Positive psychology is growing fast as an internationally respected discipline.
Encouragingly, more and more Positive Psychology Conferences are held worldwide each year as neuroscience and practice evolve.
In this article, we look at one of the largest and best-known—the European Conference on Positive Psychology.
This article contains:
The Goals of the Conference
The European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) is held once every two years at a different location in Europe. Organized by the European Network for Positive Psychology (ENPP), it is one of the best places to hear about the latest developments in the field—often from the researchers themselves.
But as well as the presentations, the ECPP is a great opportunity to network and connect with other practitioners while attending. Each event is centered on different goals, with the 10th ECPP being held in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik in 2020.
While the precise schedule is still being constructed, we do already know that the focus of the 10th European Conference is the science of wellbeing, and how we can apply it. As such, we can expect to hear about the latest developments in the field and how practitioners worldwide are using these findings to guide their work.
Based on previous conferences, we can also reasonably anticipate valuable perspectives and input from educators and coaches, as well as scholars and sociologists.
About the European Network for Positive Psychology (ENPP)
The European Network of Positive Psychology (ENPP) is a community of practicing professionals, academics, and leading names in Positive Psychology. United by a shared interest in the field and its developments, the ENPP also welcomes practitioners and researchers in other fields. As findings and developments continue to come to the fore, the practical implications are becoming more relevant across a wider variety of disciplines.
The ENPP’s vision as a non-profit organization is to “increase the prevalence of flourishing in the world” (ENPP, 2019). To achieve this, the ENPP seeks to encourage and foster collaboration and cooperation among European practitioners.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is an important aim of the ENPP, and past conferences have seen speakers and participants from wide-ranging fields sharing their knowledge. Perhaps most encouragingly of all, there is no subscription fee to join the ENPP.
The ENPP’s overarching aim is to connect and unite sectors in accordance with the UN’s goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) to achieve greater wellbeing in the world (ENPP, 2019; UN.org, 2019). To achieve their aim, the ENPP aspires to close the gaps between research, the way we practice, and the general public. You can learn more about the ENPP mission, vision, and values.
Main Takeaways From Past Conferences
As we prepare, and to give some context, here is a recap of the main takeaways from the past few ECPP events, by year.
2018 Budapest: 9th ECPP
The most recent conference was held in Budapest, Hungary, with a focus on “Positive Psychology for a Flourishing Europe in Times of Transitions”. This saw a number of wide-ranging topics discussed, from mindfulness and engagement to strengths, coaching, relationships, and beyond.
- Playing Positive Psychology: Using tangible tools and facilitation methods in positive education. This session looked at ‘positive psychology interventions’, or PPIs and their growing importance in promoting and maintaining happiness. More specifically, it discussed the growing evidence that education on practical tools and facilitation approaches may help to better integrate PPIs into the daily lives of youth audiences.
- Disadvantaged and disconnected: How can positive education reach and be relevant for the teachers, schools, and students who need it most? Led by Drs. Quinlan and Roffey, and facilitated by a host of different global presenters, this workshop centered on two things. First, how positive education is impacting disadvantaged (lower socioeconomic status) communities and schools. And second, how it can be adapted and improved to be more accessible and relevant in these settings.
- The Science and Art of Mindfulness in Education: Initiatives, Outcomes, and Challenge. Presenters from Iceland and Israel discussed the latest mindfulness-based approaches, frameworks, and initiatives. It looked at how these play a role in helping children and students build resilience, how it influences their self-efficacy and its other impacts. Inferences and implications for educators and parents were also considered.
- Character strengths in the context of positive schooling: Focusing on students and teachers. As the workshop title suggests, this was a look at the different ways that strengths can play a role in education to promote wellbeing, manage classrooms effectively, and how they impact others. The scope of the session was focused on the implications and practice for educators and students.
- Meaningfulness, purpose, and engagement in schools: Resources, perspectives, and challenges. This session considered how meaning in life plays an important part in a positive development, for youths and students, and teachers. Topics included a deeper look at how autonomy support of students impacted engagement and wellbeing.
- Facilitate resilience among children through their immediate environment. In this session, academics and practitioners shared their research and insights from various projects for building children’s’ resilience.
- Facilitate resilience among children and adolescents. Where the previous session looked at immediate environments in encouraging kids’ resilience, this looked a little more closely at strengths, meaningfulness in life, support, and awareness.
- Engaging ‘everyone’: Engagement in different student populations and families. Concepts discussed included the idea of a positive CV (curriculum vitae of skills) and its implications, students’ sense of belonging, and self-determination.
- Relationships as professional skills. An interactive workshop based on the International Child Development programme, which discussed concepts such as socio-emotional intelligence, inclusiveness, and cohesion. This also looked at ways to sensitize psychologists, teachers, and educators who are working with families.
- The Battle against Boredom. This session looked at the negative effects of boredom on students’ wellbeing, education, and health. Also introduced was a positive psychology-based framework for students to overcome this boredom, learn better, and thrive.
- Strength-based coaching in schools: Supporting teachers’ and students’ best possible selves. Positive and cognitive psychology both informed a coaching framework to aid students and teachers in developing to be their very best selves. In this session, participants learned about how the tool can be used and its effects.
2016 Angers: 8th ECPP
The 8th ECPP in Angers, France, had a similarly wide scope of topics related to positive psychology. These were:
- Childhood and Youth – covering topics such as strengths-based parenting and building wellbeing in youth;
- Coaching and Interventions – including the latest work on systemic change through positive psychology and coaching;
- Cross-Cultural Approach – symposia on topics such as good criticism in positive psychology and job satisfaction;
- Education – featuring the latest work on academic transitions, student adjustment in social settings, and resilience;
- Flourishing – a keynote on what factors contributing to people’s flourishing and discussion on designing programs for the same;
- Health and Positive Aging – which looked at several topics such as the relationship between the concept of time and resilience, factors inhibiting gratitude;
- Health and Wellness – main themes included relationships between marital satisfaction, relationships, and character strengths, as well as genetics and happiness;
- Mental Health and Therapies – featuring research on positive psychology in response to psychological treatments, as well as on strategies for resilience in the face of loss;
- Mindfulness – some neuroscientific research on brain changes in processing throughout and after mindfulness training, as well as mindfulness interventions in social work;
- Organization and Leadership – symposia looking at character strengths at work, and wellbeing, and in nursing professions;
- Passions – the role of passions in adaptive self-processes was discussed in a keynote;
- Physical Health and Exercise – including topics such as motivation in young athletes’ wellbeing, and a workshop on challenges and applications for sports psychology practitioners;
- Research Methods – some interesting developments in methods for looking at Flow, in particular;
- Social Change – including an invited symposium on communities and building connections in them, as well as the social values of friendliness and friendship;
- Social Work – looking at capitalizing on strengths in motherhood and other various contexts, and also at life-skills programs; and
- Strength – a collection of discussions, presentations, and a keynote talk on unresolved issues in this field of research, as well as strength-based development toolkits.
The complete book of abstracts for the 2016 ECPP is available from the Carco Group, organizers of the conference (Carco, 2016).
The Upcoming Conference: Reykjavik 2020
If you’re interested in when and where the 2020 10th ECPP will be, Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland. The conference will be held from the 24th of June and last until the 27th, at the city’s Harpan concert hall and conference center.
In the spirit of wellbeing and flourishing, you may find the long Icelandic summer daylight hours are the perfect setting for some new and novel experiences. That is, it’s not uncommon for the sun only to set for a few hours each night, according to Iceland Magazine (McMahon, 2018).
- AKCongress. (2018). BOOK OF ABSTRACTS: 9th European Conference on Positive Psychology. AKCongress.
- Carco. (2016). Abstract Book: ECPP 2016. Carco.
- ENPP. (2019). ENPP News. Retrieved from http://enpp.eu/2018/12/01/what-do-successful-grads-think-you-should-study/
- McMahon, S. (2018). How long are the summer days in Iceland?. Retrieved from https://icelandmag.is/article/how-long-are-summer-days-iceland
- UN.org. (2019). About the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/