Exhilarate 2016 (FR)

The 3rd Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology

Pre-Conference Workshops

Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP) for Practitioners

Dr. Ryan Niemiec

Dr. Ryan Niemiec’s work integrating mindfulness and character strengths has been described by meditation luminaries and positive psychology leaders as “a remarkable contribution to the field of transformation and awakening,” “a nuanced articulation of the principles and practice of mindfulness,” “a pioneering model for understanding character strengths,” and as “practical, effective, and inspiring.” 

The science of mindfulness is voluminous, increasing twentyfold since 2000; the science of character strengths has similarly exploded in the last decade with the advent of the VIA Classification and VIA Survey, now taken by over 3 million people across every country around the globe and accumulating over 250 peer-review publications in a short time. As both areas capture the interest and excitement of practitioners from the fields of coaching, psychology/counseling, education, and business, practitioners are attempting to navigate these territories and apply this work. These research literatures illuminate important practices. 

Followed by a primer on the concepts and research of mindfulness and character strengths, Ryan will weave together the perennial wisdom and science of mindfulness with the modern science and practice of character strengths. Essential concepts and practices from Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), a manualized program that integrates best research and practices from these two areas, will be discussed. While the majority of mindfulness approaches and programs that have been studied deal with managing a problem or psychological disorder, MBSP offers a fresh approach that targets what is best in people and helps individuals catalyze those qualities to manage problems, build positive relationships, and to thrive. MBSP has been piloted with success across multiple cultures and adaptations for specific populations are being developed.

This interactive workshop will integrate dyad work, small group discussions, didactics, mindfulness/strengths exercises, meditations, and handouts. A novel, mindful eating experience will be offered during the lunch period. Both beginner and advanced participants in mindfulness/character strengths will find many new ideas, research snippets, and practices that can be immediately applied. Tips for those interested in leading MBSP will be offered. Prior to the workshop, participants are asked to take the free, online VIA Survey (www.viacharacter.org) and bring their rank-order results to the workshop. Although not required, participants are encouraged to purchase the booMindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing (Niemiec, 2014), which comes with a 10-track CD, and is available in paper or e-book formats.

Vitality: Optimal Health and the PERMA-V Model of Flourishing

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, MAPP

"Just because you're not depressed doesn't mean your happy," is a slogan that launched the field of 
positive psychology.  Similarly, "Just because you're not sick doesn't mean you're healthy," is the motto of 
mind-body medicine. In this workshop, these two worlds collide as we uncover the sixth pillar of 
flourishing: Vitality.  Learn about the PERMA-V model and the self-care practices that enable people to 
pursue optimal health. Explore the foundation of vitality in sleep, physical activity and nutrition, and 
peruse lesser known concepts such as breathing, connective tissue, touch, body mechanics, the 
relaxation response and nature.  We'll uncover the biological underpinnings of the mind-body connection 
in each domain of vitality.  From squatty potties and pop-up stand up desks, to probiotics and specific 
movements that build fascial fitness, you will leave this workshop with tools and daily hacks that will 
enable you to support yourself and others in physically flourishing. 


Emiliya Zhivotovskaya was amongst the first 70 people in the world to earn a Master’s Degree in Positive 
Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania.  She holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) 
accreditation through the International Coaching Federation.  She is a speaker, coach, consultant and an 
experiential learning curator. She is the founder of The Flourishing Center, a Benefit Corporation (BCorp) 
based in New York City. She is the creator of the Certification in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) 
Program, which is now being offered in 7 cities across North America and creator of the Continuing 
Education in Positive Psychology (CEPP) program offered worldwide. Emiliya has over 700 hours of 
training in yoga teaching, as well as other complimentary alternative approaches to well-being including 
biofeedback, Thai massage, Reiki, intenSati and more. She is the former Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) 
for HappCo, a mobile technology company focusing on increasing well-being. Currently, she is working 
on her PhD in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University, where she is also an adjunct faculty member.  
Emiliya is also on faculty at The Good Life Project, a global education and support community for 
individuals and organizations on a mission to live well and give well.  Prior to her career in well-being and 
flourishing, Emiliya spent 12 years as a party entertainer. She brings her strengths of energizing and 
motivating into her work as an edu-tainer specializing in delighting people while empowering them.

Appreciative Inquiry & Acting "As If" – A Somatic Approach to Coaching

Shannon Polly, MAPP, ACC

Shannon will draw heavily from the new book she co-edited, Character Strengths Matter:  How to Live a Full Life in this interactive session regarding a somatic approach to coaching.  She will present the science behind appreciative inquiry (AI) and the acting ‘as if’ techniques.  Then participants will be able to experientially try on new ‘personas’ as they might ask their clients to do using monologs and speeches.  The workshop will be accompanied by a detailed workbook and a discount offer for Character Strengths Matter.

Create a Healthy Organizational Climate AND Increase Your R.O.E.(Return On Energy) One AMP (Appreciative Micro Practice) at a Time.   An introduction to Practical Applications of Appreciative Inquiry 

Maureen (Mo) McKenna, CMC 

“As people come together to accomplish ‘doing good’ out there—that is, concentrating and connecting their strengths in the service of building a better organisation, or city or world—they too begin to activate the PERMA mechanisms for their own and others’ flourishing.”

Do you want to learn about Appreciative Inquiry (AI) AND discover how to access healthy renewable energy in your organization or community?  Have you been incorporating AI into the work you do, and want to learn more about how to weave practical applications into every day actions?  Perhaps you are only now learning how AI can support Positive Psychology at the organizational level.   If you can say ‘yes’ to any of these questions - this is the workshop for you! Join Maureen (Mo) McKenna a leading Canadian AI facilitator, in a highly experiential approach of learning about practical ways to weave the principals and methodologies of AI into your work and your life. AI focuses on what is working well by engaging people in asking questions and story-telling. As well as a process for facilitating positive change, it is a way of being and seeing the world every day. AI begins by identifying the positive core of any system and connecting to it in ways that heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change. The focus for our inquiry will be discovering the positive core of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA) and together dream about how we can help all Canadians to flourish. You will walk away from this workshop with the energy and confidence and:

- Understanding of the principles and assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry;

- Knowledge on how to create practical applications of Appreciative Inquiry to help create positive human energy within their organizations / communities;

- Three techniques that will help to weave appreciative inquiry into their work.“Passionate, positive human energy can provide a counterbalance to the disruptive negative forces of an age of unprecedented change. Through it comes confidence, inspiration and the power to transform.


Maureen (Mo) McKenna, CMC is a co-founder of Innovation Works. She is a dynamic and innovative facilitator, speaker, learning partner and business coach. She has more than 20 years of experience in organizational effectiveness, change leadership, facilitated learning design and delivery. Her current focus is the emerging field of Dialogic Organizational Development. 

Maureen has extensive expertise in strengths-based approaches to strategic planning, team building, large-scale engagement through community consultations and employee engagement. Before embarking on her consulting career, she held management roles in manufacturing, quality, and human resources at Xerox Canada, and brings a wealth of practical experience to client engagements. Maureen is well respected by her clients for her ability to challenge their mental models, helping them to successfully reframe from traditional problem solving to focusing on their strengths to create innovative and sustainable solutions. As a “learning partner” with clients and colleagues, Maureen mentors them to achieve extraordinary results.  She is a leader in Canada in the field Appreciative Inquiry.