The 3rd Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology

Exhilarate 2016
Wednesday 15/06 - Friday 17/06/2016
Pre-Conference Workshops

Mindfulness- Based Strengths Practice (MBSP) for Practitioners 

Ryan Niemiec 

June 15th 9:00am to 5:00pm 

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 ( and bring their rank-order results to the workshop. Although not required, participants are encouraged to purchase the book Mindfulness 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. 

How to Identify and Pursue the Most Meaningful Goals with Grit 

Caroline Adams Miller 

June 15th 9:00am to 12:30pm 

Studies have found the happiest people are those who wake up every day to clear-cut goals that provide their lives with meaning and purpose. Their goals are usually quite difficult; however, they don’t quit or make excuses. Instead, they rely on the characteristic of “grit” to overcome and thrive. Grit is defined as “passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.” In this session, positive psychology expert Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP shares her unique, comprehensive and evidence-based approach to helping you create and accomplish any goal on your list. You will learn the power of goal setting and grit to drive happiness and success in your professional and personal life.  

After attending this session, you will be able to: 

- Set learning and performance goals – and why each matters, as well as the most common mistakes that derail almost everybody 

- Identify your “web of influence” and know who should and should not be in it 

- Start using the environment to trigger positive habits and goal success 

- Cultivate grit in yourself and use it as your “secret to success” 

Applied Positive Psychology for Therapists and Coaches an Integrative Framework 

Margarita Tarragona 

June 15th 9:00am to 12:30pm 

How can therapists and coaches apply positive psychology in their work? The field has grown so fast and it is so broad that it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. This workshop offers a map, based on the idea that Positive Psychology encompasses a range of conceptual categories: from a theoretical critique of a field, a philosophical perspective, a rich body of research findings on wellbeing, to a variety of specific activities and behaviors that people can implement to flourish and lead fuller lives. These various categories or logical levels have different implications in terms of how positive psychology can be used by helping professionals. 

This theoretical and experiential workshop offers therapists, counselors, coaches and other professionals a framework to organize the different ways in which they can incorporate positive psychology in their practice. During our time together, we will strive to create a collaborative learning environment in which we will engage in individual and small group activities. Participants will work with case vignettes, explore and share how they are currently using positive psychology in their practice and play a game to generate positive psychology resources for themselves and the group. 

Positive Education: Thriving students and flourishing schools 

Lea Waters 

June 15th 9:00am to 12:30pm 

The field of positive education has gained considerable momentum both in terms of its science and practice. Professor Lea Waters will share her experience of implementing positive education with over 100 schools in countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, China and Europe. The workshop will be a combination of lecture, reflection and small group discussion and will follow a science-practitioner approach. We will look at resources and frameworks that can be applied to assist your school. 

Create a Healthy Organizational Climate AND Increase Your R.O.E. (Return On Energy) One AMP (Appreciative Micro Practice) at a Time 

Maureen McKenna 

June 15th 9:00am to 12:30pm 

An introduction to Practical Applications of Appreciative Inquiry with Maureen (Mo) McKenna 

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. 

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

Shannon Polly 

June 15th 1:30pm to 5:00PM 

A Somatic Approach to Coaching. Shannon Polly, MAPP, ACC 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. 

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

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya 

June 15th 1:30pm to 5:00PM 

“Just because you’re not depressed doesn’t mean you’re 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. 

A Mindful Approach for Educator Well- Being 

Heidi Bornstein and Stephen Chadwick 

June 15th 1:30pm to 5:00PM 

This experiential workshop is offered to educators and professional support staff who wish to cultivate resilience and wellbeing in their own lives and contribute to creating an emotionally balanced and more compassionate classroom and school environment. 

Why do educators feel stressed? No matter what subject area or age group you teach, you’re probably trying to do all or most of these things simultaneously: 

  • Balancing the needs and interests of individual students and the class as a whole
  • Meeting curriculum objectives for a students with varied abilities 
  • Dealing with administrators, parents, and/or sponsors who may have conflicting ideas about how and what you should be teaching 
  • Meeting the ever increasing demands of students with limited resources in the educational system 
  • Maintaining work-life balance 
  • The intention is to help educators: 
  • Experience various mindful practices: body and breath meditations, mindful movement/yoga exercises, and discussion. 
  • Explore foundational mindfulness concepts and the attitudes that support mindfulness. 
  • Apply mindful awareness in both personal and professional life. 
  • Review resources to learn more about mindfulness and its applications in education. 
  • Discover self-compassion practices that help prevent burnout. 
  • Practice mindful self-care. 

Developing Positive Leadership Practices 

Kim Cameron 

June 15th 1:30pm to 5:00PM 

This workshop focuses on positive leadership and the practices that help organizations achieve extraordinarily successful performance. The objective is to provide attendees with empirically-based, theoretically-grounded, yet practical tools and practices that can help guide leaders in their organizations. The workshop will introduce examples of leaders and organizations that have achieved extraordinarily successful performance by implementing positive leadership practices. We will also briefly summarize some empirical studies that verify the importance of positive leadership practices in predicting performance. The majority of the time, however, will be spent involving ourselves in applying two or three positive leadership practices—facilitating positive energy networks, implementing a personal management interview process, and transforming organizational culture.