Home All PERMA-V: Training with Rigor & Vigor

PERMA-V: Training with Rigor & Vigor

written by Elaine O'Brien 19 November 2014

Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, is a positive psychology, fitness leadership, positive health promotion, movement science, aging, and well-being speaker, author, trainer, thought leader, people/project manager, educator, and consultant. Elaine creates programs promoting proactive positive health/fitness, and optimal performance. Elaine presents internationally and online. She advances health, fitness, and flourishing by inspiring people to move more and to find both enjoyment and meaning in motion via PEP: Positive Exercise Practices. Elaine's website.  Full bio. Elaine's articles are here.

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.


    CAPP Logo

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.

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.

“CAPP training is one of the best applications of the MAPP University of Pennsylvania Masters of Positive Psychology) program!” ~ Author, Speaker, Mentor, Caroline Miller

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya and Louis Alloro

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya and
Louis Alloro

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.

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.

Somatic Connections

Somatic Connections

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.

Erin Nichole Smith

Erin Nichole Smith

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:

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

Not seeing the pictures for the book links? Disable Adblocking for this site to view them.

You may also like


Judy Krings 20 November 2014 - 1:15 pm

I savored every word of your informative and uplifting article, Elaine. Thank you! I felt like I was there with this whole wonderful group. Congratulations to you, Emilia and Louis, for adding Vitality, literally and figuratively, to the fantastic world of PERMA and positive psychology. I’m doing a gratitude dance in your and PERMA-V honor right now!

Elaine O'Brien, MAPP 22 November 2014 - 11:38 am

Judy, thank you for writing and for your wonderful comments. The V for vitality makes so much sense and truly helps integrate the learning experiences. Love that you are doing a gratitude dance too! Sending appreciation and care.

Lianna 22 November 2014 - 2:31 pm

Congrats Momma! GREAT ARTICLE!!

Sherri 22 November 2014 - 9:17 pm

Elaine, thanks so much for this lovely article about CAPP and PERMA-V. Love the title! Looking forward to part 2!

Judy Krings 23 November 2014 - 6:43 am

My pleasure, Elaine.
Growing through movement one step at a time with a smile…:)

Louise Kittel 17 July 2015 - 6:50 pm

Elaine, it is wonderful to read this, and re-live through your eyes the experience we shared together in CAPP3. It truly is life-changing work, and your living example and contributions to the V part of PERMA-V have remained inspirational to me! Looking forward to reading Part 2 when it comes out!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com