St George’s music hall played host to the fifth Bristol Happiness Lecture this year in a session about positive psychology responses to depression. On May 18, 2010 the speakers were positive psychologist Miriam Akhtar, GP / broadcaster Dr Phil Hammond and addictions specialist Dr Chris Johnstone. Chris Johnstone initially developed the series of lectures as part of his positive psychology programme at the University of Bristol.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The focus is on people wanting to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.
Chris Johnstone now focuses on teaching, training and writing but has previously spent years working as a doctor and an addictions specialist in the NHS. He fought for the rights of junior doctors and found an interest in studies that empower the individual and bring about positive change. He has written the book Find Your Power which was launched at the lecture, has co-produced the self-help audio CD, The Happiness Training Plan, with Miriam Akhtar, and edits the free newsletter The Great Turning Times.
This year’s programme has already been and gone but there is a summary on the Positive Psychology News page. Last year’s lecture was on Resilience in a time of Recession and past speakers have included Oliver James (2008), Ilona Boniwell (2007) and Raj Persaud (2006).