Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes individuals and communities thrive. Founded in the late 1990's, this branch of psychology primarily focuses on the experiences, strengths, virtues, choices, relationships, and institutions that contribute to successful functioning and enable individual and collective flourishing in difference contexts, countries, and societies.

For years, psychology focused largely on human suffering and the causes and symptoms of mental illnesses. Although important for alleviating suffering, this deficit-oriented approach often leaves out of account the factors that make life most worth living.

Enter the field of positive psychology, founded by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. during his term as president of American Psychological Association. Positive Psychology is founded on the belief that people want more than an end to suffering. Rather, they want to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experience of love, work, and play.

Positive Psychology creates the opportunity to not only heal psychological damage but build strengths and traits that can enable people to achieve the best things in life.

Notable  Events

  • In 2002, Martin Seligman published "Authentic Happiness," a book that outlines the framework of Positive Psychology and introduces the concept of using one's strengths to find fulfillment.
  • In 2003, the University of Pennsylvania launched the world's first Master of Applied Positive Psychology program
  • The International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) was established, and its inaugural conference was held in 2009.
  • In 2010 U.S. Army implemented the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program designed to build resilience and enhance the psychological well-being of soldiers and their families.

VIA Institute on Character

VIA Institute

The free VIA Character Survey is the premier tool in the field of positive psychology that assesses an individual's character strengths. A substantial body of research shows that using your strengths at work can make you happier, healthier, and more productive.

By the end of 2024, ThriveSmart will integrate with the VIA Institute so users can import their survey results - which will then be incorporated into recommendations algorithm used by the ThriveSmart's web app.

International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA)

The IPPA Work and Organizations (W&O) Division is a forum for academics, researchers, practitioners, and anyone interested in studying and applying positive psychological concepts in work or organizational settings including those relatively new to positive psychology.

The W&O Division is of interest to a wide range of professionals including:

  • Industrial and Organizational Psychologists
  • Human Resources (HR) professionals
  • Executive and Life Coaches
  • Business Advisors and Consultants
  • Trainers (and corporate trainers)
ThriveSmart at IPPA
The ThriveSmart booth at the IPPA Conference in Vancouver, CA in July 2023

The IPPA W&O division provides researchers and practitioners a forum to discuss and collaborate in the development and application of positive psychology principles. Their goal is to improve individual, team and organizational well-being and performance across various contexts and cultures.

Want to Learn More?

Coursera offers a Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization with five courses and over eighty hours of content. It is taught by Dr. Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania and has been viewed by over 65,000 people.

Books on Positive Psychology Coaching

  • "Positive Psychology Coaching: Putting the Science of Happiness to Work for Your Clients" by Robert Biswas-Diener and Ben Dean (2007)
  • "Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching: Assessment, Activities and Strategies for Success" by Robert Biswas-Diener (2010)
  • "Coaching Positively: Lessons for Coaches from Positive Psychology" by Matt Driver (2011)
  • "The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology" edited by Suzy Green and Stephen Palmer (2019)