-President of the American Psychological Association’s Society of Consulting Psychology.
The Quality of Life Theory which undergirds the approach integrates findings from the fields of positive psychology, well-being, life satisfaction and happiness, quality of life and social indicators research, psychological assessment , psychotherapy and coaching, and Beck’s cognitive therapy. The theory itself is practical and immediately translatable to the Five Paths to Happiness exercise applicable to any area of life. The theory integrates the latest in positive psychology and 30 years of quality of life research with Aaron T. Beck’s and David A. Clark’s latest cognitive theory of psychopathology and depression. In fact, David A. Clark endorses the approach by authoring a second Foreword to the book, Quality of Life Therapy. The book actually includes a primer or summary of current cognitive therapy theory and techniques for use with clinical and coaching clients.
QOLT/C begins with an assessment of quality of life using the QOLI® or similar instrument and the Three Pillars of Quality of Life Coaching/Therapy. Clients do well to begin any positive psychology intervention program with a modicum of self-care or “inner abundance” such that some basic physical and emotional needs are being met. Without this physical or emotional reserve, clients will often feel too tired or overwhelmed by the demands of the moment to try for a better quality of life. Fostering inner abundance in clients is the first pillar of QOLT/C. Inner Abundance means feeling deeply calm, rested, centered, loving, alert, and ready to meet the challenges of your day and your life after caring for yourself in a thoughtful, loving, compassionate, and comprehensive way.
When you do the very best for you, there is a lot more of you available for other people and activities. We must feel centered, calm, and good on the inside,–hence the “inner” of Inner Abundance—to serve others or to find fulfillment in any of the 16 areas of life in Quality of Life Therapy and Coaching. We need a modicum of self-care–both physical and emotional–or self-maintenance so that we have the energy, clarity, wisdom, and calmness to identify and pursue our most important life goals, including service to others (Frisch, 2006, page 124 and Toolbox CD of Personal Growth Exercises).
Finding meaning in life, the second of the Three Pillars in QOLT/C, helps clients to articulate goals for each valued area of life. Finally, clients benefit from “Quality Time” or periodic times for rest, reflection, and problem solving in their quest for greater fulfillment. “Quality Time” is the third pillar of QOLT. Clients are introduced to the Three Pillars at the same time that they are given tools for boosting satisfaction and fulfillment in any one of 16 specific areas of life in order to enhance overall contentment or quality of life. These areas include life Goals-and-Values, Spiritual Life, Self-Esteem, Health, Relationships, Work, Play, Helping, Learning, Creativity, Money, Surroundings–Home, Neighborhood, Community—and relapse prevention.
Sample exercise by a real client from the book:
Happiness Pie Exercise—Example
Name: “Tom” Date: February 13, 2025
Part II: Instructions for Ideal Version: Think of this circle as a pie and draw lines to “cut slices” that reflect what areas of life that you feel are most important to your overall happiness and peace of mind. Indicate the relative importance of areas by making bigger size “slices” for areas you see as very important and smaller size slices for less important areas…Post this in a place where you can see it easily or carry it with you or as a reminder to live in accord with its priorities.