Parenting & Schools
Happiness Exercises
Home » All, Author Bios

Emily vanSonnenberg’s Bio

By on January 1, 2007 – 12:12 pm  3 Comments

Emily vanSonnenberg


Emily vanSonnenberg, MAPP 2010 uses the science and interventions of Positive Psychology in her private practice to increase happiness, well-being, and health for teens, young adults, and adults, as well as to improve communication within complex, close relationships. She works intensely with addicts, people suffering with psychological disorders such as depression and bi-polar disorders, as well as survivors of severe trauma, introducing positive psychological interventions into their recovery repertoires. Emily teaches Positive Psychology at UCLA Extension to undergraduates and the general public.

As an extension to teaching, Emily gives workshops and consults with organizations on how to increase employee satisfaction, teamwork, leadership, and communication. Most recently, Emily consulted for the U.S. Government’s HealthCorps, the Jewish Federation International, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International.

As a UCLA Bruin, Emily created, proposed, and taught the first UCLA Positive Psychology course, Happiness. She also co-taught the Psychology of Human Motivation with distinguished psychologist and Social Attribution Theorist, Dr. Bernard Weiner. Emily worked as a researcher alongside psychologists Martin Seligman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Angela Duckworth, and as a marriage and family analyst at the UCLA Relationship Institute. She has conducted Gratitude and Food research with Health Psychologist Dr. Janet Tomiyama of Rutgers University. Emily has lectured worldwide on her Gratitude research, Resilience Through Unemployment, and How to Teach Positive Psychology at the college level, as well as on her true love: the magic of character strengths and positive interventions.

Emily is a doubly-certified yoga and meditation instructor, and was a competitive martial artist, softball and tennis player, gymnast, and clog dancer. When not engaged in disseminating Positive Psychology, you can find Emily zooming down ski slopes, reveling in a conversation with a stranger on a plane, playing tennis and kayaking with loved ones, belly-laughing at stand-up comedy clubs, or traveling with her brother and sister on their annual vanSonnenberg-Sibling-Vacations.

Emily studied Broadcast Journalism and Communications at Boston University, earned her B.A. with Honors in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has her Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Emily contributed a chapter to the Positive Psychology News book, Character Strengths Matter.

Emily’s articles for are here.


  • It is very inspiring to read the bio of someone who clearly walks her talk. This is a great description of someone who is modeling how to live life in harmony with positive psychology.

  • Maya Leonard says:

    Hello Mrs.Emily vanSonnenberg my name is Maya Leoanrd and recently I have read your article on blogspot called, The Happy Actor: Emotional Memory Preparation and Care for the Actor, and I would wish to use it as an reference for an extended essay that I have to write for the International Baccalaureate program. The only problem is I can not use blogspot as a reference type so if you have written the article somewhere else or if you have a book on the topic I was wondering if you can tell me. I would appreciate any type of information you can give me and notice of if you can give me any help as soon as possible thank you.

  • Emily says:

    H Maya,
    It’s wonderful to hear that the article, The Happy Actor: Emotional Memory Preparation and Care for the Actor was useful for your research. I’m glad you were able, since posting this note, to find my email so we could correspond about your inquiry.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.