Toxic Positivity with Whitney Goodman, LMFT

In this episode, we talk to Whitney Goodman about what toxic positivity is, where it shows up and the importance of teaching people how to help us when we’re struggling.

July 18th, 2022

Episode Notes

Memorable Moments:

  • 2:04 Toxic positivity is really this just unrelenting pressure to be happy and positive, and be pursuing that at all costs, no matter what the circumstances are. And I find that it’s something that we use against ourselves and other people. The reason that positivity can become toxic or so damaging is that it ultimately becomes dismissive, causing people to shut down their emotions to dismiss what they’re feeling and thinking. It also causes us to feel really isolated. 
  • 4:49 I feel like lately, especially over the last two years, we’ve all become a little bit more isolated. We’ve all kind of had these moments of like, what is important to me in life and trying to figure that out. But it’s caused a lot of confusion for people. 
  • 6:28 Teaching people how to help us when we’re struggling, I think, is a lot of our own responsibility.  I think if we can empower people to be more vocal about that, we can also stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to always know the exact perfect thing to say to someone. And that’s when that toxic positivity usually comes up, is when we’re just trying to figure out something to say or do about a problem that we don’t know how to fix.
  • 9:29 Manifestation sort of proposes that like, if you think positively, visualize what you want, put it out there, you’re going to get it back and that people get what is meant for them. “What’s meant for you will never miss you,” like, we hear a lot of these, these phrases. And the problem I have with that is that I work with a lot of people who have had really unfortunate things happen to them. And I think you can get into this place where it’s like, “okay, so that was supposed to happen to me. I deserved it in some way or it was meant to happen to me, it’s going to have meaning later in my life.” 
  • 10:10 And it’s an unfortunate reality that I think we have to remember when it comes to manifestation, all of these types of practices, that it’s okay to use that line of thinking for good, positive things. But when you use it for everything about your life, it can be really damaging.
  • 13:00 And in that book, I tried to tackle a lot of the things that we think are negative. So like,  complaining, certain types of “negative emotions”, you know, even just feeling your feelings, talking to people about them. And then also giving people scripts or different things to say in situations where I think positivity really doesn’t fit as a form of comfort or motivation.

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This podcast is hosted by Allison Walsh and Dr. Angela Phillips. It is produced by Allison Walsh, Ashley Tate, and Nicole LaNeve. For more information or if you’re interested in being a guest on this podcast, please visit

Show Contributors
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Whitney Goodman, LMFT

Whitney Goodman is the radically honest psychotherapist behind the popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit and owner of the Collaborative Counseling Center, a private therapy practice in Miami. She helps individuals and couples heal past wounds and create the life they’ve always wanted. Her work has been featured in dozens of publications and programs, including The New York TimesTeen Vogue, New York magazine, InStyle, and Good Morning America. Goodman lives in Miami with her husband and their two dogs, Luna and Charlie, and her son.