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

Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Positive Psychology

The Section on Positive Psychology has two yearly awards:

  • Student Award for Distinguished Contributions to Positive Psychology

  • Shane J. Lopez Award for Professional Contributions in Positive Psychology

These awards were established to honor the contributions of students and psychologists in the science, practice, and teaching of positive psychology.


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

If you choose to nominate someone other than yourself, please do so by March 8th. The Awards Committee will contact the nominee to let them know and to encourage them to submit the application materials. The deadline for submitting application materials is April 15th. 


·      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 (rhea.owens@und.edu)

Please include "Positive Psychology Award" in the subject of your email. 

 Announcement of the award winners will be made at the annual APA Convention and announced on the Section on Positive Psychology and Division 17 listservs.