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Resilience and positive psychology

Dette valgfrie element udbydes ikke i efteråret 2024.

Udbud af valgfrie elementer: kp.dk/valgfrie-elementer/

About the course

In this course, we will zoom in on resilience and the new science of positive psychology, which aims to “understand, test, discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive” (Sheldon et al., 1999). Discover how to put theory and established research findings on resilience, happiness, and wellbeing into action in our day-to-day lives as well as diverse professional settings.

The course takes place at Nørrebro.

Do you still have unanswered questions after reading this description? Find contact information at the bottom of this site.

Aims and objectives

The aim is to explore and understand how we can promote psychological and social wellbeing in terms of human flourishing. To flourish means to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience (Fredrickson and Losada, 2005). Guided by the mission of positive psychology: “to understand and foster the factors that allow individuals, communities, and societies to flourish” (Seligman & Csikzentmihalyi, 2000) we will explore what psychology says about resilience and flourishing and how human flourishing can be facilitated.

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of infirmity (WHO, 1948).  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 with a focus on promoting mental health and fostering more flourishing for a greater number of people.

Content of the course

Three pillars of positive psychology set the foundation for the course:

  • Positive individual traits
  • Positive experiences
  • Positive institutions and environments

Specific topics include resilience, positive emotions, flow, engagement, creativity, meaning, achievement, positive relationships, character strengths and virtues, mindfulness, post-traumatic growth, motivation, and goal-setting.

During the first part of the course, we will mainly explore some of the personal foundations of wellbeing. For the second part of the course, we will concentrate on important social foundations of wellbeing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand and employ positive psychology theories and concepts
  • Devise pathways to enhance resilience and to improve people’s quality of life
  • Design interventions to improve well-being, learning, and performance at different levels and in different contexts
  • Promote positive change in a strategic and systematic fashion
  • Apply specific methods for promoting change and development, e.g.: employing flow design and coaching.

Learning methods

The teaching is based on experiential learning along with assigned readings. Classes will consist of an integration of theory and research with application. In order to deepen the leaning students will get the chance to try out different positive psychology intervention activities. In class, there will be presentations, experiential learning activities, movies, reflective writing and discussions.

Course assessment/examination

The exam is an individual product.

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

Practical information

Students from The Faculty of Health at University College Copenhagen

Min 12, max 35

University College Copenhagen
Campus Nørrebro
Sigurdsgade 26
2200 København N

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

Required textbooks:

Boniwell, I. & Tunariu, A.D., (2019). Positive Psychology. Theory, Research, and Applications. UK: McGraw Hill

Frankl, Victor E. (2006). Man’s Search for Meaning. Beacon Press


Gitte Vonsild

Lecturer; Master of Positive Psychology, M.Sc.Econ., Co-Active Coach (CPCC)

+45 30 91 19 99