Keynote Speakers

Carol D. Ryff, Ph.D.

Hilldale Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Carol D. Ryff, Ph.D. is Director of the Institute on Aging and Hilldale Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research centers on the study of psychological well-being, an area in which she has developed multidimensional assessment scales that have been translated to more than 30 different languages and are used in research across diverse scientific fields. More than 750 publications have been generated using her scales of well-being. Investigations by Dr. Ryff and colleagues have addressed how psychological well-being varies by age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic/minority status, and cultural context as well as by the experiences, challenges, and transitions individuals confront as they age. Whether psychological well-being is protective of good physical health is also a major interest, with ongoing longitudinal investigations linking positive psychosocial factors to a wide array of biomarkers (neuroendocrine, immune, cardiovascular) as well as to neural circuitry. A guiding theme in much of this inquiry is human resilience—i.e., how some individuals are able to maintain or regain their well-being in the face of significant life challenges and what neurobiology underlies this capacity.

Dr. Ryff has generated over 200 publications in the areas described above, and she currently directs the MIDUS (Midlife in the U.S.) longitudinal study, which is based on a large national sample of Americans, including twins. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, MIDUS has become a major forum for studying health and aging as an integrated biopsychosocial process. She is also Principal Investigator of MIDJA (Midlife in Japan), a parallel to the MIDUS investigation, for which she received an NIH Merit Award.

Keynote | Forces Against and For Eudaimonic Well-Being

Eudaimonic well-being gives emphasis to the realization of personal talents and capacities as well as to existential challenges of finding meaning in sometimes difficult life circumstances. Prior research has linked eudaimonia to work and family life, adult development, and health. This presentation will focus on greed among privileged elites as a contemporary force that is undermining the eudaimonic well-being of many. Philosophical/historical and current empirical perspectives on greed will be examined with emphasis on new questions that need to be studied regarding growing problems of inequality throughout the world and especially in the U.S. This dystopian situation will be contrasted with alternative forces from the arts and humanities (broadly defined) that nourish eudaimonic well-being. Examples from research and practice that illustrate heightened interest in how the arts and humanities enhance well-being will be examined. The overarching objective will be to stimulate new initiatives on these insufficiently understood forces that compromise as well as promote eudaimonic well-being for all segments of society.

Learning Objectives

  • Briefly recapitulate theoretical and empirical perspectives on eudaimonic well-being (EWB)
  • Briefly summarize prior work linking EWB to work and family life, adult development, and health
  • Link EWB to the problem of growing inequality around the world; focus specifically on greed at the top as a force that is undermining the self-realization and becoming of many in contemporary societies; review philosophical/historical perspectives on greed and link them to contemporary empirical research (e.g. linking higher social class standing to increased entitlement, narcissism, and more unethical behavior)
  • Link EWB to encounters with the arts and humanities; summarize current research and practice that illustrate these ideas
  • Recap these perspectives on forces against and for EWB with emphasis on needed next steps to investigate these guiding propositions

 

Workshop | Unpacking Educational Experience to Better Understand its Role in Lifelong Well-Being

Extensive prior empirical research documents that people with higher educational attainment have higher well-being, better health, and live longer. Despite these ubiquitous findings, little is known about how educational attainment matters for these outcomes. What is it that the educational experience provides? Does the kind of education one obtains (e.g., field of study, such as liberal arts training versus science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training) matter? As people move across the decades of adult life, what reflections do they have about what their educational training did/did not contribute to living a full and virtuous life? Among those who did not have opportunities for formal higher education, what self-education practices might have mattered for their well-being? The aim of the workshop will be, via these questions, to stimulate reflection and discussion that reach toward the larger objective of promoting research and practice to better understand how education matters for human well-being.

Learning Objectives

  • Briefly review evidence showing that high educational standing matters for key life outcomes (well-being, health, length of life)
  • Engage workshop participants in discussion of what components of formal education (degrees, majors) might matter for lifelong well-being and how
  • Engage workshop participants in retrospective evaluations regarding their own past educational experiences (teachers, courses, readings) that have mattered for their own well-being and why
  • Facilitate group discussion about how to promote, in research and practice, a deeper understanding of the nexus between education and well-being

 Length: 1 hour

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Michael F. Steger, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life at Colorado State University

Michael F. Steger, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose at Colorado State University. He earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology and Personality Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2005. For more than 15 years, he has researched how people flourish through building meaning and purpose in their lives and work. He has published more than 100 scholarly journal articles and book chapters, and three books, including The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Positivity, Strengths-Based Approaches at Work, and Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. He provides keynotes, lectures, workshops, and consulting around the world on the topics of meaning, purpose, psychological strengths, meaningful work, and creating a happy workplace.

Keynote | Is Meaning the Same Wherever You Look? Exploring Meaning in Life, Work, Parenthood, and other Life Domains</p> <p>

If an interest in meaning and persistent questions about the essential nature of existence have been with humans for centuries, the taxonomy and measurement of meaning is a very recent phenomenon. While advances have been made in understanding the causes, correlates, and consequences of meaning in life overall, other offshoots of inquiry have focused on lower-order instances of meaning. For example, meaning in work has become established through conference themes and dedicated handbooks, and some research is starting to explore how the physical environment itself may provide a dimension of meaning. This talk compares leading theoretical models of meaning as applied to life in general and work, and suggests applications to other domains as well. The conclusion proposes some heuristics for charting meaning as a phenomenon in domains that have yet to be explored formally.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the most common domains of meaning studied
  • Define meaning in life and meaning in work
  • Recognize the core set of empirical findings on meaning in life and in work
  • Critique heuristics for theorizing about meaning in diverse life domains

 

Pre-Conference Workshop | Meaning and the Appointment in Samarra (with Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D.)

“The meaning of human existence is based upon its irreversible quality. An individual’s responsibility in life must therefore be understood in terms of temporality and singularity.” — Viktor Frankl

The existentialist Albert Camus remarked that the central problem of philosophy was composing a reason any of us should want to resist death and remain alive. In this somewhat bleak worldview, the permanence, irreversibility, and inevitability of death may render our human lives pointless and moot. But it isn’t the concept of death that scares us as much as the notion that we might reach the end of our life and then realize that we haven’t truly lived. Meaning often has been positioned as an antidote for our fears of death and annihilation. The popular scholarly subfield of Terror Management Theory argues that meaning can insulate us from this “existential terror,” and P. T. P. Wong, logotherapy, and others have promoted a healthy acceptance of death to be central to flourishing. This workshop explores what research shows about the relations among meaning, attitudes toward death, and flourishing. Further, this workshop invites attendees to engage in experiential explorations of how meaning awareness may both benefit from meaning and support it.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how death has been discussed in psychology and meaning studies
  • Learn empirical findings regarding relations among death attitudes, meaning, and flourishing
  • Practice experiential activities designed to create insight regarding death attitudes and to utilize death as a potential source of meaning
  • Explore the idea of “tragic optimism” to illuminate the art of living, through Frankl’s three pathways to meaning (experiential, creative, and attitudinal)
  • Share personal views on death in a supportive environment to facilitate self-discovery and meaning-seeking

 Length: 3 hours

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Ken Sheldon, Ph.D.

Curator’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Sheldon Motivation Laboratory at the University of Missouri

Ken Sheldon, Ph.D.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Keynote: TBA

Details TBA.

Pre-Conference Workshop: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Phil Watkins, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University and researcher and author of gratitude and well-being

Phil Watkins, Ph.D. received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Oregon and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University. Gratitude has been the focus of his research since 2000. Dr. Watkins is the author of two books—Gratitude and the Good Life and Positive Psychology 101—and has authored a number of research articles on gratitude. He has served as an associate editor of The Journal of Positive Psychology, and is currently on their editorial board. His research now investigates questions related to how gratitude enhances well-being, the nature of gratitude toward God, the relationship between gratitude and joy, and the factors that enhance or inhibit gratitude.

Keynote | Gratitude and the Good Life: How Gratitude Contributes to a Meaningful Life

The purpose of this talk is to show how gratitude is important to a good and meaningful life. After a brief explanation of the definition of gratitude, I present current research showing that gratitude is important to well-being. How does gratitude contribute to the good life? I propose that gratitude enhances human flourishing in that it psychologically amplifies the good in one’s life. Gratitude amplifies the good in both our experience of the past and the present, and also amplifies the good in our social life. One way that gratitude amplifies the good is by amplifying the meaningfulness of events in our lives. In this way, gratitude may support a meaningful life. Because gratitude is one of the most important contributors to well-being, it is important to understand who might benefit most from gratitude. The research offers some surprising suggestions here, but can probably be summed up in this way: Those who need gratitude most benefit most from gratitude interventions. Often, however, those who most need gratitude do not see this need in their life. I conclude by attempting to offer a balanced perspective on gratitude: Although gratitude is not an easy path to happiness, nonetheless, it is a journey well worth the effort.

Learning Objectives

Those attending this keynote will understand:

  • The definition of gratitude
  • How gratitude is important to well-being
  • How gratitude amplifies the good in one’s life
  • How gratitude might be important to a meaningful life
  • Who benefits most from gratitude, and why

 

Pre-Conference Workshop | Exploring How Gratitude Promotes Human Flourishing and Meaning</p> <p>

The purpose of this workshop is to present current research on the relationship between gratitude and well-being, as well as describe gratitude interventions that may be used to enhance human flourishing. Of first importance is an understanding of the definition of gratitude, and I portray an understanding of gratitude at both the state and trait levels of analysis. Second, I present a balanced perspective on current research regarding the relationship between gratitude and well-being. This discussion will include an explanation of my amplification theory of gratitude. Implicit in this theory is an understanding of the psychological processes of appreciation, and I explore ways that we can enhance our understanding of this construct. Then, we will turn to discussing evidence-based interventions of experiencing and expressing gratitude, and how individuals and clinicians may use these exercises effectively. Research shows that gratitude is important to the good life; thus, it is important that we understand the psychological processes that inhibit and enhance gratitude. I will present recent research on this issue, with particular emphasis on the relationship between gratitude and joy. Finally, I will attempt to offer some perspective on gratitude, presenting a balanced approach to gratitude and its importance to a good and meaningful life.

Learning Objectives

Participants in this workshop will understand:

  • The definition of gratitude, at both the state and trait levels of analysis
  • The status of current research on the relationship between gratitude and well-being
  • How the amplification theory of gratitude helps us understand the relationship between gratitude and well-being, as well as the importance of understanding psychological processes related to appreciation
  • How gratitude enhances meaning, and how meaning enhances gratitude
  • Evidence-based gratitude interventions that enhance well-being
  • Psychological factors that enhance and inhibit gratitude

 Length: 3 hours

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Emmy van Deurzen, Ph.D.

Founder of the Society for Existential Analysis and Existential Analysis and Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Emmy van Deurzen, Ph.D. is a Philosopher, Counselling Psychologist, and Existential Psychotherapist. She founded the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at Regent’s University, the Society for Existential Analysis, and the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London, of which she continues to be Principal. She was the first chair of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and has chaired and directed many other organizations and institutions.

Her application of philosophical ideas to psychology, psychotherapy, counselling, and coaching has been instrumental in establishing the existential paradigm firmly in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and around the world. She lectures internationally, and her many books have been translated into well over a dozen languages.

She is visiting Professor with Middlesex University and has been a professor with Regent’s College, honorary professor with Sheffield University and Schiller International University, and a visiting fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Amongst her 16 books are the bestsellers Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling in Practice (3rd edition, Sage, 2012), Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness (Sage, 2009) and Everyday Mysteries (2nd edition, Routledge, 2010). The second edition of Paradox and Passion in Psychotherapy appeared with Wiley in 2015. Two further books are currently in press and at the editing stage.

Keynote | The Search for Existential Meaning

Details TBA.

Pre-Conference Workshop | Dream Work in Existential Therapy

This three-hour workshop will start with a brief overview of the existential methods that can be used for finding meaning in dreams. This will include a brief introduction to phenomenology and an overview of existential dream-work. Then, participants will be taught a pragmatic and systematic way of understanding dreams from an existential perspective, and they will work with each other in order to practice these. Finally, the facilitator will work on one of the participants’ dreams in a fish bowl format in front of the whole group to demonstrate the work more specifically.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to find existential meaning in dreams
  • Apply structural existential analysis to dream-work
  • Attain the capacity to derive meaning with the four worlds model
  • Have the basic ability to find emotional depth and meaning in dreams

Length: 3 hours

Meaning-Centered Interventions Summit

Details TBA.

Robert Neimeyer, Ph.D.

Eminent Professor of Psychology at the University of Memphis and Editor of Death Studies

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved and Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning (both with Routledge), and serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies. The author of nearly 500 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences. The recipient of the MISS Foundation’s Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity, Neimeyer served as Chair of the International Work Group for Death, Dying, & Bereavement and President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, made a Fellow of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Keynote | Imaginative Retelling: Reconstructing Meaning in Loss

The literal retelling of the hard reality of a violent death in an atmosphere of compassionate and responsive witnessing represents a core component of a Meaning Reconstruction approach to grief therapy. In this presentation, I discuss the possible role of imaginative retelling as a complementary intervention, in which stories of loss are artistically depicted, metaphorically expressed, therapeutically explored, and often socially shared in written or performed versions. In particular, I will focus on three contexts of this work that mitigate threat and promote the affirmation and reconstruction of meaning. I briefly summarize procedures to support this improvisational, creative activity, and discuss preliminary evidence of its impact.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Sketch three key components of restorative retelling interventions
  • Describe the procedures for using virtual dream stories with grieving clients
  • Discuss the three steps for implementing community retelling using principles of improvisational theatre
  • Summarize recent and ongoing research documenting the impact of these procedures

Pre-Conference Workshop | Grief Therapy and the Reconstruction of Meaning: A Practicum

Major loss, especially of key attachment figures in our lives, can shatter a world of meaning anchored in that relationship, and confront us with a deep sense of meaninglessness and existential loneliness. When such losses occur violently and traumatically, they can further undermine core constructs of predictability, benevolence, and control, greatly complicating, intensifying, and prolonging the emotional anguish into which we are thrown by our bereavement. Over the last dozen years, a great deal of research has confirmed these propositions, and suggested that the reconstruction of a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss should be a central goal in grief therapy.

But exactly how does this process unfold, in the concrete clinical context of real clients suffering real losses? This workshop addresses this question by presenting videos of two single-session therapies in their entirety, offering a close process analysis of each to reveal the therapist’s moment-to-moment reading of each client’s need and readiness to engage in specific meaning reconstruction tasks. Then, bridging from viewing to doing, participants are coached in applying these same skills in a dyadic practicum session with other workshop members. By alternating naturally between concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation, participants complete a full cycle of experiential learning and leave better prepared to practice the nuances of meaning-making in the wake of loss.

Morning Session

Guy: Integrating the Story of a Violent Death

Working with a father bereaved by the drowning of his young adult daughter, Neimeyer carefully negotiates safety for helping him revisit and retell the story of a horrific loss, integrating its painful meanings and images. Learners then practice retelling of difficult losses with coaching from Portland Institute faculty.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Utilize strategies for negotiating safety in revisiting a tragic loss without re-traumatizing the client
  • Identify markers of client need and readiness to engage the event story of the loss
  • Follow principles of bracing, pacing, and facing when using restorative retelling procedures to promote integration of traumatic bereavement

Afternoon Session

Lauren: The Loss of a Young Child

Reviewing with Lauren the residual pain of her young son’s death six years earlier, Neimeyer explores the existential, familial, and emotional impacts of the loss, and helps her review and revise the continuing bond with her child. Portland Institute faculty then coach participants as they practice visualization and transformation of related grief.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Distinguish between aspects of meaning-making in loss that bear on the event story of the death and the backstory of relationship
  • Track the evolution of the continuing bond with the deceased and its adaptive role in bereavement
  • Guide clients in analogical listening to the felt sense of their grief, and its transformation by invoking the presence of the loved one

Length: 6 hours

Meaning-Centered Interventions Summit

Details TBA.

Michael Bond, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Chinese University of Hong Kong and Visiting Professor of the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

To receive the 2018 INPM Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael H. Bond, Ph.D. is the Visiting Chair Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Throughout his 43-year career in Hong Kong, Michael Harris Bond (Ph.D., Stanford, 1970) has strived to present a clear, strong case for the Mainstream to answer through his collaborative research on both indigenous and imported cultural constructs. His current multicultural research and books on social psychology across cultures have introduced Chinese and other cultural logics using an integrated, pan-cultural model for understanding human interpersonal behavior. His ultimate concern is to apply our understanding about cultural differences to improve our working and living across cultural fault-lines in this 21st century.

Keynote | Perceived Satisfaction in Life to Date: For Whom — of What Personality Profile Living in What Type of Nation?

Satisfaction with one’s life to date may be regarded as a cognitive assessment of how well persons have accommodated themselves to the socialization demands in their current life space. Success in this accommodation will depend in part upon the personality resources that each person can bring to bear in the cultural niche into which they were thrown by the fatedness of their birth. We expect that the universally positive personality resources of extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability will be more strongly predictive of life satisfaction depending on the national culture of their socialization, defined in terms of the orthogonal, nation-level dimensions of Self-directedness vs Other-directedness and Civility vs Practicality elicited from the World Values Survey. We expect a greater impact of extroversion and lower impact of agreeableness for persons from Self-directed nations and a greater impact of conscientiousness and emotional stability for persons from Practical nations. Results from this analysis will inform theorizing about adaptive niches and well-being across representative populations around the world.

Learning Objectives

  • What is the nature of life satisfaction?
  • How do personality resources relate to a person’s achievement of life satisfaction?
  • Do certain personality resources show a stronger relationship to life satisfaction in different cultural settings?
  • How do cultural settings vary in terms of the goals for socializing children?
  • What are the relationships around the world between persons’ personality resources and their satisfaction with life?

 

Life Education Symposium

Details TBA.

Bruce Alexander, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Simon Fraser University and researcher in global drug addiction

To receive the 2018 INPM Lifetime Achievement Award

Bruce Alexander, Ph.D. has explored many corners of the addiction field since 1970. He has counselled hard-core heroin addicts from Vancouver’s darkest streets and prisons; conducted psychopharmacological research (the “Rat Park” experiments); collected qualitative information on cocaine use for the World Health Organization; studied the history of thinking about addiction by ancient philosophers and modern scholars; interviewed university students about their amazingly varied addictions; investigated the “temperance mentality” in several countries; and served on the Boards of Directors of NGOs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Dr. Alexander has published three books, Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs (University of Toronto Press, 1990), The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (Oxford University Press, 2008), and A History of Psychology in Western Civilization (Cambridge University Press, 2015, co-author Curt Shelton). Although he retired from university teaching as Professor Emeritus in 2005, Dr. Alexander continues to speak frequently in Canada and Europe. He posts many of his recent speeches on his website (www.brucekalexander.com). He was awarded the Sterling Prize for Controversy in 2007.

Keynote | Creating Healing Communities in a Toxic Society

Winds of change are buffeting the field of addiction. Both the moralistic view of addiction as wilful evil and the medical view of addiction as disease are being blown apart. A new understanding is emerging to take their place: Addiction is a way that lost people compensate for what is missing or meaningless in their own existences. This new understanding shows the need for drawing addicted people into healing communities of meaning and purpose. However, I fear that the new understanding is still overly focused on addicted individuals, and still underplays the foundational causes of mass addiction in a fragmented world. I will explore the causes of ever-spreading addiction in the modern age historically, and explain why I think healing communities can be improved by enlisting them in the pursuit of fundamental social change. This view was almost unthinkable a half-century ago, but has now been discussed by inspired thinkers as disparate as Vaclav Havel and Pope Francis.

Learning Objectives

Participants will understand:

  • The historical links between modernity, social fragmentation, and personal dislocation
  • The link between mass dislocation and an addicted society
  • The extreme difficulties that a fragmented society creates for a healing community
  • The recent history of healing communities that both support community members and contribute to the reintegration of a fragmented society
  • Vaclav Havel’s idea of the revolutionary power of “living within the truth”

 

Pre-Conference Workshop | Opioid Crisis Workshop: The Meaning of Opioids in a World of Pain

Fifty years ago, heroin had a terrifying, demonic meaning. It was seen as a demon-drug that gave foolish pleasure-seekers a taste of bliss, but left them with a life-long craving for unachievable euphoria. In more recent, neuroscience versions of this old demon story, heroin was said to “flip a switch in the brain.” But five decades of research have undermined this simplistic old story. We now have much more complete stories to explain opioid addiction (Alexander, 2008/2010; Maté, 2008; Wong, 2013).

But what new meaning for heroin and other opioid drugs will emerge from these more complete stories? Can a new meaning slow the still-rising tide of addiction and opioid overdose? This workshop provides a space to examine evidence about heroin at some length, and to compare the range of meanings that it has for workshop participants. We could hope to uncover the most useful meaning for opioid drugs in today’s painfully fragmented society.

Learning Objectives

Participants will understand:

  • The “old story” of demon possession regarding opioid drugs
  • The “new stories” of opioid drug addiction as told by Alexander, Maté, Wong, and other recent thinkers
  • What has blown the old story apart
  • The meaning of opioid drugs that can be derived from the “new stories”
  • Ways in which the new meanings of opioid drugs might help to slow the steady spread of addiction and the current overdose crisis

 Length: 3 hours

Meaning-Centered Interventions Summit

Details TBA.

Itai Ivtzan, Ph.D.

Positive psychologist, senior lecturer, and program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London

Itai Ivtzan, Ph.D. is passionate about the combination of psychology and spirituality. He is a positive psychologist, a senior lecturer, and the program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL). He published several books, as well as many journal papers and book chapters. His main interests are positive psychology, mindfulness, and spirituality. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Ivtzan has run seminars, lectures, workshops and retreats in the UK and around the world, in various educational institutions and at private events. He is a regular keynote speaker in conferences. If you wish to get additional information about his work or contact him, please visit www.AwarenessIsFreedom.com.

Keynote: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Tim Lomas, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Positive Psychology at the University of East London and author of Second Wave Positive Psychology

Tim Lomas, Ph.D. has been a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London since April 2013. Tim completed his Ph.D. at the University of Westminster in 2012, where his thesis focused on the impact of meditation on men’s mental health. Since 2013, Dr. Lomas has published numerous papers and books on topics including positive psychology theory, mindfulness, Buddhism, linguistics, and gender. His work has been featured in articles in prominent publications including Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Psychologist, and The Times. His current main area of research involves creating a lexicography of untranslatable words relating to wellbeing (please visit www.drtimlomas.com/lexicography for the latest on the project).

Keynote | The Dialectics of Wellbeing

Positive psychology has tended to be defined in terms of a concern with “positive” psychological qualities and states. However, critics have highlighted various problems inherent in classifying phenomena as either positive or negative. For instance, positively-valenced qualities can sometimes be detrimental to wellbeing, whereas negatively-valenced processes may at times be conducive to it. As such, a more nuanced “second wave” has been germinating, which explores the philosophical and conceptual complexities of the very idea of the positive. This talk introduces this emergent second wave by examining the ways in which the field is developing a subtler understanding of the dialectical nature of flourishing (i.e., involving a complex and dynamic interplay of positive and negative experiences). The talk does so by problematizing the notions of positive and negative in relation to various emotional processes, thereby reflecting the kind of dialectical thinking that characterises this second wave.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the notion of dialectics
  • Apply this dialectical understanding to the phenomenon of wellbeing
  • Critically appraise the dynamics of various emotional states
  • Appreciate the value of a “second wave” approach

 

Pre-Conference Workshop | The Significance of Ambivalent Emotions

Although wellbeing tends to be associated with positive affect, on closer inspection it also involves emotions that are best characterised as ambivalent. A recent analysis by the presenter—drawing on so-called untranslatable words—identified five main categories of ambivalent emotions that can be seen as connected to wellbeing: hope, longing, pathos, appreciation of imperfection, and sensitivity to mystery. The workshop will explore these five categories through reflective discussions and activities, in which participants will be invited to consider experiences of these emotions in their own lives, and to reflect on their importance in relation to flourishing and fulfilment. The session aims to facilitate a more expansive conception and experience of wellbeing, going beyond an exclusive identification with positively-valenced emotions to incorporate more complex and ambivalent processes.

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the phenomenon of ambivalent emotions
  • Understand how such emotions are connected to wellbeing
  • Situate these emotions in the context of one’s own life
  • Delve into such emotions through reflective discussions and activities

Length: 3 hours

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Chris Corrigan

Facilitator, strategist, system thinker, and coach for organizations, communities, and teams based in Vancouver, Canada

Chris Corrigan

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Keynote: TBA

Details TBA.

Pre-Conference Workshop: TBA

Details TBA.

Work and Meaning Symposium

Details TBA.

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D.

Founder of Meaning Therapy and the International Network on Personal Meaning, and Emeritus Professor of Trent University

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych. is Professor Emeritus of Trent University and Adjunct Professor at Saybrook University. He is a Fellow of the APA and the CPA, and President of the International Network on Personal Meaning and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. Editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, he has also edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning. A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists. The originator of Meaning Therapy and International Meaning Conferences, he has been invited to give keynotes and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of Carl Rogers Award from Div.32 of the APA and a member of a research group on Virtue, Meaning, and Happiness which received a major research grant from the Templeton Foundation.

Keynote: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Invited Speakers

Veronika Huta, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa

Student Scholarship Content Adjudicator

Veronika Huta, Ph.D. is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. She conducts research comparing eudaimonic versus hedonic ways of living. Theoretically, she works on developing an integrated model of the eudaimonia-hedonia distinction in the domains of well-being orientations, behaviors, experiences, and functioning. She also conducts empirical and conceptual work on the subjective experiences of meaning, elevation, inspiration, awe, transcendence, and self-connectedness. She teaches courses in advanced statistics and positive psychology, and is one of the top-rated instructors in her faculty. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Happiness Studies, and Psychology of Well-being. She co-founded the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, co-organized the first cross-disciplinary conference on eudaimonia, and has recently been interviewed for a book on the world’s leading positive psychologists.

Student Scholarship Contest Adjudicator.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Invited Talk: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Roger Tweed, Ph.D.

Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Student Scholarship Content Adjudicator

Roger Tweed, Ph.D. is a faculty member at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, Canada. He received his PhD in social psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2000. His research has explored the relevance of positive psychology to social problems including youth violence and homelessness.

Student Scholarship Contest Adjudicator.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Invited Talk: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Piers Worth, Ph.D.

Reader (Associate Professor) at Bucks New University

Student Scholarship Content Adjudicator

Piers Worth, Ph.D. is a ‘Reader’ (Associate Professor) at Bucks New University. He is a Charted Psychologist and accredited psychotherapist. Piers’ Ph.D. research focused on how creativity changes as we age, and how it may support positive ageing. Piers wrote and launched the University’s MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme which is now in its fourth year. He co-authored the ‘Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life’ book that was published in November 2015. Piers is of the view that positive psychology and ‘second wave positive psychology’ perspectives combined with it represent hugely exciting opportunities for teaching and researching psychology.

His research and writing focus at the present time is on subjects and applications that may broaden the base of positive psychology, such as restorative justice, and the training of medical staff specialists in different disciplines. Piers’ teaching is exploring how theories of Carl Rogers support and even amplify some of the affects found in learning positive psychology; and how appreciative inquiry may be taught and used with positive psychology. Prior to this part of his career, Piers worked for over 35 years in industry and blue chip companies, and for 20 years as an organisation development consultant. He was work and project experience in 17 countries.

Student Scholarship Contest Adjudicator.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Invited Talk: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Joel Vos, Ph.D.

Reader (Associate Professor) of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton

Joel Vos, Ph.D. is Reader (cf. Associate Professor) in Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton in London, UK. He studied clinical and health psychology and philosophy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, all focusing at existentialism. His masters’ theses addressed the existential impact of immigration on the lives of immigrants. At the same university, he continued with a PhD study on the subjective interpretation, existential processes, psychological impact, family communication and medical decision-making of cancer patients who underwent DNA-testing to examine the heredity of their disease. Subsequently, the Dutch Cancer Society awarded him a grant to develop a meaning-centered group therapy for cancer survivors at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In the meantime, Dr Vos started to develop existential psychometric instruments, and together with others he conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses on existential therapies. His academic research has always been fed by the rich contribution of his clients in his psychology practice as meaning-centered therapist, and by the inspiration of his students.

In the summer of 2013, Dr Vos decided to make a meaningful decision, namely to continue his research at the other side of the North Sea and to build a new life in the UK. At the University of Roehampton, he is coordinating research on existential therapies, and on meaning-centered therapies more in particular, in close collaboration with mental health services. Together with his doctorate students, he coordinates clinical trials for patients in palliative care, living with cancer, after a heart attack or stroke, and in chronic pain. His professional focus on meaning is also reflected in his work as consultant to political activist groups, such as organising conferences for activists and academics e.g. ‘How to do it: creating bottom-up political participation’ and founding ActivistWiki.net. Dr Vos has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters in handbooks, and a book on the psychological-existential impact of genetic counselling. His book ‘Meaning in life: a guide for practitioners’ will be published by the end of 2016, which will be followed in 2017 by the book ‘Surviving capitalism: ten steps to living a meaningful life in a meaningless system’.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Pre-Conference Workshop: TBA

Details TBA.

Invited Talk: TBA

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Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit: Moderator

Details TBA.

Eileen Dowse, Ph.D.

Organizational Psychologist, President of Human Dynamics, and award-winning author of The Naked Manager: How to Build Open Relationships at Work

Eileen Dowse, Ph.D.

Stay tuned for more information in the new year!

Pre-Conference Workshop: TBA

Details TBA.

Invited Talk: TBA

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Work and Meaning Symposium

Details TBA.

Yannick Jacob, M.A., M.Sc.

Programme Leader of MSc Coaching Psychology and Personal Coach

Yannick Jacob, M.A., M.Sc. is an existential coach (MA), positive psychologist (MSc), coach trainer and supervisor (Animas), Programme Leader of the MSc Coaching Psychology (UEL), mediator (Regent’s College), and personal consultant (PWBC) passionate about helping people grow by exploring the various facets of their existence in more depth. Yannick’s aim is to inspire those he meets and works with to live more courageously, think more deeply, and embrace the whole spectrum of what life and business have to offer. Yannick has worked with a wide range of clients as well as trained and supervised hundreds of coaches at a number of institutions. Born in Germany and based in London (UK), Yannick works internationally to deliver coaching as well as resilience training for those in “positions of great responsibility” (typically leaders and managers) as well as personal and social development programmes for schools and charities.

Pre-Conference Workshop | Happiness Meets Dread: An Introduction to Positive Existential Coaching as a Means to Living a Meaningful Existence

What is the meaning of life? How can I live in ways that are meaningful to me? How can I make the best of my time on this planet? Answers to these questions tend to involve being happy, healthy, and making the most out of life. Yet these desires are often in conflict with the existential givens of human existence. A new understanding of happiness is needed in order to live “happily-ever-after” without the use of self-deception.

Positive Existential Coaching emerged from an appreciation of these three basic human needs (to be alive and happy with a sense of agency). At its core, it draws on the conceptualizations of happiness from the science of positive psychology, a philosophical exploration of the human condition, and the potential of coaching to enable clients to see themselves as they really are and empower them to live their lives in the best way possible.

This workshop offers a positive perspective on existential ideas and how these could be applied in the coaching room.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop an awareness of the big questions in life and how they underlie what clients bring into the coaching space
  • Introduce the basic tenets of positive existentialism
  • Understand how positive psychology and existential philosophy can contribute to powerful coaching practice
  • Provide coaches with practical ways of integrating elements of Positive Existential Coaching into their existing practice
  • Witness and discuss a demonstration of Positive Existential Coaching

Length: 3 hours

Meaning-Centered Interventions Summit

Details TBA.

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D.

Researcher at the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa and the Maytiv Center for Research and Practice in Positive Psychology at the School of Psychology in the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D. is a researcher and lecturer at the department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Haifa. She is a logotherapist (Diplomate Clinician), the head of the academic training program for logotherapy at Tel-Aviv university, and the chairperson of the Logotherapy Association in Israel. She is passionate about building bridges—between disciplines and between theory and “real life” practice, in therapy, organizations, communities, and education throughout the lifespan. She is especially keen about creating a synergistic integration between the fields of positive psychology, spirituality, existential psychology, and logotherapy (meaning-oriented psychotherapy), which she believes allows for a more holistic view of human growth and development than any one of these separately. Her main research and practice interests focus on meaning in life, positive psychology, spirituality and spiritual development, positive change, and growth.

Dr. Russo-Netzer serves as academic advisor and consultant to both academic and non-academic institutions, conducts seminars and workshops, and develops training programs and curricula for various organizations on positive psychology, logotherapy, leadership, meaning in life, resilience and spirituality. She is the co-editor of the books Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology (Springer, 2014), Clinical Perspectives on Meaning: Positive and Existential Psychotherapy (Springer, 2016) and Search for Meaning in the Israeli scene (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Pre-Conference Workshop | Meaning and the Appointment in Samarra (with Michael F. Steger, Ph.D.)

“The meaning of human existence is based upon its irreversible quality. An individual’s responsibility in life must therefore be understood in terms of temporality and singularity.” — Viktor Frankl

The existentialist Albert Camus remarked that the central problem of philosophy was composing a reason any of us should want to resist death and remain alive. In this somewhat bleak worldview, the permanence, irreversibility, and inevitability of death may render our human lives pointless and moot. But it isn’t the concept of death that scares us as much as the notion that we might reach the end of our life and then realize that we haven’t truly lived. Meaning often has been positioned as an antidote for our fears of death and annihilation. The popular scholarly subfield of Terror Management Theory argues that meaning can insulate us from this “existential terror,” and P. T. P. Wong, logotherapy, and others have promoted a healthy acceptance of death to be central to flourishing. This workshop explores what research shows about the relations among meaning, attitudes toward death, and flourishing. Further, this workshop invites attendees to engage in experiential explorations of how meaning awareness may both benefit from meaning and support it.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how death has been discussed in psychology and meaning studies
  • Learn empirical findings regarding relations among death attitudes, meaning, and flourishing
  • Practice experiential activities designed to create insight regarding death attitudes and to utilize death as a potential source of meaning
  • Explore the idea of “tragic optimism” to illuminate the art of living, through Frankl’s three pathways to meaning (experiential, creative, and attitudinal)
  • Share personal views on death in a supportive environment to facilitate self-discovery and meaning-seeking

 Length: 3 hours

Invited Talk: TBA

Details TBA.

Second Wave Positive Psychology Summit

Details TBA.

Kathy Story, M.A., J.D.

Owner of Story Consulting and Coaching and former co-director of the Leadership Institute in Judicial Education

Kathy Story, M.A., J.D., is an educator, facilitator, coach, and consultant with over 30 years experience in education, law, and counseling. She works with individuals, professional groups, and organizations to improve practice and satisfaction in their professions. She designs and delivers leadership institutes and faculty development workshops and has been an invited speaker at numerous national conferences. She regularly presents workshops on emotional intelligence, adult education, resilience, and immunity to change.

Kathy began her professional career in student affairs with positions in career counseling and academic advising. After returning to law school, she clerked for a federal appellate court judge, was in private practice as a commercial litigator, and served as legal advisor in student affairs at a major public university. She has taught graduate courses at three institutions, served in administrative capacities at four major universities, provided leadership development programs to health care administrators and corporate executives, and co-directed the Leadership Institute in Judicial Education, a federally-funded professional development program for judges and court administrators.

Kathy has a master’s degree in educational psychology/counseling from the University of Nebraska and a law degree from the University of Memphis. She is a trained facilitator for the University of Pennsylvania Resilience Program, a certified facilitator for the Immunity to Change Exercise developed at Harvard University, and a certified consultant for the EQ in Action Profile. She is also a career coach, and her attorney-coaching program was the first approved for CLE Credit in Tennessee/USA.

Workshop | Immunity to Change: When Core Meanings Impede Our Best Intentions

This experiential workshop is based on the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahy at Harvard University. We will use their Four Column Exercise to examine our attempts at personal and professional change, including our commitments to change, specific behaviors that get in the way of our commitments, our hidden competing commitments that hold those behaviors in place, and our Big Assumptions (core meanings) that prevent us from achieving the change we seek.  Participants will reveal their own immunity to change system, and develop an action plan for examining and surmounting their Big Assumption. Implications for the Four Column Exercise in therapy and coaching will be explored.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain the Immunity to Change model of Kegan and Lahy
  • Apply the model to their own efforts of bringing about change in their own lives
  • Develop an action plan to examine their own Big Assumptions or core meanings that prevent them from achieving change
  • Describe the difference between Adaptive Change and Technical Change
  • Decide if the Four Column Exercise would be appropriate for their educational, therapy or coaching practices

Length: 2 hours