Practitioner stream (The 'ippe practitioner conference')

Running simultaneously with the scientific streams, we will be running the annual practitioner conference for the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education.  This means that conference attendees will get two conferences for the price of one.  The practitioner component will be a single stream that will allow you to learn how to apply positive psychology and self-research to improving the human condition. The 90 minute workshops will be independent from each other, so you can move between the Practitioner and Scientific streams as suits your needs.

The practitioner stream will utilise a hands-on, workshop format.  This will give you a chance to learn how to put scientifically-grounded intervention research into practice. You will learn to positively influence the sense of self, and in doing so, to increase health and well-being, social connectedness, and effective action.  The workshops will illustrate the breadth of positive psychology and self-interventions, spanning the workplace, schools, and life.

Whilst the workshops will be oriented towards building skills, they will also present examples of how scientific discoveries where used to develop the interventions.

Workshops will be conducted by world leaders in positive psychology interventions. Click on the topics below to learn more:

  • DNA-v: A Developmental Model of Acceptance, Mindfulness and Positive Psychology
    By Dr Louise Hayes, Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
  • Creating Flourishing Lives:  The Utilisation of Positive Psychology for Proactive Personal Growth
    By Dr Suzy Green, CEO the Positivity Institute and Dr Jo Mitchell, AFL Players Association
  • A Collaborative Approach to Measuring and Building Youth Well-Being in a Municipality
    Prof Dianne Vella-Brodrick, Director, University of Melbourne Centre for Positive Psychology
  • Creating Groups That Thrive: Building Cooperation Within and Between Selves
    By Dr Paul Atkins, Institute of Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University
  • Building Resilience in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World: A Systems Approach to Personal, Team and Organisational Resilience
    Dr Michael Cavanagh, University of Sydney

Dr Louise Hayes

DNA-v: A Developmental Model of Acceptance, Mindfulness and Positive Psychology

Dr Louise Hayes Clinical Psychologist, MAPS, B.A., B.App.Sci (Hons), PhD (Clinical)
The University of Melbourne & Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health



Louise is a world expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) for young people and the co-author of the best-selling book, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teenagers: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life, and the new book for teachers, therapists and counsellors on ACT for young people, The Thriving Adolescent. Louise uses ACT with young people in schools and clinical settings. She is a clinical psychologist, peer reviewed ACT trainer, an academic, author and speaker.

Key aspects of Louise’s work:

  • ACT peer reviewed trainer conducting professional development for teachers, psychologists, counsellors, and professionals who work with young people.
  • Author of the best-selling book Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teenagers: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life. 
  • Author of the new book The Thriving Adolescent: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology to Help Teens Manage Emotions, Achieve Goals, and Build Connection
  • A senior fellow with Orygen Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health at The University of Melbourne. 
  • A fellow with the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS).
  • A clinical psychologist in private practice at The Elms Family Medical Centre in Bacchus Marsh Victoria.
  • An active philanthropist working to help disadvantaged people in Nepal.

ACT with young people is energising, engaging and helps young people with personal development and growth.

Workshop Description

The brief workshop will give participants an introduction to a unique developmental model of acceptance, mindfulness and positive psychology called DNA-v. DNA-v is a youth model that distils cutting edge science and theory into simple processes that can help young people live well. It is underpinned by contextual behavioural science, and uses applied work from acceptance and commitment therapy as well as positive psychology. The model maps easily to best practice social and emotional learning standards and has been well received by teachers and school staff. This workshop will walk participants through brief experiences using the model so they can clearly understand the processes that underpin DNA-v and at the same time provide insight into the research and empirical support behind it.

DNA-V is designed to enrich people’s lives and fundamentally transform the way and they handle difficult thoughts, feelings, and situations. This simple model helps you to teach people to:

  • Deal effectively with stress and negative feelings
  • Develop more effective strategies for handling difficult situations
  • Improve performance
  • Develop functional self-concepts
  • Develop self-compassion
  • Build deeper, more satisfying relationships
  • Engage in the six patterns of activity that build well-being and vitality.

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Dr. Suzy Green

Creating Flourishing Lives: The Utilisation of Positive Psychology for Proactive Personal Growth

Dr. Suzy Green D.Psyc.(Clin.) MAPS
Founder & CEO, The Positive Institute


Dr Suzy Green is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS) and Founder of The Positivity Institute, a positively deviant organisation dedicated to the research and application of Positive Psychology for life, school and work.

Suzy is a leader in the complementary fields of Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology, having conducted a world-first study on evidence-based coaching as an Applied Positive Psychology. Suzy was the recipient of an International Positive Psychology Fellowship Award and has published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Suzy lectured on Applied Positive Psychology as a Senior Adjunct Lecturer in the Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney for ten years and is an Honorary Vice President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology.

Suzy also currently holds Honorary Academic positions at the Institute for Positive Psychology & Education (IPPE), Australian Catholic University, the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), University of Melbourne and the Black Dog Institute. Suzy is also an Affiliate of the Institute for Well-Being, Cambridge University.

Suzy was the “Stress-less Expert” for Australian Women’s Health Magazine for 8 years and maintains a strong media profile appearing regularly on television, radio and in print.

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Dr Jo Mitchell

Creating Flourishing Lives: The Utilisation of Positive Psychology for Proactive Personal Growth

Dr Jo Mitchell
Director & C0-Founder, The Mind Room


Jo is a clinical psychologist who works with individuals and groups seeking to achieve valued life goals, find meaning and live well. She works with professionals experiencing mental illness, burnout, or struggling to manage stress in their lives. She also has a specialist interest in working with athletes, particularly managing athletic and life transitions, mental illness and wellbeing, and has 20+ years experience in the sport industry. Jo also has expertise in wellbeing science - including positive psychology, ACT and mindfulness - and completed her PhD in this field. Jo is MindMax Project Leader for the AFL Players Association on a Movember funded wellbeing and resilience digital project. She is Science Advisor for Band4Hope and on the Board of Action for Happiness Australia.

Workshop Description

Positive Psychology is defined as the science of optimal human functioning.  In this workshop, Dr Suzy Green will provide an overview of the science specifically relating to its impact on proactive personal growth.  Suzy will highlight the utilisation of positive psychology theory and associated evidence-based tools and techniques to support individual self-awareness and self-development for enhanced well-being, resilience and growth.

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Prof. Dianne Vella-Brodrick

A Collaborative Approach to Measuring and Building Youth Well-Being in a Municipality

Prof. Dianne Vella-Brodrick
Academic, Melbourne Graduate School of Education


Dianne Vella-Brodrick (PhD) is a Professor at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia and adjunct in the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University. She was the Director of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program which is part of the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne (2013-2015). Dianne is a registered psychologist and a Member of the Australian Psychological Society. She founded the Positive Psychology Network in Australia and is Secretary of the International Positive Psychology Association and Chair of the IPPA Membership Committee. Dianne is an Editor in Chief of the Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research and Practice journal and founded and co-directed multiple Australian positive psychology conferences. She has published widely, presents regularly at conferences and has received over 2.5 million dollars of research funding. She serves on numerous research advisory boards, regularly reviews scientific papers for leading journals and has examined over 20 research dissertations. Dianne’s research interests include the development and evaluation of well-being programs, particularly in the areas of positive education and workplace well-being. She specialises in innovative mixed method designs which utilise the latest technology, with a special focus on young people. She also integrates ethical and professional practice issues in much of her work and has extensive experience with scale development and psychometric testing.

Panel Description

Panelists: Tan-Chyuan Chin, Adam Cooper, Edwina Ricci and Dianne Vella-Brodrick

This panel will introduce the collaborative approach undertaken in Maroondah City Council to measure and build well-being in young people. Through the use of ‘The Well-being Profiler’ developed by The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Positive Psychology, Maroondah City Council has obtained invaluable data on the well-being of nearly 5000 young people, and is now working with the Centre and 19 local schools to collectively build well-being. This session will introduce the integrative theoretical approach of The Well-being Profiler to measure key indicators - protective and risk factors - of youth well-being. An overview of the needs analysis study conducted in the Maroondah network of 19 schools in Victoria, Australia, will be presented and discussed. The survey results have highlighted young people’s strengths and areas of concern, and will be able to inform further policy planning and resource allocation to foster a community of young people who identify with a vision of hope and meaning that transcends their personal space. Broad implications of research findings and recommendations for schools and community youth services will also be discussed.

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Dr. Paul Atkins

Creating Groups That Thrive: Building Cooperation Within and Between Selves

Dr. Paul Atkins
Institute of Positive Psychology and Education


Dr Paul Atkins is a facilitator, coach, researcher and trainer.  He has over twenty years’ experience facilitating 1000’s of groups and individuals to improve resilience and stress management, situational awareness, cooperation and conflict management. He is a member of the design team implementing PROSOCIAL in schools, businesses, community and public groups around the world.  Paul is Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (ACU). He holds competitive grants investigating resilience in the NSW Police Force, the NSW school system and a large hospital network. His research is focused on the use of resilience training to reduce stress while enhancing relationships, wellbeing, perspective taking and cooperation.  He has recently published a volume on Mindfulness in Organisations (CUP, 2017) and his work has appeared in the world’s leading psychology and management journals.  Paul is a registered organisational psychologist with endorsement by the Australian Psychological Society. He is on the editorial board for the Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science and president of the Australia and New Zealand Association for Contextual Behavioural Science.

Workshop Description

This workshop will introduce a new tool for fostering awareness, perspective-taking, resilience and purposeful action in individuals and groups. The tool draws upon evidence from mindfulness, behaviour change, social psychology, political science and evolutionary biology to create new insight into the dynamics of groups and the individuals within them.  This is a wholly new implementation of the PROSOCIAL process, an approach for enhancing leadership and teamwork in the face of adversity and conflict. PROSOCIAL builds capacity to see difficult experiences in context and make more effective decisions in line with team values. It has been used in contexts as diverse as stopping the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and enhancing performance in Australian government agencies.  This workshop is important for the Self conference because it ultimately targets a new understanding of self in the context of relationships with others. The workshop will be useful for coaches, facilitators or indeed anyone who aims to help individuals or groups thrive.  At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to immediately apply the tool to improving both their own lives and the functioning of the groups to which they are committed.

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Dr Michael Cavanagh

Building Resilience in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World: A Systems Approach to Personal, Team and Organisational Resilience

Dr Michael Cavanagh
Deputy Director, Coaching Psychology Unit at University of Sydney


Michael is an internationally recognized Academic, Practitioner and consultant in the field of coaching psychology. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Sydney (Australia) and Visiting Professor at the Institute of work based learning at Middlesex University (UK). Michael’s teaching focuses on preparing coaches to work with leaders and teams in complex settings. As a practitioner and consultant, he has coached leaders and managers at all levels from a diverse range of public and private, national and multinational organizations, both in Australia and internationally. He leads the coaching team on the Helmsman Project – a charity that aims to build hope self-regulation and resilience in at risk adolescents through adventure education and developmental coaching.  He is the principal author of the Standards Australia Handbook of Organisational Coaching – one of the world’s first ISO aligned National guidelines for the training of coaches and the provision of coaching services. Michael’s passion is assisting leaders, organisations and individuals to understand and address complex challenges in ways that increase the sustainability of the organisation, its people and the planet

Workshop Description

Resilience, the capacity to bounce back following stress and adversity, is an increasingly important component of personal and organisational sustainability. However, it is also commonly thought of as a fundamentally personal capacity, and training is typically aimed at building our individual psychological capacity to deal with stress and challenge.  In this mini workshop, Dr Michael Cavanagh will present a new approach to building resilience – one that sees resilience as function of the whole system. In organisations, this means that resilience has personal, team and organisational level aspects, each of which need to be addressed if truly lasting and sustainable resilience is to be developed. Participants will be introduced to a range of tools and activities that can be used to build resilience in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

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