70244 - Clinical Applications of Positive Psychology.

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Chiara Ruini
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: M-PSI/08
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Clinical psychology (cod. 0990)

Learning outcomes

Positive Psychology is a new line of research, which is being developing only in recent years. Positive Psychology is aimed to study issues which have been neglected for a long time, such as psychological well-being, quality of life, optimal human functioning, happiness, optimism, etc..Students in this course will learn the most recent topics related to Positive Psychology, with particular emphasis on their applications in clinical psychology.

Course contents

  1. Historical and philisophical background of Positive Psychology
  2. Subjective well-being and life satisfaction
  3. Positive emotions and their role in human development
  4. psychological well-being
  5. Positive mental health and its implications for psychotherapies
  6. Well-Being Therapy
  7. Positive interpersonal relationships: altruisn, love and empathy
  8. Strategies for improving optimism
  9. Strategies for improving hope  ant its role in the clinical process
  10. Gratitude and spirituality: their role in promoting mental and physical health
  11. Forgiveness, Wisdom and psychotherapeutic strategies
  12. Post-traumatic Growth and psychotherapies
  13. Strategies for improving resilience
  14. the concept of flow and otpimal experience
  15. biological and genetic substrates of optimal human functioning
The course will take place during the second semester (March-June) at the Cesena Campus of the School of Psychology and Education (address: Pzza Aldo Moro, 90, Cesena -FC)


Chiara Ruini. Positive Psychology in the Clinical Domains. Research and Practice. Springer International Publishing, 2017.

ISBN978-3-319-52110-7 DOI10.1007/978-3-319-52112-1

Available at: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319521107


ALTERNATIVELY students can use the following books, together with the slides presented during classes 

Alex M. Wood, Judith Johnson: The Wiley Handbook of Positive Clinical Psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2016.

ISBN: 9781118468241 DOI: 10.1002/9781118468197

Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9781118468197

Fava GA, Ruini C. Increasing Psychological well-being in Clinical and Educational Settings. Springer, 2014

David SA, Boniwell D., Conley Ayers A. : The Oxford Handbook of Happiness, Oxford University Press, 2013. Chapters: 3, 10, 14, 15, 18, 25, 43, 46, 47, 67, 68, 69, 73, 74, 77

Joseph, S. (Ed) Positive Psychology in Practice. 2nd Edition. New York , Wiley, 2015. Capitoli: 2,5,10, 28,29,30,31,33,34,38, 46

Optional readings:

Sheldon KM, Lucas RE (eds). Stability of Happiness. Academic Press, Elsevier,2014. capitoli: 2, 5, 8,12

Snyder C, Lopez S. (Eds) Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002. Chapters: 4,5,7,9,17,19,32,33,34,35,37,39,47

Magyar-Moe JL: Therapist's Guide to Positive Psychological Interventions. Academic Press, Elsevier, 2009

Slides of the lectures are available on internet

Teaching methods

  • Lectures with Power Point Presentation.
  • Case exemplifications and role-playing
  • team work
  • journal club
  • confrence presentations: video and scientific discussions on updated topics and reserch in positive psychology

This is an interactive course, where students will be directly involved in group discussion on the main topics of positive psychology. students will learn how to use tests and assessment tools for measuring personal well-being and resourses.

Role playng and case siscussion will be organized throughout the classes, in order to learn strategies of interventions within the positive psychology perspectives.

At least one seminar or workshop with international experts in positive psychology will be scheduled.  

Active participation to the classes will allow students to learn theories and concepts of positive psychology and to directly practice their applications in various types of interventions. 

Students who will attend 2/3 of classes (at least 30 hours) could choose to be involved in a group work (2-4 students), consisting in preparing a short essay on a selected topic and in presenting it to the class.This group work is considered part of the final exam and will count for 2/3 on their final evaluation.



Assessment methods

The final evaluation will consist in a written exam (test) with 28 multiple choice questions  + 1 open question regarding the topics included in the textbook and discussed in class. Each correct answer will count 1 point (max 28/30) and the open question will count fo a max of 3 points. Students who will provide corrected answers to all multiple choice questions and who will provide a detailed answer to the open question could have a maximum grade of 30/30 cum Laude 

Only for students attending at leat 30 hour class: students could either choice the test or to be involved in a team work (2-4 students) for preparing a brief dissertation/essay on a  specific Positive Psychology topic  and then presenting it to the class.This group work is considered part of the final exam and will count for 2/3 on their final evaluation (1/3 is for preparation and writing of the essay; 1/3 for its presentation to the class) . The essay will be evaluated considering originality, methodological issues and coherence in its writing and presentation (i.e.,  introduction, methods, main results and conclusions). During the final exams , students involved in the group work will have to provide an integrative, individual evaluation (1/3 of the final grade) consisting in one oral question on a selected topic included in the textbook. the final evaluation will merge the group work evaluation and the individual part, for a maximun grade of 30/30 cum laude

To take the exam, students must enroll through AlmaEsami online service within the deadline. For any concerns and questions please contact the International Relations Office.



Teaching tools

Handouts and power point presentations available on internet (AlmaDL Campus)

Team work, bibliographic search and essay writing

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Chiara Ruini


Good health and well-being

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.