Have you ever been placed on probation, dismissed or suspended from any college or university for reasons about academic integrity? If this does not, please write N/A in your response. If yes, include any facts that you believe bear on the significance of this circumstance.
How did your interest in positive psychology develop? How familiar are you with the field?
My curiosity started when I was attending an in-service training led by Dr Jason Powers. The concept behind the training was on Positive Recovery. During these sessions, we started to engage on different issues including a theoretical model for happiness called Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) questionnaire. The other critical aspects of human well-being that we discussed in the program included flourishing, happiness, grit, zest, the good life, trauma growth and flow. The doctor inspired his patients to overcome the negative thoughts, actions and thinking to embrace those things that were not only beneficial to their life but also of value to their sense of holistic growth. The lectures were to help patients gain wellness and positivity. The exceptionality of this talk motivated me to actively focus on assisting people to build their lives consistently through embracing the most important values and practice them for overall wellbeing and achieve a fulfilled life replete with a sense of purpose and meaningfulness. I was uncertain whether or not individuals were engaging in recovery or just merely hanging on, avoiding it and struggling to stay sober. My conception is that psychology helps to understand the human mind. However, some events like World War II resulted in a shift of focus to mental illness, suffering populations and the place of therapies. This change in focus has resulted in a neglect of thriving and happiness. Therefore, the emergence of positive psychology was to foster a balanced approach to human and increase knowledge about wellbeing, prosperity, virtues, and strengths.
I have enrolled and learned Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through coursera.org which is facilitated by Penn instructors. I have completed courses in introduction to positive psychology, applications and interventions administered by Dr James Pawelski (coursera.org, MOOC). I have also read various capstone projects, a particular one being Dr Jason Powers on Positive Recovery. Dr Powers asked me to complete the via character strengths (my top 5: curiosity, honesty, perseverance, teamwork, and creativity) and a few other journaling assignments. Through this course, I have completed several positive psychology interventions and journaling assignments, the PANAS and positivity ratio questionnaire. I continue to pursue relevant information on Positive Psychology and red deeply through Dr Slegimans book titled, Flourish and completed the suggested three good things exercise. Today, my three good things are talking to my brother about his military tours which happened because I was fully engaged and genuinely interested in his story and reconnecting with him. A second good thing is hiking with my dog because I am learning to unplug and savour every moment in my life before it passes me. The third was having a dinner with a girl that I am dating and talked to her about my life and what I value most which were because I courageous enough to allow someone to see my imperfections and allowed myself to be loved for who I am. What this means to me is having a robust and healthy connection with the people I care about and it made possible through Active Constructive Responding (ACR). Nevertheless, my curiosity and love for learning have led me to understand that positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning. It aims to discover and promote the factor that allows individuals and communities to thrive. I now understand the goal of positive psychology as assisting individuals in creating meaningful lives through the promotion of PERMA.
What do you hope to learn in the MAPP program, and how do you expect to apply that knowledge in your professional career?
The way MAPP program integrates various philosophies while at the same time not ignoring what is bad draws me to it. I want to learn how to encourage PERMA and wellbeing from a scientific and evidence-based manner and reduce the readmission rate at an intensive outpatient-substance abuse treatment program. I want to further the goals of positive psychology and outgrow my limitations, influence individuals whose lives are neutral and increase their psychological well-being to a plus two or plus three and help cultivate meaningful lives. I will do this through the promotion of PERMA, individual character strengths and virtues, to reach a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing. The foundation and knowledge on what constitutes positive interventions and the elements of positive psychology will help me develop and implement the first positive psychology outpatient treatment program and family clinic in Austin, TX. With this model I plan to help reduce the risk of relapse (back to illness, or drug and alcohol addiction), cultivate healthy family relationships, make the inevitable bumps along the road to recovery less painful, and help establish positive relationships that are conducive to their wellbeing and most importantly help people see beyond their sadness and find meaning and purpose in their life. I intend to gain further knowledge and implement hedonic and eudemonic happiness so that patients will stop white knuckling to get sober or struggle from having a meltdown and respond to lifes biggest question, What brings meaning to your life?
How will this affect your career?
During my undergraduate and life experiences, I had the misconception that is merely helping a depressed person result in making them a happy person. I later realised the fallaciousness of such thought since just working out and eating a clean does not imply that one is optimally healthy. Being free from depression or addiction does not mean a feeling of vibrancy, joyfulness and love your life. Positive psychology will impact on my career by giving me The permission to be human. That is, feeling all the emotions that human beings feel as opposed to trying to tell myself that we should be happy all the time or that we are bad people for relapsing. I think this will be a milestone in the fields of mental health and substance abuse. Positive psychology will change my career by bringing as much focus to the positive side of life and building what is right instead of just fixing the wrong. It will influence my career as research continues to show that you can dramatically and instantaneously improve your happiness level just by doing something nice for someone else. The evidenced-based practices and empirical validation interventions are some powerful stuff, which will not only impact my career, but also provide the world with compassion, love, kindness, happiness, optimism, resilience, grit, hope, joy, awe strengths, happiness, flow, and humour. This will continue to help me build my patients abilities, find engagement (flow), meaning in their life so they can lead a happier and fulfilled life. From my experiences, I have learned a set of unique personal skills, such as compassion, curiosity, open-mindedness, love for learning, teamwork, hope and an inquisitive mind. I will obtain the knowledge and skills to work effectively with patients and their families across a broad spectrum, including from an intensive outpatient setting and individual and family counselling, different ages, and cultures. I will also learn the foundations of positive psychology, which will help not only my future patients, but their families, as well.
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