Applied Positive Psychology

This unit will introduce students to the principles and applications of positive psychology. Students will learn of the development of positive psychology and the theoretical frameworks that underpin the field. Included will be a comparison between problem-focused and strengths-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing.

Course COUN109 Applied Positive Psychology
Course dates 10 -21 July 2017
Lecturer(s) Ms Alexandra Johnston
Form(s) of teaching Face-to-face teaching, online learning and field work
Form(s) of assessment Exam, essay and practical report
ACU credit points 10
ECTS Credits 7.5
US Credits 3 or 4
Contact hours 36 hours
This unit will be of particular interest to students from a wide variety of backgrounds, including counselling, nursing, the creative arts, law, education, youth work and psychology.

This unit will introduce students to the principles and applications of positive psychology. Students will learn of the development of positive psychology and the theoretical frameworks that underpin the field. Included will be a comparison between problem-focused and strengths-based approaches to mental health and wellbeing. The various forms of wellbeing relating to hedonic and eudaimonic happiness will be examined.

In addition, some of the key factors associated with wellbeing will be discussed including positive emotions, engagement, meaning, spirituality and optimism. Finally, specific interventions relevant to positive psychology will be examined along with their scope and effectiveness.

Topics will include:
  • introduction to positive psychology;
  • psychology flow;
  • spirituality and wellbeing;
  • positive emotions;
  • emotional intelligence;
  • optimism and hope;
  • resilience;
  • positive psychology theories and interventions;
  • prevention and enhancement;
  • positive relationships;
  • creativity; and
  • future of positive psychology.

This will include:

  • group mindfulness training
  • an experimental activity, which will require students to engage with the community, the local environment or an external activity
  • a visit to the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Strathfield campus

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • identify and analyse key conceptual frameworks underpinning positive psychology
  • differentiate between various forms of well-being
  • identify factors that are associated with well-being
  • distinguish between problem-focused and strengths-based approaches to mental health and well-being
  • describe the application of a strengths-based approach to specific mental health issues
  • describe and apply a variety of positive psychology interventions to enhance well-being
Compton, W. C., & Hoffman, E. (2013). Positive psychology: The science and happiness of flourishing (2nd. Ed.), Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The how of happiness: A practical guide to getting the life you want. UK: Sphere.
Stanton.W. (2015). Beyond belief: Leading a fearless life. Bloomington: Balboa Press.

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