Positive Psychology 

Positive psychological thinking has really emerged in the last 20 years, greatly influenced by the work of individuals such as Professor Martin Seligman.


To those unfamiliar with the term, in our field it means that we focus on building on people's strengths, and developing resilience rather than 'fixing things that are broken'. Analysing success and building on it is far more effective than constant preoccupation with analysing negatives.

Budding poppy flower with 'Flourish' printed across in yellow


Rating your happiness.

With people we may support in some way focusing on happiness rather than challenging behaviours may help develop a person to be more resilient. Atlass practitioners will routinely ask the people they support and their support staff to rate their happiness.


Here are 2 useful questions: 

Question 1) In general how happy do you feel right this moment?

Rate this using the following scale. 10 point scale ranging from 10= feeling ecstatic, joyous, fantastic to 0= utterly depressed or completely down

Now rate the following:

Question 2)  On average what percentage of the time do you feel happy

For question 1 the average answer = 6.9

For question 2 the average is 54%

How did you do?

(adapted from Fordyce, 1998)


The concept of happiness has been debated by many philosophers. Happiness has been the subject of a great deal of international research.

Happiness is a ‘state of being’ it is much more than doing things that just bring a smile to your face.

There is a huge quantity of international research in this area and even an academic journal about happiness.  Higher ratings of happiness are associated with longevity and may help prevent diseases such as coronary heart disease and even some cancers

What can we do to enhance our sense of happiness?

40% of happiness may be determined by intentional activities, 50% genetic and 10% life circumstances (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade, 2005). So there is a great deal we can do to develop our own happiness.

Targeting happiness is also possible. Am I happier now than last year or the year before?

Identify the key activities or situations that promote happiness and focus on doing more of them.

Positive Recording: An Atlass Tip 

People are often asked to analyse and record behaviours of the people we support. Much of this involves looking at negative situations (swearing, physical behaviours). The same recording system can be used to analyse positive interactions (acts of kindness, smiling, other forms of happiness). The very act of doing this can lead to profound changes in how we view an individual. 

Back of Andy McDonnell's head with blurred faces in background