North of Neutral: A Master Class in Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what goes right in life. This course will cover the heart of positive psychology, including its applications and interventions, through lectures, readings, and out-of-class exercises. The class will include both bright professionals who are relatively new to the field and those who have a deeper understanding.

The class will reflect Chris’ unique vantage point gained from both years of experience, research, writing, teaching, and his constant communication with the world’s leading researchers in this field.

The class will reflect the state-of-the-art in theory and research circa 2007. It will be based on the rich, deep river of knowledge in Chris’ new textbook, A Primer in Positive Psychology. And it will be based whenever possible on the latest unpublished research in the field as well.

Course Syllabus
Week 1. What is positive psychology?
Week 2. Happiness and life satisfaction
Week 3. Strengths of character
Week 4. Values
Week 5. Interests and talents
Week 6. Relationships
Week 7. Enabling institutions
Week 8. Applications and interventions

Required Text
Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Additional Reading
Students will receive a rich and varied optional reading list of research articles and books. When possible they will be hot linked to the actual article on the internet.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will:

  • Know Chris’ unique take on positive psychology’s history and its current topics of interest
  • Understand Chris’ view on specifically how a positive psychological approach differs from business-as-usual psychology
  • Be familiar with the most current, state-of-the-art theories and research with respect to positive experiences, positive traits, interpersonal relationships, and enabling institutions. This will include both published and new, unpublished research.
  • Be able to apply a positive psychology perspective to a wide range of interventions in such fields as coaching, consulting, OD, therapy, teaching, business and in one’s personal life.
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