This 3hr workshop looks at how we can take a positive view of ourselves and others. knowing and exhibiting strong values and character strengths are a key cornerstone of healthy workplaces and individuals. Participants will undertake a VIA assessment to learn their top 5 character strengths which studies show can be used to better tackle problems.
Until positive psychology got going in the 1990s, much of psychology was concerned with understanding how problems or illness could be cured. This is because psychology had historically played a major role in helping those returning from war with trauma. To shift away from that in the early noughties Seligman and Peterson attempted to classify human strengths. They looked far and wide, from religion to philosophy and came up with 24 Character strengths which they organised into 6 virtues. In this workshop we help learners
• Help to identify their personal signature strengths
• Learn how to spot strengths in others
• How to creatively use strengths in a new way to tackle obstacles and reach goals
• Develop a personal plan to use strength orientated task which can done in lockdown to build personal wellbeing
• To learn a strengths-based journaling protocol.
Studies have shown that using ones signature strengths has a positive effect on the persons subjective and psychological wellbeing, vitality and quality of life.
Tell me a bit more…
There is good evidence for signature character strength interventions (Seligman et al 2005, Schutte and Malouf 2019), although some question this (Mongrain et al 2012). Niemiec (2015) defines signature strengths as those that “are most essential to who you are and define you as a person”. People who are aware and use their strengths more often report higher levels of wellbeing (Proctor at al 2009).
This workshop starts with a strengths and values-based introduction exercise described by Seligman (2004) and Park & Peterson (2009) where leaners introduce themselves through stories prompted by a series of questions about them at their best, their motivations, and their interests.
This workshop will review the 24 Character strengths defined by Peterson and Seligman (2004). Learners will review their results from the VIA CSV assessment whilst comparing their results to their personal perception of their strengths. A ‘signature strength’ for each individual is established by also considering a group based ‘strength spotting’ exercise.
Using signature strengths has been shown to improve one’s ability to progress personal goals too with a positive impact on wellbeing (Linley et al 2010). A creative group exercise where learners share problems and their associated goals followed by an exploration of how their signature strength can be used in a new way to achieve this goal.
Rashid & McGrath (2020) describe 101 strengths-based actions to practice during lockdown. Learners review these in groups and pick three to practice over the next week. Finally, leaners will be introduced to a strength-based journaling exercise which can be used to further develop this work after the workshop.
Linley, P. A., Nielsen, K. M., Gillett, R., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress, need satisfaction, and well-being, and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 6-15.
Mongrain, M., & Anselmo-Matthews, T. (2012). Do positive psychology exercises work? A replication of Seligman et al.(). Journal of clinical psychology, 68(4).
Niemiec, R. (2015) What we know about signature strengths. https://positivepsychologynews.com/news/ryan-niemiec/2015042831514
Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2009). Character strengths: Research and practice. Journal of College and Character, 10(4), 1-10.
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification.
Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of happiness studies, 10(5), 583-630.
Rashid, T., & McGrath, R. (2020). Strengths-based actions to enhance wellbeing in the time of COVID-19. International Journal of Wellbeing, 10(4).
Schutte, N. S., & Malouff, J. M. (2019). The impact of signature character strengths interventions: A meta-analysis. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(4), 1179-1196.
Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American psychologist, 60(5), 410
Seligman, M.E.P. (2004). Can happiness be taught? Daedalus, 133(2), 80-87.