Division 17 Section on Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the scientific study of human strengths and virtues. It involves an attempt to move toward a more balanced perspective on human functioning that considers motives, capacities, and human potentials. Counseling Psychology historically and presently continues to be one of the few disciplines that highlights the values of fostering human capacities, satisfaction, and well-being. In some form Counseling Psychology always has been a vital part of promoting good health and preventing disease, including mental, physical, and social disorders for individuals and communities. It is in the context that this Section was formed. The aim of the this group is to focus on how Counseling Psychology fosters and builds human strength and well-being and in pursuing this endeavor, furthers the development of positive psychological science and practice. This site includes information about positive psychology research, teaching, and practice as well as events, strengths based books, and resources.

Section on Positive Psychology Leadership Positions

The Section on Positive Psychology for the Society of Counseling Psychology is accepting nominations for several of our leadership positions.

These are two-year positions. We have a great team that works hard and has a lot of fun, so don’t hesitate to nominate yourself! If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else, please contact Rhea Owens at rowens[at]uwsp.edu. Nominations are due by June 12th. Individuals who are nominated by someone other than himself or herself will be contacted via email.

Nominees will be asked to email their CV along with a 500 word statement of interest regarding their nomination for the specific position they are interested in by June 30th. Please also email this to rowens[at]uwsp.edu. 

In addition to the specific duties outlined below, all individuals holding leadership positions in the Section participate in quarterly conference calls and ideally attend the business meeting at the annual APA convention. We will formally announce the names of the new leadership members at the Section’s Business Meeting during the annual APA convention in August. We will also announce our new leadership through the listserv. The open position descriptions are:

Chair-Elect (Open to Section Members*)

The Chair-Elect largely assists the Chair and completes any additional duties assigned. This could involve arranging meetings, organizing conference materials, and assisting other members.  

Research Representative (Open to Section Members or Affiliates**)

The Research Representative will coordinate student poster proposals for the APA convention, gather and disseminate research information and resources to the section, and other duties as assigned by the Section Chair.

Teaching Representative (Open to Section Members or Affiliates**)

The Teaching Representative will gather and disseminate teaching resources and information to the section and other duties as assigned by the Section Chair. 



Section on Positive Psychology Distinguished Contributions Awards: Call for Nominations

The Section on Positive Psychology requests nominations for the following two Section-sponsored awards (one for students, one for psychologists):

Student Award for Distinguished Contributions to Positive Psychology 

Shane J Lopez Award for Professional Contributions in Positive Psychology

We highly encourage you to either self-nominate (don’t be shy!) or to nominate another student affiliate or member of Division 17 by sending an email to Rhea Owens (rowens[at]uwsp.edu) giving the nominee’s contact information.

If you choose to nominate someone other than yourself, please do so by JUNE 12th. The Awards Committee will contact the nominee to let her/him know and to encourage her/him to submit application materials. The deadline for submitting application materials is JULY 10th. 


  • The nominee must be either a current Member or Student Affiliate of the American Psychological Association.
  • The nominee must have made a significant contribution to the science, practice, clinical training, and/or teaching of positive psychology. Nominees may also be persons who divide their professional activities among each area.

Examples of contributions may include:

  • Contributions to science that are made through publication of either research findings or theory that generates research.
  • Contributions to practice that are made through direct service to clients or through research that has clear and immediate implications for direct service.
  • Contributions to teaching and/or training students in positive psychology.


Nominees will be asked to submit the following: a) an application letter indicating the significance of the nominee’s contributions and achievements in positive psychology (no more than three pages single-spaced); b) no more than two supporting letters from professional colleagues, collaborators, and/or psychologists; and c) a copy of the nominee’s vita.

SEND MATERIALS ELECTRONICALLY TO: Rhea Owens, Ph.D. (rowens[at]uwsp.edu)

Please collate application materials into one PDF document titled with nominee’s name and award name. For example: Kevin_Bacon_SPP_ student_distinguished_contribution.pdf

These awards for contributions to Positive Psychology were established to honor the contributions of students and psychologists in the science, practice, and teaching of counseling psychology. The award includes a cash prize of $200. Announcement of the award winners will be made at the annual APA Convention and announced on the Section listserv.