By Elaine O’Brien, Ph.D., MAPP, CPT

This conference (ECPP) is a wonderful example of the quiet steady work the world is crying to know more about.” – Donald Officer

The 9th European Conference on Positive Psychology, Budapest, took place from June 28-30, 2018. IPPA Positive Health & Wellness Division leaders and members offered individual and collaborative workshops, symposia, and keynotes around the theme of Positive Psychology for Flourishing in Times of Transition.

A Positive Health and Medicine symposium led by Dr. Svala Sigurðardóttir, M.D. (Iceland/Denmark), titled Is Medicine Ready for Positive Psychology? Innovative Research from the Front Lines of Positive Health explored the application of positive theories, research, and innovative methodologies in medical and health care settings. Planned symposium panelists included: Merethe Dronnen (Denmark), Lisa Buksbaum (USA), Kathi Norman (USA), Elaine O’Brien (USA), and Marlena Kossakowska (Poland). Plans are underway for a Positive Health and Medicine invited symposium at the next IPPA World Congress, with Svala as chair, and Kathi, Lisa, and Elaine offering an update on the newest advancements in the practice and science of Positive Health and Medicine in Melbourne, 2019.

Other PH&W Conference Highlights

Positive psychology pioneer, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, of Hungarian ancestry, gave the first keynote, discussing the importance of well-being applications within the social-cultural context. He discussed the growth of positive psychology via individuals, and individual traits, but emphasized that we need to know more about the context of social systems for improving the quality of life.

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi introduced Andrea Ortega Bechara (Columbia), who spoke about Science for Peace, and her passionate work in fighting poverty, lifting up education, health, and bringing peace to a country. Dora Gudrun Gudmundsdottir (Iceland), president of the European Network for Positive Psychology, presented for the invited symposium, Meaning in Surprising and Unsurprising Places, with chair, Michael Steger (USA), Bradley Conner (USA), Tamor Martos (Hungary), and Helena Agueda Marujo (Portugal). Helena gave an earnest plea in her talk for co-constructing collective meaning as a contribution to peace. IPPA Board Members Helena and her husband Luis Neto are the leaders of MAPP Portugal.

Dora discussed how “the field of positive psychology is growing fast around the world…attracting people from various fields with different backgrounds such as health, education, sociology, business and coaching to name a few. What they all have in common is their interest in the Science of Well-Being. ” Dora discussed the importance of “breaking down silos between fields and sectors and focus on working on broad collaborations between these fields to increase well-being in the world.”

Keynote speakers addressing the area of positive health and wellbeing included:

  • Antonella Delle Fave (first IPPA President) presented The Contextualization of Well-being Research: Conceptual and Empirical Challenges
  • Barbara Fredrickson (former IPPA President) offered an exciting new workshop called The Form and Function of Positivity Resonance
  • Kate Hefferon made the case for the power of Qualitative Inquiry, especially around health, medicine, and wellness in her keynote session titled, Celebrating Complexity: The Turn to Qualitative Inquiry in Positive Psychology
  • Ryan Niemiec, Educational Director of VIA Institute on Character, discussed Mindfulness and Character Strengths: Integrating the Hot Topics of Positive Psychology.
  • Wilmar Schaufeli led a keynote, Work Engagement: Occupational Health Psychology in the 21st Century

Along with the Positive Health and Medicine Symposium, I had the opportunity to present a workshop, MAPP Somatics & Fitness Strategies: Let Me Hear Your Body Talk to a fantastic group of participants in the Gratitude Room. It was heartwarming to lead a research session about a longitudinal positive intervention I implemented, and to also move in rhythm with others, connecting, sharing positive energy, and learning during the workshop.

Kathi Norman prepared a poster titled, Forgiveness: How it Manifests in our Health, Well-being and Longevity.  The topic of Forgiveness will be the subject of our very first IPPA Positive Health & Wellness Division Webinar with Dr. Loren Toussaint, and Kathi leading the question & answer period. Mark your calendars for the webinar on Tuesday, September 25, 5:00pm Eastern Time (US) and register for the webinar today.

The 9th European Conference on Positive Psychology offered meaningful opportunities to connect with other positive psychology scholars and enthusiasts from around the globe. The theme of embodied well-being and flourishing were apparent during the ECPP 2018 scientific sessions and optional social activities, including mindfulness sessions, yoga, sing-alongs, painting, thermal bath visit, and conference dinner cruise. Learn more about the ECPP2018, along with the abstracts from the conference and pre-conference session, right here.

To learn even more, here is a conference overview brief that appears in Positive Psychology News Daily.