Miriam Akhtar MAPP is a positive psychologist and leading practitioner of the science of well-being. She was one of 100 global experts invited to contribute to The World Book of Happiness and has been named by Top Santé magazine as one of ‘100 Names You Need to Know in Health & Well-being.‘
Miriam works mainly as a coach, trainer and consultant in the health, business and education sectors. She trains practitioners through her Positive Psychology Masterclasses and online courses. Developing well-being programmes is one of her areas of expertise. These range from Positive Youth to Positive Ageing and include the Happiness Habits, a workplace well-being programme, which was delivered at Triodos Bank, named by the Sunday Times as one of the Best Small Companies to Work For. The Happiness Zones was presented to the UK Parliament by the Academy of Social Sciences as a model of best practice in mental well-being. Miriam has also facilitated the Penn Resilience Programme, a leading course in resilience skills, developed at the University of Pennsylvania and originally piloted in the UK as part of the Local Well-being Project.
Miriam’s clients range across the public, private and third sectors. She works a lot with healthcare professionals, people in finance and the creative industries. She is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and was a director of the ground-breaking Happy City Initiative and has worked with social enterprises including Lightbox, the Happiness Project. She is a Happiness Champion in Bristol, the 2016 European Green Capital.
“Miriam is the best positive psychologist in Britain. She is passionate about growth and has a wonderful way of using her knowledge to inspire.” Lucy Barfoot, Director, Lightbox.
Miriam was one of the first positive psychologists in practice in Europe. She graduated from the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the University of East London, which she holds with Distinction. The MAPP was set up by Prof Martin Seligman, the co-founder of positive psychology “to make the world a happier place.” Miriam is now a visiting lecturer training up the next generation of positive psychologists. She serves on the faculty of the Executive MAPP at the University of Lisbon and has given lectures at Oxford, Bath, Brunel, UWE and the London College of Fashion.
Miriam is the author of 5 books including the bestseller Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression. A bibliotherapy study conducted at Sheffield Hallam University has shown that this book really does help people overcome depression and improve their well-being. It has been recommended for Books on Prescription by its founder, Prof Neil Frude. Her latest book What is Post-traumatic Growth shows how people can grow through adversity. Miriam contributed to the World Book of Happiness and its follow-up the World Book of Hope, Gratitude, How to Appreciate Life’s Gifts and is an expert in Psychologies’ Real Calm.
Positive psychology is the science of strengths. Her top VIA character strengths include Perspective, Social Intelligence, Creativity, Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence and Humour. These are mainly located in the virtue of Wisdom & Knowledge. In StrengthsFinder her top 5 are Intellection, Input, Strategic, Activator and Futuristic, across the leadership theme of Strategic Thinking.
Miriam provides an expert voice on the science of flourishing. She has a reputation as a highly-engaging inspirational speaker and has presented keynotes at conferences and events throughout Europe. Her strengths in communication developed during an earlier career working in the media. She has won the Medical Journalists Association Gold Award and is an award-winning producer from her time at BBC Radio 4 (Sony Gold Award for Best Magazine Programme) and Channel 4 (the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival). Miriam is a frequent radio guest and has made many appearances across BBC radio including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Off the Page & Sunday. She has a regular appointment with Dr Phil Hammond on BBC Radio Bristol’s Saturday Surgery. She’s appeared on ITV News and as an expert on BBC2′s Secret Life of the Airport. She has been widely quoted in the media including Psychologies, the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Independent on Sunday, ES Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Top Santé, Men’s Health, Metro, Zest, Good Housekeeping, WebMD, Woman & Home, Women’s Weekly, Coaching Today, Healthy magazine, Boots’ Health & Beauty, Bristol 24/7, Slimming World, Single Step and Weightwatchers magazine.
Miriam is a champion of Positive Ageing and has collaborated with the Gulbenkian Foundation , Dove and the Daily Telegraph to counter the negative stereotyping around later life. In 2015 she was one of the Daily Telegraph‘s inspirational women who are rewriting the rules on ageing.
Miriam was a founder member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP).
You can watch a clip of Miriam talking about the Happiness Habits below.
Pictures by kind permission of (c) Malcolm Griffiths www.malcolm.gb.net and (c) Simon Songhurst www. simonsonghurst.com