POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY FOR SUDENTS
Dr. Janet Schrager, a clinical psychologist, and Mara Stewart, a psychology major at Dartmouth College, offer positive psychology workshops to high school and college students to improve their well-being and academic success. Both certified as positive psychology practitioners, the duo teaches students empirically proven positive psychology tactics to improve resilience, reduce negative self-talk, develop growth mindsets, reduce stress and anxiety, and more. They especially emphasize positive psychology tools that are proven to improve academic performance.
Dr. Schrager and Mara combine hands-on activities, empirical data, and collaborative discussions to create an ideal balance between lecture, discussion, and practice activities. Dr. Schrager’s thirty years of experience working as a clinical psychologist with high school students, combined with Mara’s youthful energy and ability to relate to the stress and academic pressures of high school and college students alike, make these two an effective, perfectly complementary teaching pair.
"I attended a positive psychology workshop, offered by Janet Schrager and Mara Stewart, that was part of a community wellness afternoon at my school. Attendees were asked to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths in advance of the session and to bring our assessments to the workshop to learn how to use our top strengths to improve our lives. Dr. Schrager and Mara concentrated on teen-focused scenarios designed to help students learn techniques to develop a positive mindset and to reduce stress. They presented this information in a way that people of all ages could apply to their lives. The concepts of growth mindset versus fixed mindset and how positive psychology concentrates on strengthening what is right with you rather than fixing what is wrong with you were an “aha” moment for me. The techniques suggested for using positive psychology to improve one’s life and “build a good muscle for happiness” are easy to remember and put to use, i.e. recording your wins, expressing gratitude, and viewing situations as opportunities, rather than threats.I highly recommend this workshop.”
- Paula Barrows, an administrator at Choate Rosemary Hall, describes Dr. Schrager and Mara’s presentation.
Janet and Mara met while participating in a positive psychology certification program. Having bonded over a common desire to teach positive psychology to adolescents, the two decided to combine their shared skills and interests to disseminate positive psychology tools and strategies to high school and college students.
They have launched a series of positive psychology workshops in high schools around Connecticut that have been well received by both students and administrators.
Mara is a junior at Dartmouth College. She conducts research in the psychology and brain sciences department, and she is in the process of creating a Positive Psychology Club at school. From December 2017 to March 2018, she interned at The Flourishing Center, a positive psychology-based organization in New York. This summer, she will be a positive psychology research intern at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
In high school, her happiness took a major hit, because her sole priority was her GPA. She neglected her friends, her family, and even her personal wellbeing. Once she went to college, she promised herself that she would no longer live that unhappy, unbalanced lifestyle. She read positive psychology books, which transformed her life by improving relationships with her friends and family. Her wellbeing improved and so did her academic performance. Looking back on high school, she wishes she could have learned these skills earlier. They would have helped her cope with the pressures of being a student. She wants to share with other students so that they can flourish.