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Positive Psychology in the Czech Republic

The Czech Positive Psychology Centre (CPPC) was established in 2008 in Brno, Czech Republic.
The Centre organizes regular seminars,
lectures and workshops for students, professionals and public interested in positive psychology. The CPPC also promotes the research activities and develops international cooperation.
One of the feature activities of the Centre was co-organizing a Symposium on Positive Psychology with Martin Seligman which took place in Prague on June 29, 2010.

The CPPC organized the 1st Conference on Positive Psychology in the Czech Republic (CPPC 2012), held in Brno in May 23-24, 2012 and the 2nd International
Conference on Positive Psychology in the Czech Republic (CPPC 2013) held in Brno in May 22-24, 2013.

The number of original publications on Positive psychology in the Czech Republic is slowly increasing. We can also find many publications on Health psychology which are thematically very near to the issues of Positive psychology.

Jaro Krivohlavy is the author of the first book on Positive psychology (Krivohlavy, 2004) in Czech language. He published also the works on psychology of meaningfulness (2006), gratitude (2007) and wisdom (2008) and many other articles on related topics.
Alena Slezackova (2008, 2009, 2010) works on research of well-being, character strengths and posttraumatic growth. She has been teaching the course of Positive psychology at Dept. of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University since 2008. Alena is the author of the comprehensive monograph on Positive psychology in Czech language (Slezackova, 2012).
Vladimir Smekal (2007) has investigated spirituality with respect to Myers-Briggs personality and the dimensions of Sence of coherence.
Vladimir Kebza and Iva Solcova (2005) examined the predictors of well-being in a Czech population sample.
Marek Blatny (Blatny et al., 2004), led a series of discriminant validity investigations between personality dimensions, Self-esteem, Life satisfaction and gender.
Jiri Mares (Mares, 2008, 2012) publishes on the quality of life at childhood and the posttraumatic growth.

 

TEACHING POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC


Positive psychology (PP) has been taught by Dr. Alena Slezackova in the Dept. of Psychology at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, since the spring of 2008.
This distinct, optional course has been taught every week for 2 hours, i.e. 24 hours per semester as a whole, and has currently passed 365 students of psychology. The PP course teaching methods comprise of lectures, exercises and class discussions. Every lesson starts with introductory questions and answers, followed by a lecture on a particular topic with exercises and discussion, and ending with a summary.
The aim of the course is to provide students with a general overview of PP by covering a wide range of researched topics including: historical and philosophical foundation of PP, happiness and positive emotions, mindfulness and flow, optimism, hope, gratitude, forgiveness, character strengths and virtues, positive education, posttraumatic growth, and positive psychotherapy. Students gain practical knowledge of how to foster positive traits and facilitate wellness in themselves and others.
They learn how to encourage optimism, hope, flow, and fulfillment. Even though each topic is presented separately, mutual connections and relations between the topics are emphasized. The use of the positive psychology approach in counseling, clinical psychology, education and work is also highlighted. Practical exercises and homework (gratitude letter, 3 good things, etc.) play an important role in enhancing learning from one’s own experience. We encourage a critical approach through informed discussions with particular emphasis on each student’s ideas and opinions.
Students read primary source materials and books written by major researchers in the field. We also use journals (The Journal of Positive Psychology, Journal of Happiness Studies, etc.) and  online teaching sources (Positive Psychology Centre website and other online materials). As the majority of materials are in English we have created the website on positive psychology in the Czech language. There one can find basic information, recommended books and articles, and internet links as well as information on conferences and other events in positive psychology.
The course is completed by colloquium. It requires active participation of students during seminars and writing an essay on a selected topic specified in advance. Students make a verbal evaluation of the course at the last lesson. 
We firmly believe that teaching PP is invaluable at the undergraduate level of psychology, social science and education.