Positive Psychology: The New Science of Happiness

Online Course Materials:    AudiosVideos   ArticlesArticles   

All materials are available as audios with transcripts.

Developed by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

Course includes the works of Dr. Dacher Keltner, Dr. Jonathan Haidt & Dr. James Pawelski

Introduction to course by David Van Nuys, Ph.D. (Transcript)

General Course Description

Mental health professionals have traditionally devoted themselves to the treatment of unhappiness in all its many forms. We’ve been good at developing models of psychopathology but we also need to have a clear model of the healthy human psyche. In his 1998 APA presidential address, Martin P. Seligman, an eminent University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, announced that he was founding a new science of “positive psychology.” According to Seligman, psychology had too long focused on the negative side of human nature and it was time to rigorously study the positive. Of course, humanistic psychologists (e.g., Maslow, Rogers, Tillich, Frankel, Bugental, and others) had done pioneering work along these same lines at least 40 years earlier. However, Seligman was calling for a more rigorous, empirical approach than he felt had previously existed. He was able to jump start the field with a $100,000 prize from the John Templeton Foundation for the best research project in this new area by a young researcher. Positive PsychologyAt his point, there have already been more than 64,000 research studies on Positive Psychology. This foundational work has important implications for psychotherapists of every stripe.

This course consists of eight interviews with Positive Psychology luminaries conducted by David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Each interview will add to your understanding of the field and its clinical implications. All interviews areaccompanied with full transcripts of the interview. The first interview features Dr. James Pawelski, who heads up the first positive psychology graduate program in the country, housed at the University of Pennsylvania, under the guidance of Dr. Seligman. The second interview is with Dr. Judy Saltzberg, who is a graduate of that program and now an instructor in it and focuses on clinical applications. The third interview, with Dr. John Drimmer, explores how one psychologist shifted his work to become a practitioner of positive psychology. The fourth interview with psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Boorstein, focuses on mindfulness and compassion as key components of happiness. The fifth interview is with Dr. Jonathan Haidt, psychology professor, TED.com presenter, and a key figure in the Positive Psychology movement. The sixth interview, with Dr. Cathy Greenberg, hones in on positive psychology and happiness, particularly as they apply to women’s issues. The seventh interview is with Cal Berkeley professor, Dr. Dacher Keltner, and focuses on his research on happiness and health. Finally, Dr. John Schinnerer is one of a growing number of psychologists who prefer to practice under the rubric of “coaching,” and he describes how he made that transition. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to

  • Apply insights of positive psychology to their work.
  • Critique the research findings/claims of positive psychology.
  • Define relevant terms, e.g., positive psychology, happiness, resilience, mindfulness, and so on.
  • Cite relevant research literature to justify applying positive psychology principles to their practice.
  • Construct their own approach to implementing principles of positive psychology to their practice.

Course Syllabus:

  • Discovering Positive Psychology
    • History of Positive Psychology
    • Philosophical underpinnings of Positive Psychology
    • Developing the first Positive Psychology graduate program
  • Clinical Applications of Positive Psychology
    • Integrating CBT with Positive Psychology
    • Case examples of Positive Psychology therapy
    • Therapeutic exercise drawn from Positive Psychology
  • From 60 Minutes Producer to Positive Psychologist
    • The three pillars of positive psychology
    • Commonalities between documentary film making and practice of positive psychology
    • Taking clients beyond symptom relief to optimal fulfillment
  • Buddhist Happiness
    • Mindfulness meditation as a therapeutic intervention
    • The long-term benefits of clients developing warm relationships
    • Developing compassion as a component of mental health
  • The Happiness Hypothesis
    • Interplay of cognition and emotion in Positive Psychology
    • Exploration of “Wisdom Traditions” hits and misses
    • Why meditation is easier than medication
  • What Happy Women Know
    • The disconnect between worldly success and happiness
    • Combating happiness trap of perfectionism
    • Dealing with female revenge fantasies
  • Happiness, Kindness and Health
    • Emotional intelligence and happiness
    • Role of vagus nervous system and oxytocin in trust
    • Health and longevity correlates of happiness
    • Evidence from Darwin supporting that we are wired for happiness
  • Positive Psychology Coaching and Psychotherapy
    • Importance of developing “inward looking” in clients
    • Interplay of positive and negative emotions
    • Mastering the negative emotions of the “lizard brain”
CE Badge Created with Sketch. 6 CE

Cost: $60.00

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