June 25, 2007

Penn Resilience Program I've been in Philadelphia this week for the first four days of a 7-day training with the developers of the Penn Resilience Program, Karen Reivich, Ph.D. and Jane Gillham, Ph.D. The program is the result of years of research, including 13 separate studies involving approximately 2000 students. The results have confirmed the program's effectiveness at preventing depression and excessive anxiety. It also helps with behavior control problems. Perhaps most importantly, the skills taught promote flexible, accurate thinking, problem solving, and initiative. The program consists of 12, 2-hour sessions aimed at middle school students. Karen and Jane have recently "manualized" the program so it can be delivered by teachers, but both fidelity to the approach and competence (personal understanding and application of the skills) are important. Thus the training for the group I'm in. That group will supply facilitators for an upcoming training for approximately 90 teachers from England as part of a major implementation that has been spearheaded by Lord Richard Layard, former professor of economics at the London School of Economics. This will be a large-scale project with rigorous evaluation through the London School of Economics to test the effectiveness of the program when implemented through this manualized approach. The group being trained includes students from both my MAPP class (including my colleague Sherri Fisher), several clinical psychologists, and a couple of active teachers who've had prior contact with positive psychology, including one from the Strath Haven Project. It's been fun seeing my classmates and getting to know more...

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