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Resilience and positive psychology

Elective course is not offered

This elective course is not offered in autumn 2020

Other elective courses: kp.dk/valgfrie-elementer/

About the course

The course takes its point of departure in students’ own well-being and self-care by drawing on the latest developments in positive psychology, strengths-based perspective, resilience and some aspects of consciousness studies.

Aims and objectives

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of infirmity. Psychosocial issues are associated with and exacerbate the burden of illness, as well as contribute to illness onset. However, much of the focus on pathology that has largely dominated psychology until recent years has resulted in a model that lacks positive features that make life worth living, such as hope, wisdom, creativity, courage, spirituality, responsibility and perseverance.

This elective course draws on the latest developments in positive psychology, resilience and some aspects of consciousness studies to draw attention to the positive dimensions of well-being. We will examine well-being which is a positive state related to the enjoyment of life, feeling connected to others, the ability to deal with challenges and having a strong sense of purpose and control. Resilience is the learned capacity to cope with any level of adversity, from the small annoyances of everyday life to more challenging struggles and heart-breaking sorrows. This course will assist you to develop somatic, emotional, relational and reflective intelligence – the skills needed to cope effectively with life’s inevitable challenges and crises.

We will also learn about interventions to improve resilience at individual, community and organizational levels; however, please note that the thrust of this course is about turning inwards. This course is an invitation to do inner work to make us more effective in our outer work. The inner work is working on ourselves to become more resilient, more self-aware, reflective and self-accepting, and proactively meeting life’s challenges, while the outer work refers to our engagements with the outside world (eg. our occupation or the roles we perform in the family etc).

Some of the topics in the course include:

  • happiness
  • well-being
  • flourishing and positive health
  • character strengths and virtues
  • creativity, flow and grit
  • introduction to resilience
  • somatic intelligence
  • emotional intelligence (positive emotions)
  • relational intelligence within yourself and with others
  • the law of attraction (power of thought)
  • reflective intelligence (mindfulness)
  • post-traumatic growth
  • evolution of consciousness
  • the science of yoga and meditation
  • resilience applications in communities and organizations
  • resilience from the heart
  • the Heartfulness technique

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Learn the importance of psychological health, the concepts of resiliency and positive psychology and how to use them
  • Become familiar with research that supports the principles, strategies and skills of positive psychology and resiliency
  • Develop an understanding of the dimensions of happiness/subjective well-being and their application
  • Demonstrate the applications of core concepts of positive psychology and resiliency factors in interventions with individuals, groups and communities
  • Acquire skills to implement strengths-based, positive psychology and resilience concepts in their own lives.

Learning methods

The teaching in this course is based on didactic, experiential and interactive learning along with assigned readings. Classes will consist of an integration of theory and research with application, and there will be emphasis on applying the learnt concepts to one’s own life. During classes, there will be presentations, experiential learning exercises, reflective writing and discussions.

Students will complete several short exercises along the way to apply the concepts of resilience and positive psychology in their own lives – these assignments are optional to share in class and optional to hand in.

Course assessment/examination

For elective courses offered by KP, students from KP must take the exam where the course activity has taken place.

The exam is an internally assessed exam worth 10 ECTS. The exam is an individual product which is to be handed in on WISEflow.

The exam takes place in week 11/40. Grades are published no later than week 17/46 in the calendar.

Additional information on exam formalities and criteria for the elective course will be available by the beginning of the semester.

Practical information

  • Global nutrition and health
  • Bioanalytiker
  • Ergoterapeut
  • Ernæring og Sundhed
  • Fysioterapeut
  • Psykomotorisk terapeut
  • Radiograf
  • Sygeplejerske

A maximum of 38.

Campus Nørrebro, Sigurdsgade 26.

Weeks 6-11 in spring and 35-40 in autumn, both weeks included.

Ernæring og Sundhed (ESU) and Global Nutrition and Health (GNH)
University College Copenhagen (KP)
Sigurdsgade 26
2200 København N

The course is worth 10 ECTS points.

When you start - Literature

  • Compton, William C. (2005). An introduction to positive psychology. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth.
  • Haidt, J. (2005). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Kaufman, S.B. (2013). Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2011). The How of Happiness. A Practical Guide to Getting the Life You Want. Piatkus. Pp. 237-254
  • Pargament, K, I. and Mahoney, A. (2009). The Search for the Sacred. In Lopez, S.J. and Snyder, C.R. (Eds.). Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford. Pp. 611-619
  • Prochaska, J., Norcross, J. and DiClemente, C. (2002). Changing for good: A revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward. New York: Quill.
  • Reich, J.W., Zautra, A.J., & Hall, J.S. (Eds.) (2010). Handbook of Adult Resilience. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Reivich, K. and Shatte, A. (2002). The resilience factor. New York: Broadway Books.
  • Seligman, Martin (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.



Vanmala Sunder Hiranandani
Senior lecturer