Positive Psychology Lab @ AUS

What is Positive Psychology

Freud once said the goal of therapy was to turn misery into mundane unhappiness. Since then we have developed therapies and treatments that effectively counter mental illness. We have moved past unhappiness in many cases and have even cured a growing number of mental disorders. Along with the elimination of ill-being, we are also focusing on the building of well-being. We are asking a newer question - how can we help others live their best life?

Positive Psychology is the study of how individuals, families, and communities thrive. It is about the enhancement of well-being along with the reduction of ill-being. It is about identifying and amplifying what is good about us in pursuit of our best life. 

Common areas of study within positive psychology include character strengths, resilience, post-traumatic growth, grit, flow, well-being, and positive education. As we modernize the work of positive psychologists, one new area is gaining a great deal of attention - Positive Media Psychology. Positive Media Psychology is the psychological study of new and burgeoning technologies, including social media, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented realities, and teletherapy, and how these can be used as a positive tool for its users. 


Our Mission 

The Positive Psychology Lab is focused on the research and practice of strength-based psychology as a means to counter ill-being and to build resilience and well-being within individuals, families, and communities.

We are part of the larger mission at AUS to advance social, economic, and environmental justice.


Current Lab Activities

Ongoing Research (Dissertations and Small Group Projects)

Monthly Discussion Group (Topic Discussion + Strength-Based Clinical Case Consultation)

Recent Focus of Research and Discussions

Positive Media Psychology

Resilience, Empowerment, and Well-Being

Growth Mindset, Mindfulness, and Post Traumatic Growth

Strength-Based Interventions


Our Team

We are a group of graduate students and faculty in the Clinical PsyD Program at Antioch University Seattle. Along with the names below, other students participate in research, complete dissertations, and collaborate on community projects related to positive psychology. See Our Impact page to view these projects and publications. 

Christopher L. Heffner, PsyD, PhD - Faculty Director
Shirley Lo, MS - Doctoral Fellow (2022-2023)
Hannah Harrison, BS - Doctoral Fellow (2021-2022)
Ashley Turner, MSW - Doctoral Fellow (2020-2021)
Gracie Struthers, BA - Doctoral Fellow (2019-2020)
Kelle Agassiz, BA - Doctoral Fellow (2018-2019)