BEN’S INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER PETERSON, Ph.D.

Christopher-PetersonOn January 20, 2012, we had a superb, highly attended interview with one of the founders and leading figures in positive psychology–Christopher Peterson, Ph.D.

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About Chris Peterson, Ph.D.

A luminary figure in Positive Psychology, Christopher Peterson, Ph.D. (February 18, 1950 – October 9, 2012) was the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and Templeton Senior Fellow at the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Chris’ work and teaching has been a central influence for Ben and for the trainer team of MentorCoach since our initial contact in early 2003. Chris regularly taught “North of Neutral — The Positive Psychology Immersion Master Class,” Positive Psychology Applications in Action”, and “Positive Psychology and Well-Being,” by global teleconference from his office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The classes were extraordinary.

A longtime friend of MentorCoach, Chris repeatedly appeared in public and private teleconference calls, taught multiple classes, and with his colleague and collaborator, Nansook Park, Ph.D., gave a long and hilarious keynote for our 2009 MentorCoach Conference in Bethesda.

Chris was widely regarded as one of the seminal figures in Positive Psychology. He was a member of the Positive Psychology Steering Committee, a member of the board of directors of the Gallup Organization Positive Psychology Institute, a consulting editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology, and the positive psychology series editor of Oxford University Press and Co-Director of the Michigan Positive Psychology Center.

He was the research director of the Values in Action (VIA) project, the most ambitious undertaking to date from the explicit vantage of positive psychology; the VIA project describes, classifies, and measures important strengths of character. Chris’ VIA Survey of Signature Strengths has been taken by more than a million people throughout the globe. It is currently being translated into Chinese and Spanish as well.

Chris was twice named best teacher at the University of Michigan and in 2010 won the Golden Apple Award–the most prestigious teaching award at the University of Michigan. He held the Arthur F. Thurnau Chair in honor of his teaching accomplishments and considers himself to be first and foremost a teacher. The author of more than 350 publications, he was among the world’s 100 most widely-cited psychologists during the past twenty years, Chris was the co-author of the landmark work Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (2004), and the author of A Primer in Positive Psychology (2006) and Pursuing the Good Life: 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology (2013).

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