Applied Positive Psychology: Learning to Help People with IDD-MH Through Theory, Practice, & Technique with Dan Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

fall 2024 dates tbd

Registration will open soon!




March 6 to April 17, 2024 (No session on March 20)

Wednesdays 3:00-4:45 ET


This 6-week live, virtual course will provide attendees with the skills and tools needed to implement foundational positive psychology approaches within their respective practice settings, starting with themselves. A multi-modal instruction approach includes lectures, group discussion, demonstrations, and experiential learning through expressive writing and role-playing. This course is intended to promote the wellbeing of the attendees themselves, engaging in positive therapeutic practices so that the benefits attendees experience may be extended to the people they support and treat. There are no pre-requisites to register. 

Testimonial from Fall 2023 Participant

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to listen and learn from Dan and be given the time to reflect and apply what I have learned both professionally and personally."

About the Instructor

Dan Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP is a counseling psychologist, speaker, author of several books on positive psychology and mental health, and professor. He is the Academic Director and core faculty at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University. He speaks about alleviating depression with positive psychology and hope all over the world. He holds a PhD in psychology, an MFA in writing, and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He also has extensive experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disability. He developed Positive-Interactive Behavioral Therapy (P-IBT) and wrote a book about the closing of Willowbrook State School. His new book The Positivity Effect was recently released. Read more at

Dr. Tomasulo is the Gardner Award winner for the 2024 START National Training Institute.


$399 per person or $299 for members of the START Network or Certified Coordinator Network.

Who Should Participate? 

Masters-level professionals (or those with 3+ years of experience) who work within developmental and/or mental health settings. 

Why Participate? 

This course covers the latest research and practice in applied positive psychology and is tailored to use for people with IDD-MH. Participation allows you to keep abreast of the most useful evidence-based methods available.  


Razza, N. J., & Tomasulo, D. J. (2005). Healing trauma: The power of group treatment for people with intellectual disabilities. American Psychological Association. 

Tomasulo, D. J. (2014). Positive group psychotherapy modified for adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 18(4), 337-350. 



Session 1: Course Overview / Positive Emotions and Well-Being
• The history of positive psychology
• Understanding the various forms of positivity

Session 2: Flow and the Power of Engagement
• Cultivating flow
• Learning and using signature strengths as ways to enter the flow state
• Awareness as a tool for transformation
• Self-regulation, goal setting, and grit

Session 3: Relationships and Well-Being
• The Harvard study on Adult Development and the implications for well-being
• Strength spotting people at work
• Looking at your social atom in the past, present, and future.
• Making & maintaining high quality connections

Session 4: Purpose, Meaning, and Being Called
• Aligning our purpose with our strengths
• Moving from the present into a future you are meant to live in
• Using more pull than push

Session 5: What Does it Take to Feel Accomplished?
• Exploring passion
• Character strengths & a harmonious approach to achievement
• Emotional regulation & strategies for success
• Predictors of accomplishment

Session 6: Course Summary and Takeaways
• Positive Interactive Behavioral Therapy (P-IBT) demo
• Applied positive psychology show & tell
• Planning for the future

Course Learning Objectives: 

At the end of this course, participants will…. 

  • Identify the components that make up well-being from the PERMA model, and describe how positive emotions impact our body, brain, and immune system. 
  • Describe how standard positive psychology interventions may need to be modified for people with IDD-MH 
  • Describe a flow state and explain ways people can enter it. 
  • Explain how people with IDD-MH may need to use their character strengths to maintain and promote their wellbeing. 
  • Describe and demonstrate the active constructive way of responding to someone’s good news. 
  • Explain the ways people thrive if they have a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their life.  
  • Identify how passion, perseverance, and self-regulation are important to achievement. 
  • Identify responses to people with IDD-MH who are using obsessive passion as a form of coping. 

Continuing Education 

Successful completion of all six sessions in this course would equate to 1.05 UNH CEUs. 

A UNH digital badge is planned to be offered. More information will be posted here.