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Course: The Optimistic Child
by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman

CE Credit Hours: 11
Fee: $55

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A Program to Safeguard Children against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience

In the Optimistic Child, Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman offers parents, teachers and coaches a well-validated program to prevent depression in children. In a thirty-year study, Seligman and his colleagues discovered the link between pessimism--dwelling on the most catastrophic cause of any setback-and depression. Seligman shows adults how to teach children the skills of optimism that can help them combat depression, achieve more on the playing field and at school, and improve their physical health.

As Seligman states in his new afterword for this edition, 'Teaching children optimism is more, I realized, than just correcting pessimism--It is the creation of a positive strength, a sunny but solid future-mindedness that can be deployed throughout life--not only to fight depression and come back from failure, but also to be the foundation of success and vitality.'

Adapted from The Optimistic Child.

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the clinician will be able to:

  • Identify factors that have contributed to the current epidemic of depression in the United States and other countries.
  • Articulate how optimism protects against depression.
  • Explain the development of optimism, how to identify and measure true optimism.
  • Understand and clarify for others the link between depression and explanatory style.
  • Teach strategies for changing explanatory style in order to promote increased optimism and decreased depression.
  • Therapeutically increase optimism, promote a mastery process on task completion and to enhance social skill training for children.

Syllabus / Course Instructions

  • The Course consists of reading the selected book, successfully completing an online posttest and filling out a course evaluation.
  • The book is not included. It must be purchased separately. We have supplied a link to Amazon.com for your convenience.
  • Purchasing your course will give you access to both a printable copy of the test and an online version. Print the test to use as a companion as you read the book and answer the questions.
  • You cannot exit the online test once you begin, so have your answers available.
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Bio: Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman received his A.B., Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude (Philosophy), in 1964 and his Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania (Psychology), in 1967.

His research on helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism, has been on the forefront of positive psychology. He is currently the Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

His bibliography includes more than 20 books and 170 articles on motivation and personality. Among his better-known works are Learned Optimism(Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can't(Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Learned Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993) and Abnormal Psychology (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995, with David Rosenhan).
Dr. Seligman's research and writing has been broadly supported by a number of institutions including The National Institute of Mental Health (continuously since 1969), the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His research on preventing depression received the MERIT Award of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1991. He is the network director of the Positive Psychology Network and Scientific Director of the Values-in-Action Project of the Mayerson Foundation.

In 1996 Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association, by the largest vote in modern history. His primary aim as APA President was to join practice and science together so both might flourish a goal that has dominated his own life as a psychologist. His major initiatives concerned the prevention of ethno political warfare and the study of Positive Psychology.

Since 2000 his main mission has been the promotion of the field of Positive Psychology. This discipline includes the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. As the science behind these becomes more firmly grounded, Dr. Seligman is now turning his attention to training Positive Psychologists, individuals whose practice will make the world a happier place.