Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, CAPP, is founder of Move2Love Training & Positive Therapy. She received her PhD in Kinesiology from the Temple University College of Public Health, Well-Being and Social Justice. A positive psychology, performance, and fitness/lifestyle medicine strategist, Elaine aims at enhancing the quality of life and vibrant health of her community and business clients. Elaine has given presentations around the world inspiring people to move more, enjoyably, and well. Full bio. Elaine's articles are here.
In February 2014, along with four fellow alumni of the University of Pennsylvania Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program, I enrolled in the Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) program at the Open Center, New York City. CAPP’s diploma program is offered by The Flourishing Center. The program lasts 6 months with 7 onsite weekends.
Author’s Note: This is part one of a two part series on the CAPP Experience. Part 2 will come out in a few days.
It was a real treat to participate in the third cohort to go through CAPP along with fellow MAPP graduates Sherri Fisher (’06), Christine Duvivier (’07), Nadya Peeva (’08), and Katie Conlon (’13) and the rest of the curious and bright CAPP students. A subsequent article to come out in a few days will offer perspectives and takeaways from Sherri, Christine, Nadya, and Katie about their CAPP program experiences.
I was drawn to CAPP after reading Marie-Josée Shaar’s comprehensive description of the program in Certificate in Applied Pos Psych Program Launched. Furthermore, I was excited to have the chance to spend time in a high quality, empirical, and celebratory learning experience with Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, CAPP Program Founder and Lead Professor, and Louis Alloro, CAPP Co-Founder and Director. Both are fellow MAPP Alumni. See my story about Louis and SOMO leadership based on his 2008 MAPP capstone.
Emiliya and Louis created this exciting credentialed positive psychology educational/training program aimed at promoting flourishing in the world. CAPP, designed with a high tech/high touch brand of experiential learning, combines cutting edge research and applications with presentations by some of the world’s leaders in the field of Positive Psychology. It promotes a dialog which creates a better understanding of what matters most, and what makes life worth living. Emiliya deftly embraces and delivers Seligman’s PERMA theory of well-being as an underpinning for the CAPP coursework. She is a master edutainer*, a trainer, scholar, professor, and PhD Student in Mind/Body Medicine at Saybrook University.
“CAPP training is one of the best applications of the MAPP University of Pennsylvania Masters of Positive Psychology) program!” ~ Author, Speaker, Mentor, Caroline Miller
The CAPP experience is leading people toward Martin Seligman’s moonshot goal of 51% of the world population flourishing by 2051.
Emiliya has expanded the PERMA model, advancing the idea of PERMA-V, the V for Vitality. Ever since McKenzie’s work in 1909, vitality has been recognized as a beneficial and necessary ingredient in the recipe for flourishing. As a PhD Candidate at Temple University in the department of Kinesiology, College of Public Health, Well-Being and Social Justice, my research and applications aim at advancing the psychology of positive movement.
The CAPP curriculum recognizes the importance of bodily movement in in the quest for flourishing lives. It offers a superb somatic component seamlessly integrated into every weekend onsite. Attention to the body helps students to manage their energy during full days packed with learning. CAPP meets one weekend a month, and is augmented by an outstanding online platform, virtual meetings, real time calls, presentations, exercises, active learning, and communications.
Erin Nichole Smith, a graduate of the University of East London MAPP program weighs in on the Flourishing Center and her CAPP experiences:
MAPP for me was a beautifully intense and transformational experienced. I loved the opportunity to study positive psychology in a different country. The diversity of the program at UEL enhanced my depth of learning and provided unique perspectives on the field. I have been truly blessed in my post-MAPP life, because I had the opportunity to immediately become involved in the Flourishing Center’s CAPP program! I thought that depth of learning and beautiful community created by MAPP was the best experience in my life until I became involved with CAPP.
I have had the pleasure of assisting with both the CAPP.2 and CAPP.3 classes, and it has been an incredibly meaningful experience to connect and grow with the change agents of the world brought together by this program. The breadth of positive psychology topics covered within the CAPP program greatly enhanced what I learned within MAPP. The CAPP program synthesizes and distills an incredible amount of information into a student-friendly format that stays true to the science at heart of positive psychology, while emphasizing the need for the work to be applied to ourselves and the world at large.The deep sense of connection created within the CAPP community is absolutely one of the most powerful aspects of the program. I have been honored to learn, laugh, dance, cry, teach, and fall in love with everyone within the CAPP community. Those wanting to join the CAPP program will not only gain invaluably deep knowledge of the field and learn how to apply this work in their lives, but will become part of a unique community that creates upward spirals of connection and positivity as we grow and learn together.
PERMA-V! I love that the CAPP program also brings vitality into the PERMA model of flourishing. CAPP’s emphasis on the mind-body connection and the need for positive psychology to take a holistic look at well-being, not just from the neck up, makes it such a unique program. One of my favorite CAPP moments is always when we use biofeedback mechanisms to look at stress, positivity, and heart-rate variability in real time with students, and monitor blood-flow to student’s extremities as they go through a love and kindness meditation. For students to see how dramatically their own bodies can change as a result of their thoughts is such a powerful real-time demonstration of the inseparable connection between mind and body when it comes to flourishing.
Like Erin, I believe the CAPP community has truly touched my heart and given me a richness of learning. Like the burgeoning MAPP programs springing up around the world, the high quality CAPP experience leads people toward whole health, well-being, healing, flourishing, and love across all domains of life. CAPP is relatively accessible with more locations being established worldwide, and is helping to bring Martin Seligman’s 2051 moonshot goal to fruition.
An edutainer (Bass, 2012, personal communication) combines the art and science of teaching; this term is part of Health Promotion nomenclature.
The CAPP acronym has been used in three great programs that contribute to world-wide flourishing:
- The Flourishing Center CAPP: Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology
- Valorie Burton’s Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute. Valorie Burton, MAPP, MA, is a best selling author, speaker, and media personality
- CAPP: The leading strengths assessment provider. Providers of the Realise2 strengths assessment
McKenzie, R. T. (1909, 2009). Exercise in Education and Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company. Bibio Blazer.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press.
Shaar, M.-J. (2014). Certificate in Applied Pos Psych Program Launched. Positive Psychology News.
Images courtesy of Elaine O’Brien