Positive Psychology Foundations
An online training in practices from the science of wellbeing which you can use for yourself and pass onto others
The Positive Psychology Foundations is an online course for people who want to use positive psychology in their personal and professional life. The foundations are based on Prof Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of wellbeing (Flourish, 2011), which we’ve extended to include an extra R(esilience), M(indfulness) & P(hysical Body) to include other important elements of wellbeing. The course consists of 8 weekly webinars, hosted by two leading UK experts – Miriam Akhtar MAPP and Dr Chris Johnstone, with an online resource of worksheets, videos, articles, book extracts and discussion forums, where community life continues between sessions. Bonus extras include the downloadable audiobook The Happiness Training Plan.
“This course, which is led by two amazing professionals, not only focuses on the know-how of Positive Psychology but more importantly, the real-life practices that really transform learning into reality, helping you (and others) to achieve a more positive state.” Fion Liew, Psychologist
The aim of the 75-minute webinars (recorded so they can be replayed) is to give you a grounding in positive psychology and plant practices that raise your level of happiness, wellbeing and quality of life. The group format brings you into a community of fellow travellers on the journey to greater wellbeing and gives coaches, psychologists and therapists first-hand experience of the tools they can pass onto clients.
“This course far exceeded my expectations; as well as a weekly webinar with two leading positive psychologists, there is a wealth of resources which can be accessed long after the course ends. Miriam and Chris give freely of their knowledge, wisdom and support to empower participants to take control of their happiness and to help others do so.” Carol Marler, Coach
Session 1. We introduce ‘hedonic wellbeing’, the happiness of positive emotions and pleasurable experiences. The Broaden and Build Theory demonstrates how positive emotions don’t only feel good they can do us good too. Positive emotions broaden our thinking and build resources that can help us flourish. Positive psychology is a practical science and this session includes positivity practices such as gratitude and savouring and what it means to be a positive psychology practitioner.
Session 2. Engagement: ‘Flow’ is being ‘in the zone’, the deeply satisfying state of total absorption. Being in flow leads to optimal performance and growth. ‘Strengths’ are our positive qualities and assets that are the tools we use in positive psychology to help people flourish. Both are a form of engagement. What connects them is that using strengths is a way into flow.
Session 3. Relationships: What do the happiest people have in common? Close relationships and active social lives according to the study of very happy people. Humans need a sense of connection and belonging for our wellbeing. This session explores ways to nurture our relationships and build networks of mutual support for interpersonal happiness.
Session 4. Resilience: We’ve added an extra R for Resilience, a major area of positive psychology, to protect and restore wellbeing in unfavourable conditions. Dr Chris Johnstone is a resilience specialist and the author of Seven Ways to Build Resilience. We explore how to deal with emotional dips, apply flexible thinking to difficulties, cultivate realistic optimism and bounce forward from adversity.
Session 5. Meaning: Eudaimonic wellbeing refers to having a sense of meaning and purpose in life and is one of two major branches of authentic happiness. We tend to ‘find’ meaning in positive experiences and ‘make’ meaning from the negative ones. In this session we explore why meaning matters, the search for meaning and introduce an uplifting way to discover your purpose via your strengths.
Session 6. Mindfulness: We’ve added the M for Mindfulness as these practices act as a proven natural antidepressant, with benefits not only to mood, but also to memory, focus, relationships and health. The session introduces mindful self-compassion aka kindfulness practices, that are simple to apply to support your mental health.
Session 7. Achievement: How to make change in your life. Goals, Grit and the Growth Mindset are all key ingredients in making progress. We explore the Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, the evidence-based actions that can help you move forwards in life.
Session 8. Physical: We’ve added the P to reflect the importance of the body-mind connection to mental health. ‘Somatopsychic wellbeing’ is the positive influence that the body can have on the mind, for example, how physical activity is a natural anti-depressant. We look at how body-focused practices can form an essential part of an integrated Positive Psychology wellbeing programme.
“I would recommend the Positive Psychology Foundations course to anyone who wants to take responsibility for their own happiness. The course encourages action as well as contemplation… if you follow the very simple practical tools that are recommended on the course you can’t fail to improve your own wellbeing and hopefully the wellbeing of those around you too.” Laura Knightly Brown
The course is accredited for CPD by the Association for Coaching.
After ten amazing cohorts, we ran the course live for the last time from January to March 2022. You can still purchase the complete course with all the recorded webinars and access to the resources. Download the brochure. The course costs £245. Please email Miriam for online banking methods or use the PayPal button below. PayPal accepts debit/credit cards and converts currencies if needed. Once notification of your payment has been received, we will then send you an invitation to join the course which is hosted by Ruzuku, our e-learning platform.
“I’ve really enjoyed the mix of webinars, talks, reading material and practical exercises, which have brought the concepts to life. The experiential element has helped me consolidate and understand the practical use of what I’ve been learning. I plan to continue to use these principles on myself and in a coaching setting. I think the thing I have found most surprising is how involved I’ve felt in the course despite it being pre-recorded. The whole experience has not only been educational but heart-warming too.” Caroline, Coach
The story so far
The Positive Psychology Foundations grew out of the Happiness Training Plan, the audiobook produced in 2008. The Foundations, just like the audiobook, are designed to raise AND recover wellbeing. Our first cohort in 2014 spanned the globe from North America to Australia. Our 2nd group stretched from the American Mid-West to India & Singapore. Our 3rd group in 2015 went from Iceland in the north to Argentina in the south. The 4th and 5th cohorts in 2016 and 2017 spanned the globe again. Previous participants have described the course as “life-changing” and a “transformative” experience. Read the feedback from the Class of 2017 , Class of 2018, Class of 2019, Class of 2020 and Class of 2021.
“This course offers, not only an introduction to key concepts and applications of positive psychology, but also provides a platform for discussions and real examples of applications of positive psychology exercises to real life situations, not just theoretical. The expertise and excellent moderator skills that Miriam and Chris displayed were amazing. They are really professional and caring. I felt the benefits of having a Positive Psychology Coach over the 8-weeks, as a person who can help you understand different perspectives and to elucidate the sustainable ways to happiness in its broadest sense. The image and audio were always great, despite the fact that I connected with my smartphone or tablet”. Dr Abraham Salinas, Florida
From the archives We host an annual Happiness Lecture, that grew out of the Bristol Happiness Lectures, hosted by the University of Bristol. Browse the archive below.
Positive Psychology and Post-traumatic Growth , Positive Psychology in a Time of Pandemic , Positive Psychology for You, Me and Us, How to be a Positive Psychology Practitioner, What is Positive Psychology and The Natural Anti-Depressant.
“This is an excellent course for providing practical tools to boost your happiness, energy and motivation. Miriam and Chris are very attuned trainers and provide considered and sensitive discussion and feedback. They present a wealth of stimulating material in an accessible way. Some of the tools I have been introduced to on this course have had a powerful effect on my outlook and I have been recommending them to friends. I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in developing their capacity to enjoy an enriched life.” Angela Hill, London
“As illuminating and compressive an introduction to the world of positive psychology as you could possibly wish for. A colourful interactive journey that builds knowledge and practice for anyone interested in this important and emerging field. Chris and Miriam deliver the training with wit and wonder and a genuine interest and care for all those participating. Marvellous.” Graham Woods, Coach