I would love to spend a lot more time blogging but life can sometimes get in the way. Last weekend was my first at home for a month. In fact, sometimes during the summer, I’ve only been three days in Dublin with weekends often stretching from Thursday to Tuesday. For me, it’s been a fantastic year, spending time travelling throughout Ireland. Apart from a short trip to Warsaw in January, I haven’t left the island. Ireland is full to the brim with creative activities and people.
Something I would love is to develop the discipline to sit down, blog, and upload photos as I go. I plan to work on doing just that as I move forward. I take lots of photos but want to organise myself to sit down, connect to the internet, write my thoughts and share beautiful images. I also want to share my ideas about psychological issues and what I’ve found to make life extremely positive.
This evening is the second session in UCD. Last week we began with a writing exercise and this evening I hope we can pick up on writing straight away. When it came to talking about Psychology, I began with definitions. In the Universities and the Psychological Society of Ireland, Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the human mind and human behaviour. In my talk, I tried to pin down what’s considered central to science. It’s about finding out ‘how things work’. Science goes hand in hand with technology but in the world of psychology, it’s more about testing claims about reality with an emphasis on wellbeing and ethics. However, Psychology is not just about how mind and behaviour work, it’s also about what works for people. In other words, at its best Psychology is about what’s best for human flourishing, and individuals in the context of their everyday lives. Psychology has changed since it began in the late 19th Century with its emphasis on mental illness, but it’s still about the thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviours, and perceptions of individuals in the context of their lives.
Therapy is not at the centre of Psychology, with the majority of psychologists working in other fields such as education, research, teaching, business, sports etc. Counselling and Clinical Psychology are mainly concerned with mental health although their scope is much wider. Other mental health professions are Psychiatry (medical doctors who specialise in mental illness), Psychotherapy and Social Work.
This week I’ll focus more on Positive Psychology beginning with the theory of Martin Seligman, PERMA. This is an interesting framework and quite useful to know about. I also plan to focus on the ‘Creative Writing’. I look forward to seeing everyone in UCD this evening. I will post the Notes on a tab rather than as a blog post.
I’m heading to Kilmore Quay in County Wexford, Ireland this weekend for the amazing writers’ festival called Write by the Sea at Kilmore Quay’. This is a beautiful picturesque village in the south-east of Ireland, complete with thatched cottages, fishing harbour and sandy beaches, not to mention the great community spirit that succeeds in bringing some fantastic experiences to the festival trail around the island of Ireland.
Below are the notes from the workshop I’ll be facilitating on Sunday. I promise to upload some photos over the weekend. Check out the festival https://writebythesea.ie/
Festival Workshop Kilmore Quay
9am to 11am Sept 30th 2018
The Role of Writing and Poetry in Positive Psychology
A. 9am to 9.30 Approx.
Where I’m coming from…
What is Positive Psychology?
The Role of Writing and Poetry in Positive Psychology
B. followed by Writing/ Feedback/ Discussion
Suggesting Video/ books relating to Positive Psychology
This Video by Psychologist Martin Seligman tells the story of Positive Psychology. His books played an important role in promoting the idea of a Positive Psychology but it’s not the full story. I recommend watching the video. I was lucky to get a ticket to hear him talk in Trinity College some time ago. Really enjoyed his presentation but I’ll leave it up to you whether you would like to read his books. They’re easy to find.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl – Great book with a positive influence in the field of Psychotherapy but most of all an amazing and inspirational story.
Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung – Early 20th Century positive influence for Personal Development across life focussed on the welfare and wellbeing of people throughout their lives; plus great books/ ideas about the creative human mind, and the world of dreams, symbols and images, that continues to inspire creative minds today.
The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt – American Behavioural Psychologist with some great ideas and stories especially important for the idea of finding meaning in life (as opposed to the philosophical question ‘what is the meaning of life’). This brings us closer to the topic in hand which is about the role of writing and poetry in positive Psychology. The core topics Haidt writes about are meaning and accomplishment, work and love, positive relationships. Writers and poets know well how important it is to express the whole range of human emotions and experiences.
Workshop Notes – The Role of Writing & Poetry in Positive Psychology, by Dr. Martina Carroll
Positive Psychology – What is it?
A branch of scientific Psychology/ Originally about a science of happiness – 1990s, Now more focused on well-being and flourishing
-: It turns out that being happy is less important for some people than for others.
Storytelling/ Writing/ Poetry – a part of what it means to be human
Communities revolve around creative activities
Writers/ poets/ storytellers/ have always focused on the topics we associate with Psychology
PERMA Theory by Martin Seligman
The Elements of Wellbeing and Flourishing
Positive Emotion/ Engagement/Relationships/Meaning/Accomplishments
Influences on Positive Psychology Apart from Freud and the Study of normal behaviour and the mind within the field of Science
includes great writers like Carl Jung/ Victor Frankl/ Carl Rogers/ Jonathan Haidt about Meaning, Love, Work Accomplishment the subject matter of Positive Psychology but also about the full range of human emotions and experiences.
Jonathon Haidt suggests that Happiness comes from between ‘within’ and ‘without’, between our inner worlds and the outer world of people and places.
Creative Writing as something people love to do, a work of love, like writing a poem/ Nurturing and expressing our creative nature
The Happiness Hypothesis – the creative process experienced in the dynamic expression when the words and phrases emerge and just land on the page.
Writing Exercise 1 – about Writing
How and why did you Start Writing?
Say a little about how the story of your writing unfolded?
Do you have friendships from your interest in writing?
What about confidence – vital engagement/ involvement?
Note whether you have an ever thickening web of connections through writing.
Have you connected to a writing community?
Have you found a source of flow, joy, identity, effectance and relatedness within Writing?
Has writing changed you in any way?
If a story from your experiences comes to mind, continue writing about it
Writing Exercise 2 – Just writing for the sake of it…
Begin writing by describing anything that happened today or yesterday. Go where the story takes you. Whatever pops into your head, no matter how relevant or irrelevant it seems, just keep writing and find out where it takes you.
Love and Work The Happiness Hypothesis Love and Work
Vital Engagement The Happiness Hypothesis and Vital Engagement
Cross-Level Coherence Integrated Personality
Here is a PDF of the slides. Note that the focus of the solution-focused problem-solving exercise is a working forward model of problem-solving that is solution focused and adaptable to personal preference. It’s a good approach in order to creatively enhance our everyday lives and solve everyday people problems.
In business, a more goal-oriented approach to problem-solving is often preferred. This is often seen as the gold-standard but it’s not always the best approach in personalising and choosing solutions that move us closer to our dreams.
Note that according to the findings of Cognitive Psychology research, experts are more likely to adopt a working-forward approach to problem-solving than novices who find a goal-oriented model more reliable when problems are clearly defined. In everyday life, we often need more creative solutions to enhance our lives.
Here are the slides
Here is the link to the goal-oriented model.