About Positive Psychology Reflections

Hi, I’m Kathryn Britton. I combine experience as a technical leader in information technology (IT) with a deep interest in people and what makes them flourish. Kathryn in the Ocelot catamaranRecently I completed a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree after studying the science of human flourishing for a very intense year. We explored wonderful topics such as subjective well-being, savoring, resilience, self-efficacy, character strengths, meaning in and at work, high-quality connections, and positive psychology in coaching.

Some people in positive psychology are particularly interested in empirical research that tests theories about what makes people’s lives go right and whether particular positive interventions work, but somebody has to create the positive interventions before they can be validated, and that’s more my line. I build on theory and empirical results, but I leave to others to do the meticulous empirical validation.

I retired from technology to put my entire focus on what makes life go well for people. I am particularly interested in how people flourish on the job. There are many actions we can all take without waiting for someone in authority to do it for us.

Theano Coaching Logo I have a coaching practice, Theano Coaching LLC, that I base both on extensive experience mentoring professionals at IBM and on what I learned with the MAPP program. I mentored many people at IBM – male, female, newcomers, experienced people, people from the United States and others from China, Taiwan, India, England and Germany. It’s one of the pleasures of working for a global company — chances to work with people from all over the world. I was also a member of the Program Committee for 5 North Carolina IBM Women in Technology conferences. Now I am on my own, but I haven’t forgotten how demanding corporate work can be, and I still understand how to run a company maze.

I am also a monthly contributor to Positive Psychology News Daily, a site that collects articles from various positive psychology practitioners reflecting on applications in their lives and businesses. I like to get involved in the discussions as well, so I’ve written a number of comments. July 2008: I’m now an associate editor. I help maintain the quality of the content and produce some of the indexing tools that help people find the articles that interest them. We have more than 250 articles written since January 2007 on a wide range of topics.

Positive Psychology News Daily Feed

For further information, email me at kathryn at theano-coaching dot com — thanks!

(Translate the ” at ” to @ and the ” dot ” to . — People present email addresses this way to thwart automatic spam generators.)


20 responses to “About Positive Psychology Reflections

  1. I have a client with a new book about happiness and gratitude that I think you’d be interested in. It is called “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Christian author and “positive psychologist” Dr. Robert Emmons. He spent eight years doing experiments on gratitude and is now revealing the extraordinary and encouraging results – thankful people are healthier and happier. Please help us spread the word to your blog audience about “Thanks!” and all the benefits – spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional – that come from adopting an “attitude of gratitude.” Check out the Web site for more information. “Thanks” is available on Amazon and anywhere books are sold.

  2. Kathryn

    Thanks, Alicia. I’ve read research by Dr. Emmons, and I’ve found him insightful and imaginative in addition to being a solid researcher.

    I was thinking about the downside of entitlement this morning — that it deprives people of the opportunity for gratitude. But maybe I’ll save that for my next post.


  3. Hi,

    Is there a way of subscribing to your blog so it appears in my inbox as an email. I would like to get all the new posts since I am enjoying it so much.


  4. Kathryn


    Thanks for the compliment and the suggestion. I think I can figure out how to make that possible for you. Give me a few days to crawl through the WordPress documentation.


  5. Kathryn


    I think I have email subscription working. Check out the Subscribe to … link in the right panel. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you.


  6. synapsesensations

    Hi Kathryn,
    I found your blog by checking the links of folks who had read my blog – thanks to the nifty WordPress feature of finding related posts.

    Smiled to see we are both in IT, though at very different levels. Congrads on forming your own (non-IT) company for consulting!

    If you are not already familiar with the TED Talks, you might enjoy this one by Martin Seligman: Why is psychology good?


  7. amanda

    suggestion: your email contact here..or somewhere on this site. your website (theano-coaching) appears to be down, so can’t touch base…

    best, A

  8. I follow your blog for quite a long time and must tell you that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

  9. Kathryn

    Why thank you! Writing a blog can sometimes feel like dropping words down a black hole, so it’s good to hear them reverberate around a little.

  10. Annette Gorden

    Can I ask where you received your degree? I’ve been looking at this field, but can’t seem to find too many educational options.

  11. Kathryn


    I received my MAPP degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I was in the first class to graduate from this program in 2006.

    There aren’t a lot of programs like this yet. There’s a 2 year program at the University of East London, a certificate program at the University in Mexico City, and I believe a program started in Italy.

    There’s a PhD program at Claremont Graduate University.

    I also found a program at Breyer State when I googled Positive Psychology university degrees, but I know nothing about it. http://www.breyerstate.com/masters-positive-psy.htm

    Why not contact the IPPA people to see if they have a comprehensive list (http://ippanetwork.org).

    Good luck.

  12. Hi Kathryn

    I was interested to hear that comment about writing a blog being like dropping your words into a black hole! I’ve had a little browse and liked so much the blog about the old keeping friendly with the young. Have a look at my website, it’s part of the Positive Psychology movement in Britain which is making slow but steady progress.

    Kind Regards

    • Marian,
      Thanks for the comment and the link — I’m glad to have another link to the Positive Psychology movement in Britain (where I was born). Good people and good happenings there.


  13. Amy Tardio

    Good luck outside of IT. How did you decide to do the Penn program? Was it worth it?

  14. Amy,
    Thanks for the good wishes.

    Deciding on the Penn program wasn’t an entirely rational process. I heard about it, I was intrigued, I was accepted, and I decided to go.

    For me, it has been very worth it. I had been looking for a direction change for a number of years, and the MAPP program helped me make it. Plus I’ve met hundreds of fascinating people — professors, students, people who have gotten into positive psychology in other ways, people who are just plain interested, people who are skeptical, … I miss my old partners at IBM, but I’ve found new partnerships out here.

    Thanks for asking.

  15. Rahul

    I am doing my master’s in psychology in india. I am very fascinated by positive psychology field. I would like to get your suggestion about requirement to get into the positive psychology. In other words,what kind preparation i need to apply apart from basic test(Gre or tofel) to get into the university like writing journals or working under professor etc?

  16. Rahul,
    If you mean, what do I do to prepare to apply to the Penn Masters program, I’d suggest that you check out the Web site and perhaps email the program directors. That is to say, I don’t know how to answer your questions. You might as well go to the source.

    Here’s the link: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/lps/graduate/mapp/

    It is an applied program, so I suspect that the admissions people will be more interested in ways that you could apply the knowledge than in previous publications. What are your work experiences? What domains of application do you understand particularly well?

    Good luck!

    • Ann


      Being a Psychologist, what is the interpretation as a character or trait of “balloon in the sky” and “gently swaying tree”.

      Thank you very much.

  17. Kathryn

    Say more. Are these meant to be metaphors for character traits? Are these meant to be objects that have certain traits? Not sure my imagination runs in these tracks.


  18. Bags

    hi there 🙂
    i want to particularly ask you what motivated you to switch from IT to Positive Psychology..
    were u interested in Research or being a counselor..
    Presently am doing my bachelors in Electronics…Can I do my Masters in a Technical field parallel to doing a Masters in Positive Psychology..
    Lastly, I have heard that often Harvard and Positive Psychology are associated together..Is getting admission to a program in the Psychology Department of Harvard a tough job ?
    Would be very grateful to get your replies 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s