(Online Via Zoom) Wellbeing Practices for Lawyers

Martin Seligman Ph D. is a past President of the American Psychological Association and is the father of modern “positive psychology”. Today he is the Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center.  His work has focused on the question of what leads to a good life. In 2002 he published the book “Authentic Happiness, Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment”. In this book he included a section addressing “Why are Lawyers so Unhappy?”. “Positive Psychology sees three principal causes of the demoralization among lawyers”. The first is pessimism, as in having a pessimistic explanatory style.  The second is low decision latitude (i.e. you believe you have a limited number of choices in your work) in high stress situations. The third: “To the extent that the job of lawyering now consists of more win-loss games, there is more negative emotion in the daily life of lawyers.”

Seligman’s prescription for “Countering Lawyer Unhappiness” includes the following recommendation: “Every law firm should discover what the particular signature strengths of their associates are…. Exploiting these strengths will make the difference between a demoralized colleague and an energized, productive one. Reserve five hours of the work week for “signature strength time”, a nonroutine assignment that uses individual strengths in the service of the firm’s goals.”

Detailed Information

Highlights of the course include:

  • Understanding the building blocks of a flourishing life, based on Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Model and his PERMA Model of flourishing.
  • Using the VIA Character Strengths assessment to explore your own Signature Strengths. Participants will be expected to have completed the free VIA Character Strengths assessment prior to the workshop and to bring their results with them.
  • Exploring how to have greater engagement with your own Signature Strengths at work.
  • The concept of the positivity ratio (Barbara Fredrickson) & thinking about how to increase the amount of positive emotion that you experience in your life.
  • When you get triggered and stressed, when anxiety rises, your perspective narrows, you get tunnel vision. There are simple worksheets that can be used by anyone to gain greater perspective and increase your options. The workshop will teach participants how to use the ActivInsight worksheet (Andrew Bernstein, The Myth of Stress).
  • This year of the Global Pandemic has forced change upon as all. It is important to learn to recognize the emotional impact of the crisis on each of us and how it is showing up in our lives and in our bodies. One simple practice to become more mindful of what is causing us stress and negative emotion is the RAIN Mindfulness practice promoted by Tara Brach.

Finally, when dealing with clients who may be stressed and caught up in negative emotion:

  • it is a healthy practice to have your own way to reflect on, and process, the interaction; and
  • in the helping professions, professionals often have a supervisory relationship to help process challenging work.

Registration Conditions

To view our registration conditions click HERE.