Our aim is to create flourishing lives and increase the well-being of the world. In our profession, this is known as a BHAG — a big, hairy, audacious goal and we hope you can join us in some way to attain this goal!
Collaborative partnerships; Global connections and virtual services; creating positive energy networks for positive social change
Leveraging our Character Strengths of Curiosity, Creativity and Love of Learning; Innovative design and delivery; Commitment to scientific research and evidence-based practice
Leveraging our Character Strengths of Zest, Energy and Vitality; Intrinsic Motivation and Harmonious Passion for the work we do; Prioritising our own well-being and positive energy
Being open and honest in all our communications; Valuing authenticity; Delivering what we commit to
Commitment to making a difference in the world; Mentoring and developing young people; Doing meaningful work for causes that matter
The force for positive change is within us all. Famous humanistic psychologist, Carl Rogers referred to it as the “actualising tendency” – our innate desire for growth and development. And, whilst there has been an ever-increasing thirst for knowledge as to peak performance and optimal human development, it wasn’t until the Positive Psychology movement emerged in the late 1990s that the science allowed us to identify the essential psychological needs we all have and strategies we can take to increase our overall well-being. Positive psychology is the science of optimal human functioning – for individuals, groups, teams, organisations, communities and society.
The science of Positive Psychology is now close to 20 years old and merging with fields like Neuroscience, Medicine, Education, Economics and Business. The research base, whilst growing, is full to the brim with possibilities for applications in the real world! Those who were the brave pioneers have already gathered some evidence to attest to its benefits.
Hence, The Positivity Institute was created and launched. Its aim is to bring this science to life and to continue as an “Institute” to investigate and add to the knowledge base of Positive Psychology. Our aim is to create flourishing lives and increase the well-being of the world. In our profession, this is known as a BHAG – a big, hairy, audacious goal! We hope you can join us in some way to attain this goal!
Dr Suzy Green is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS) and Founder of The Positivity Institute, a positively deviant organisation dedicated to the research and application of Positive Psychology for life, school and work.
Suzy is a leader in the complementary fields of Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology, having conducted a world-first study on evidence-based coaching as an Applied Positive Psychology. Suzy was the recipient of an International Positive Psychology Fellowship Award and has published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Suzy lectured on Applied Positive Psychology as a Senior Adjunct Lecturer in the Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney for ten years and is an Honorary Vice President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology.
Suzy also currently holds Honorary Academic positions at the Institute for Positive Psychology & Education (IPPE), Australian Catholic University, the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), University of Melbourne and the Black Dog Institute. Suzy is also an Affiliate of the Institute for Well-Being, Cambridge University.
Suzy was the “Stress-less Expert” for Australian Women’s Health Magazine for 8 years and maintains a strong media profile appearing regularly on television, radio and in print.
High-resolution images of Suzy can be downloaded here for features.
Suzy engages a range of highly professional and creative people to support her in enabling her vision. Suzy’s collaborators and associates have specialist expertise in:
It is the scientific study of the conditions and processes that lead to optimal human functioning (Gable & Haidt, 2005).
There are three key theories that are foundational to Positive Psychology:
PERMA: A Theory of Well-Being (Seligman, 2011) – a theory based on a significant amount of research that shows that having high levels of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment create a flourishing life!
Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) – a theory of psychological needs that include competence, autonomy (choice) and relatedness (remember CAR!). Also a theory that considers intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Having high levels of CAR and intrinsic motivation predicts goal attainment and well-being.
Hope Theory (Snyder, 1990) – includes goals, agency (self-efficacy) and pathways (finding solutions to goals). High hope predicts a whole range of positive outcomes including grade point average!
It is a natural capacity for behaving, thinking or feeling in a way that allows optimal functioning and performance in the pursuit of valued outcomes. A strength is something we’re not only good at, but we’re energized by! A strengths perspective empowers people, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, or (dis)ability: people have strengths irrespective of these factors. (Linley & Harrington, 2006). Currently within PP there is a differentiation between “character strengths” (those that are morally valued eg kindness) and broader strengths like “change agent” or “empathic connection”.
A scientific classification of strengths that includes 24 character strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Go to www.viacharacter.org to undertake the free assessment. There is also a youth version available on this website.
The Realise2 is another scientifically validated strengths assessment instrument. R2 includes 60 strengths and identifies realized strengths (those you’re currently using), unrealized strengths (those you’re not using), learned behaviours (those things you’ve learned to do well but drain you) and weaknesses (those things that you don’t do well and drain you). Go to http://www.cappeu.com/Realise2.aspx for further information.
PPIs are intentional activities that aim to increase well-being through the cultivation of positive feelings, cognitions and behaviours. For example, a gratitude exercise.
In PP, there are currently a number of ways to define and measure well-being. The two major approaches are 1) the hedonic (lots of positive emotion and satisfaction with life) and 2) the eudaimonic (a broader conception of well-being that includes self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, environmental mastery, autonomy and positive relations with others.
‘It is a personality trait which determines, in large part, how individuals perform when exposed to stressors, pressure and challenge….irrespective of the prevailing situation’ (Clough & Strycharczyk 2011).
EB Coaching is described as an applied positive psychology. It is defined as “a collaborative, solution-focused, results-oriented and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of life experience and goal attainment in an individual’s personal and/or professional life” (Grant, 2003). Coaching can be undertaken formally (one-on-one or small group) or informally (in terms of the approach we take when engaging in a conversation with someone. Numerous studies now have shown that engagement in formal EB coaching can enhance goal striving and well-being. Coaching provides the platform for the application of PPIs.
Seligman (2009) defines it as….”education for both traditional skills and for happiness”. PE utilises the research base from the field of Positive Psychology to enhance the optimal functioning of students, teachers, staff, parents and the wider school community. Positive Education can be taught explicitly but also needs to be reinforced implicitly through the consistent use of strengths-based and solution-focused language in verbal and written messages and through the use of positive visual images in the classroom and schoolyard.