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Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania

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1 Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania
Positive Psychology in Schools: Promoting Student Resilience, Optimism, and Achievement Karen Reivich, Ph.D. Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania

2 Agenda Introduction Brief history of the Penn Resiliency Program
Description of 5 Ingredients of Fishful Thinking Resilience Emotional Awareness Optimism Empowerment Hope/Goal Setting Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 2 2

3 How I got here… I loved Frog and Toad
I wanted to prevent depression in youth I became a mother I wanted my children to know and live what is right with them Now, I get to spread the word with Fishful Thinking! (www.fishfulthinking.com) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

4 The Supermarket Test What do you want for yourself and your children?
What I don’t hear: fewer symptoms of depression less underachievement fewer experiences of folding under pressure (But this is what the field of psychology has studied.) What I hear: Happiness, Health, Strong Relationships, Success! Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

5 Positive Psychology Positive Psychology studies what enables children (and adults) to have lives rich in: Positive emotion Engagement Meaning Positive Psychology asks the question: What is right with you? Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

6 The Penn Resilience Project
The Penn Resiliency Project (PRP) Research Group Jane Gillham Karen Reivich Martin Seligman Research funded by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant MH52270 Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 6 6

7 Depression: Associated Difficulties
Depression and high levels of depressive symptoms are linked to: Poor academic achievement Interpersonal difficulties, isolation from peers Anxiety Conduct (behavioral) problems Substance abuse Teenage pregnancy Suicide Physical health problems Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. . 7

8 The Penn Resiliency Program
School-based group intervention For late elementary & middle school students (5th-8th grade) Based on CBT and social problem-solving techniques Twelve minute sessions Modular Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 8

9 PRP: Cognitive Component
Link between thoughts and feelings/actions Identifying thinking styles Examining alternatives & evidence for interpretations Challenging negative beliefs in real time Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 9

10 PRP: Problem-Solving and Coping Skills
Assertiveness Negotiation Decision making Coping Emotion Control Relaxation Distraction (Changing the Channel) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 10

11 Meta-analysis of PRP (Brunwasser et al., 2008)
Comprehensive review of all published & unpublished PRP studies Found 19 controlled studies of PRP 17 examined effects on depressive symptoms 15 examined cognitive style (pessimistic explanatory style, hopelessness, negative automatic thoughts) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 11

12 Meta-analysis of PRP (Brunwasser et al., 2008)
Cognitive Style Significant benefit of PRP (relative to control) at all assessments examined – for 12 months after the intervention Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 12

13 Meta-analysis of PRP (Brunwasser et al., 2008)
Depression Findings Significant benefit of PRP (relative to control) at all assessments examined, for 12 months after the intervention PRP equally effective when delivered as targeted intervention (to high risk adolescents) versus as a universal intervention (to all children who sign up) PRP equally effective when delivered by research team members and by teachers, counselors, and other community providers Note: Most teachers, counselors, & community providers received extensive training in PRP Other findings suggest PRP not as effective without this training Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 13

14 PRP + Parent Program: Depressive Symptoms (Gillham, Reivich, et al
PRP + Parent Program: Depressive Symptoms (Gillham, Reivich, et al., 2006) % with Moderate to Severe Depressive Symptoms (CDI > 15) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 14

15 PRP + Parent Program Pilot: Anxiety Symptoms (Gillham, Reivich, et al
PRP + Parent Program Pilot: Anxiety Symptoms (Gillham, Reivich, et al., 2006) % with High Anxiety (RCMAS > 19) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. . 15

16 PRP Effectiveness Study: Behavior Problems (Gillham, Reivich, et al
PRP Effectiveness Study: Behavior Problems (Gillham, Reivich, et al., 2006) Externalizing symptoms (on the CBCL) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. . 16

17 How our view of Resilience Programs has changed
In the beginning… Now… Depression Prevention Building & promoting resilience (broadly) Children at risk All children Targeting risk factors Teaching adaptive skills that help in many areas of life Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 17

18 The 5 Pillars of Fishful Thinking
Resilience: Bounce Back Optimism: Think Positive Emotion Awareness: Know Yourself Empowerment: Believe “I can” Hope/Goal Setting: Reach Goals Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

19 Fishful Thinking Ingredients: Resilience
Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 19

20 Resilience: Bounce not Break
Resilience is comprised of a set of characteristics, abilities, and resources that enable the achievement of positive outcomes despite exposure to significant threat or adversity. Resilience enables you to overcome adversity, cope with stress, and bounce back from setbacks so that you can achieve your goals. Add tennis ball/egg images Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 20

21 Resilience Overview MYTH TRUTH Don’t show emotion Feel it and share it
It’s all about the individual It’s about the self with others Act fast and be decisive Uncertainty and doubt are allowed Accomplish superhuman feats Reach developmental milestones Grace under fire Muddling through One size fits all Find your best fit Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 21

22 Critical for resilience:
Trusting, abiding relationships Self-awareness (think, feel, do) Self regulation Flexibility in thinking and behavior Optimism/hope/faith Knowing and using one’s strengths, talents and skills Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

23 Cultivating Resilience in Students: Positive Frustration
Resilience requires self-regulation and learning how to manage frustration is critical. Coping with Frustration Rituals: Develop a ritual to help students cope with frustration such as “shake off the frustration” dance, calming mantra, relaxation strategies Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

24 Cultivating Resilience in Students
“How we did it” journal: Keep a classroom “How we did it” journal where students record the strategies they used to meet challenges. By focusing on strategies, you’re helping students learn what his/her strengths and skills are. How we did it! I joined a group – even though I was scared to -- by making eye contact, asking questions and looking interested. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

25 Fishful Thinking Ingredients: Optimism
Optimistic thinking is critical for physical and mental health, productivity, performance, overall well-being. Optimism is a way of thinking. Optimism is a skill. Optimism can be learned. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 25

26 Critical for Optimism Focusing on the positive
Identifying what is controllable Believing in good outcomes Constrained by reality Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

27 Optimism Matters: Compared to pessimistic thinkers, optimistic thinkers: Are happier and have less depression Are more resilient Are healthier (fewer illnesses, faster recovery) Live longer Do better in sports, perform better under pressure Do better in school (higher GPAs) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

28 How does optimism do all that?
Focus on solutions when change is possible; use acceptance and humor when it is not Greater accuracy regarding control Have more and stronger social support Take better care of themselves Less likely to deny and avoid problems Try new strategies when current ones aren’t working Learn from failure and find meaning in setback Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

29 Unbridled versus Healthy Optimism
Unbridled Optimism Healthy Optimism Limitless Wed to reality Denies the bad Sees it all and focuses on the positive If I can dream it, I can be it Dreams connected to strengths, talents, skills Blames others Accepts appropriate responsibility Built on false praise Built on accurate praise Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 29

30 Cultivating Optimism in our Kids:
Silver Lining Games: The goal of these activities is to help children find positive meaning in a negative event. I don't like that we lost the game. We did some things well, though. One thing that the team did well was ___________. I wish all our shots had scored. One great shot was ___________. I wish I didn't mess up at all. I did do this really well in the game: ___________. One thing our team didn't do well today that we can work on is ____________. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

31 Cultivating Optimism: Overcoming Negative Self-Talk:
Quieting the inner-critic through Real-time Resilience That’s not completely true because… A more accurate way of seeing this is… The most likely outcome is…and I can… Common mistakes made while learning skill: Dismissing the grain of truth Minimizing the situation Rationalizing or excusing one’s contribution to a problem Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

32 Fishful Thinking Ingredients: Emotional Awareness
Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

33 Emotional Awareness is:
The ability to identify emotional experiences Comfort with emotions and expressiveness The ability to control emotional responses to external events (when appropriate) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 33

34 Why does Emotional Awareness matter?
It contributes to resilience It’s critical in forming healthy relationships It’s critical for goal attainment It’s necessary for overall mental health Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 34

35 Cultivating Emotional Awareness
Emotion Charades: Write down feeling words on pieces of paper. Take turns picking a slip of paper and then acting out the word written on it. For kids under 5 or 6, keep the feelings simple such as: happy, sad, mad or scared. For kids 7+, you can use more complex feelings such as guilty, anxious, embarrassed, proud, etc. Make it harder by setting the rule that you cannot use facial expressions. Instead, express the feeling through body language. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

36 Cultivating Emotional Awareness
Mood Music: Music and dance are great ways to help express feelings. Choose music that represents different moods and ask students to dance how the music “feels”: heavy classical music for sadness pop music for happiness heavy drumming music for anger Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

37 Cultivating Emotional Awareness through the ABCs (Albert Ellis)
BELIEFS Internal radio station Activating Event: The trigger CONSEQUENCES Emotions and behavior Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 37 37

38 Emotional Consequences Embarrassment/hiding
B-C Connections: Beliefs Emotional Consequences Loss (I have lost something) Sadness/withdrawal Danger (Something bad is going to happen and I can’t handle it) Anxiety/agitation Trespass (I have been harmed) Anger/aggression Inflicting harm (I have caused harm) Guilt/reparations Negative comparison (I don’t measure up) Embarrassment/hiding Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 38 .

39 Fishful Thinking Ingredients: Empowerment
Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

40 Empowerment (self-efficacy) is:
Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses Knowing which strengths, skills, talents to rely on in a variety of situations Maintaining a solution focus Having a sense of mastery and competence Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 40

41 Why does Empowerment matter?
Kids with a strong sense of self-efficacy are: better problem solvers less likely to become helpless more resilient more willing to try new things and take risks Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

42 Character Strengths and Empowerment:
What is right with you? Who are you at your best? How can you be the best you more often? How can you use your strengths in relationships, school, play? How can you use your strengths to meet challenges and overcome obstacles? Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 42 42

43 VIA Strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004)
1. Wisdom and Knowledge Curiosity/interest Love of learning Judgment/critical thinking Originality/ingenuity/creativity Perspective 2. Courage Valor Industry/perseverance Integrity/honesty Zest/enthusiasm 3. Love Intimacy Kindness/generosity/nurturance Social intelligence 4. Justice Citizenship/duty/loyalty/teamwork Equity/fairness Leadership 5. Temperance Forgiveness/mercy Modesty/humility Self-control/self-regulation Prudence/caution 6. Transcendence Appreciation of beauty/awe Gratitude Hope/optimism Humor/playfulness Religiousness/sense of purpose Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 43 43

44 Signature Strengths: In Your Bloodstream
One believes that he/she is being “true-to-oneself” when using the strength. One feels that he/she can’t help but use the strength (when the opportunity to do so arises). When using the strength, one feels energized rather than exhausted. The motivation to use the strength comes from within the person. (No one else has to remind or persuade him/her to use it.) Vocabulary Zest Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. . 44 44

45 Strength Activities for Students
Identify Strengths – VIA strength Survey online Share Strength Stories (Me at My Best) Identify Strengths in Others – listening for and watching for strengths Develop Strength Action Plans Create a Family Tree of Strengths Use Strengths in Challenges Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

46 Strength Action Plans Using the list of strengths (or online survey), choose the 5 or so that best reflect the student. Work with the student to generate ideas about how to use his/her strengths more fully at school, to cope with problems, to reach goals, to have more confidence. Be specific! Record these on the Strengths Action Plan sheet. Refer back to the sheet often! Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

47 Creating Mastery Moments through Strengths…
Identify strengths of student (e.g. creativity, bravery, critical thinking, empathy, etc.) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Record ideas on how the student can use strengths to create Mastery Moments. It’s important to make the Mastery Moment challenging (not too easy, not too hard) and enjoyable. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

48 Creating Mastery Moments (example)
Aaron’s strengths Creativity Social intelligence Perseverance Leadership Mastery Moments: Aaron will design individualized party invitations (creativity, social intelligence) Aaron will make a movie about our trip to Australia that he can share with his classmates (perseverance, creativity) Aaron will help out in the kindergarten classroom 3 mornings a week (leadership, social intelligence, creativity) Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

49 Fishful Thinking Ingredients: Hope/Goal Setting
Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

50 Hope/Goal Setting (Based on the great work of Drs. Lopez and Snyder)
Hope is future-oriented thinking that combines three components: Goals thinking: Focusing on what to achieve Pathways thinking: Identifying or creating many paths to a goal Agency thinking: Maintaining your motivation while pursuing your goal Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 50

51 Why does Hope/Goal Setting matter?
The ability to set and reach goals is critical for success in school, sports, work, and health Children who have “grit” – tenacity in reaching their goals, get higher grades in school than those without grit Children who are effective at goal setting, learn how to organize time, prioritize, and have an increased sense of mastery and competence Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

52 The importance of Goldilocks Goals
It's important to set goals that are realistic and attainable (but not too easy). Goals that are too hard OR too easy undercut motivation. Help students to set a goal that is slightly beyond their immediate grasp, but not so far above their current skills and abilities that they believe they have no chance of succeeding. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

53 Cultivating Hope/Goal Setting
Goal Road Map—One Step at a Time: Identify realistic goal. Think Goldilocks! Write across the top of a large piece of paper, "My Goal Road Map". In the upper left-hand corner of the page, write a sentence describing the goal. Make sure it's specific. "I will get a good grade on my graphing project for math class" instead of "I will get good grades" Write the word "START" in the bottom right-hand corner and draw a series of footprints between the word START and the goal in the upper left-hand corner. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

54 Cultivating Hope/Goal Setting
In each footprint, help the student to write a short description of a step he/she can take toward reaching this goal. For example, if the goal is to get an "A" on a graphing project for math class, the footsteps might read: Step 1: Read over instructions and ask the teacher any questions Step 2: Buy materials with Mom or Dad Step 3: Look in books and on the internet (with Mom or Dad) for ideas for the hypothesis Step 4: Make the hypothesis and collect data on 15 kids Step 5: Draw a rough draft of the graph Step 6: Write first draft of the explanation Step 7: Ask Mom or Dad to look over rough drafts Step 8: Redo the graph and the explanation Step 9: Check for mistakes and make corrections Step 10: Turn in the project — Yay! Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

55 Goal Setting: Obstacles and Walk-Arounds
Here's an example of obstacles and "Walk-Arounds" based on the graphing project example: Obstacle 1: I'll want to watch TV instead of working Walk-Around: After I complete a step, I will watch 15 minutes of TV. Obstacle 2: I'll put it off until the night before it's due Walk-Around: I will put dates next to each step so I know exactly when I have to do each part. Obstacle 3: I'll get bored and sloppy Walk-Around: I will remind myself that I want to do well, and I'll save the most fun part—coloring it in—for last. Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

56 Wrapping Up… There are many everyday, fun and simple strategies that we (educators, clinicians, parents) can use to help raise happy, resilient, confident children. We’re already doing this AND we can further enhance our abilities by focusing on the 5 key ingredients of Fishful Thinking. The more WE value, model, and use these ingredients, the more our children will benefit! Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

57 Resources Website: www.fishfulthinking.com Books:
The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte’ The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman, Karen Reivich, Lisa Jaycox and Jane Gillham Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

58 Thank You!! Copyright  2008 Karen Reivich, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


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