Advances in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Positive Psychology Interventions to Promote Resilience, Positive Emotions & Personal Growth in Youth

This program will review advances in cognitive behavioral therapy from the field of positive psychology and contrast these approaches with traditional CBT interventions.

Positive psychology, since its’ inception in the mid-1990s by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, has been a leading force in the development of innovative, Evidence-Based interventions for youth. Positive psychology contributions represent a noteworthy paradigm shift with respect to traditional cognitive-behavioral treatments. No longer is the focus limited to what is wrong with the client and what needs to be fixed. In contrast to traditional cognitive behavioral approaches, positive psychology offers a number of innovative interventions that focus on identifying strengths, promoting resiliency, the experience of positive emotions and personal growth. 

This course will provide training in practical, evidence based, youth friendly positive psychology interventions that attendees can readily use with young clients to help them be resilient and persevere through challenges, experience positive emotions, build supportive inter-personal relationships and pursue their passions and goals with courage and confidence.

Through the use of structured therapeutic activities, client handouts and worksheets attendees will learn how to implement a variety of innovative positive psychology interventions such as: resilience, self-regulation, perseverance, gratitude, self-compassion, optimism, a growth mindset, grit, identifying & utilizing personal character strengths, goal setting, identifying personal values, communication & social skills, peer conflict resolution and many more. 

In addition to learning skills to intervene with youth, the training will provide a number of practical methods to involve parents and enlist their participation as therapeutic allies in helping their children learn the skills being offered. 

This training will provide a valuable set of clinical tools to complement traditional CBT interventions and enhance your clinical competency with youth. Whether your young client is struggling with depression, anxiety, the effects of trauma or disruptive behavior, these youth friendly tools will help your client learn essential skills to develop a positive and fulfilling life.

Course Objectives:  

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the fundamental principles of Positive Psychology including its theoretical foundation and research evidence base in contrast to traditional CBT interventions.
  2. Identify methods to enhance youth resilience and self-regulation skills to manage depression, anxiety, trauma, stress and various life challenges.
  3. Identify interventions to increase the experience of positive emotions and optimism.
  4. Demonstrate therapeutic techniques to promote personal growth and actualization of life goals.
  5. Discuss methods to enhance the youth’s social skills, resolve inter-personal conflicts and build supportive relationships.
  6. Identify clinical methods to involve parents and help them utilize positive parenting skills to promote their child’s resilience, positive emotions and personal growth.

Research: There is a lot of research available on the subject of cognitive behavioral therapy and anxiety on Google Scholar.

Target Audience: social workers, mental health therapists, and other clinicians providing mental health services to children, youth, and families who meet the NYS OMH training grant eligibility criteria