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Positive Psychology at the Movies


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents About the Authors ... ii Dedication ... v In Memoriam ... vii Foreword to this Second Edition ... viii Foreword to the First Edition ... ix Preface ... x Acknowledgments ... xiii Section I: Introduction and Background ... 1 1. Introduction ... 3 Section II: Character Strengths at the Movies ... 27 The Virtue of Wisdom and Knowledge ... 29 2. Wisdom and Knowledge I: Creativity and Curiosity ... 31 3. Wisdom and Knowledge II: Judgment , Love of Learning , and Perspective ... 54 The Virtue of Courage ... 83 4. Courage I: Bravery and Perseverance ... 85 5. Courage II: Honesty and Zest ... 108 The Virtue of Humanity ... 131 6. Humanity I: Love ... 133 7. Humanity II: Kindness and Social Intelligence ... 151 The Virtue of Justice ... 177 8. Justice: Teamwork , Fairness , and Leadership ... 179 The Virtue of Temperance ... 215 9. Temperance: Forgiveness , Humility , Prudence , and Self-Regulation ... 217 The Virtue of Transcendence ... 259 10. Transcendence I: Appreciation of Beauty/Excellence and Gratitude ... 261 11. Transcendence II: Hope and Humor ... 285 12. Transcendence III: Spirituality ... 310 Section III: PERMA at the Movies ... 333 13. Positive Relationships ... 337 14. Achievement, Positive Emotions, Engagement, and Meaning ... 348 15. Mindfulness and Resilience ... 361 Section IV: Conclusion ... 371 16. Conclusion and Future Directions ... 373 xvi Positive Psychology at the Movies Appendices ... 377 Appendix A: Exemplars in Positive Psychology at the Movies ... 379 Appendix B: The Positive Psychology Film Awards ... 380 Appendix C: Positive Psychology Movies for Children, Adolescents, and Families ... 381 Appendix D: Positive Psychology Shorts ... 383 Appendix E: Questions for Classroom, Therapy, and Movie Group Discussions ... 385 Appendix F: Positive Psychology Movie Clips ... 386 Appendix G: Syllabus of a Positive Psychology Course That Uses Movies ... 387 Appendix H: Website Resources: Movies, Positive Psychology, and Character Strengths ... 390 Appendix I: 100 Years ... 100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies ... 391 Appendix J: Positive Psychology Movies: Films That Portray and Inspire Character Strengths ... 393 References ... 409 Film Index ... 443 People Index ... 459

About the Author

Ryan M. Niemiec, PsyD, is a psychologist practicing in St. Louis. He frequently lectures on the portrayal of strengths in movies, positive psychology, mindfulness, and the spirituality of everyday life. One of his passions over the last six years has been leading a movie group that discusses virtues and strengths found in movies and the way these virtues and strengths can be applied to daily life. He is the film editor of PsycCRITIQUES, an APA journal that reviews important books and movies in psychology and related fields. He has written a number of articles related to movies, and he is co-author of Movies and Mental Illness (2nd Edition). Ryan received a specialization in film studies from Michigan State University. Danny Wedding, PhD, MPH, directs the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, a policy, research, and training center associated with the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Danny is the editor of PsycCRITIQUES and the series editor for Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence Based Practice, a collaborative effort between Hogrefe and the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the American Psychological Association). Danny is the 2008 President Elect for the APA Division of Media Psychology. He is the co-author or coeditor of a dozen books and numerous articles and book chapters.


"Positive Psychology at the Movies 2 is an easy, convenient, and fun but serious way to learn about Positive Psychology. Importantly, it provides resources for applying the science to one's own life and for bringing it to others so that all may flourish." Jeanette Biermann, PhD, Cleveland, OH, in The Ohio Psychologist Review (Nov./Dec. 2014) "Positive Psychology at the Movies provides a creative way to explore positive psychology principles through the exploration of films [and] an impressive approach to teaching. Any psychology educator will find a plethora of films to use to teach a wide array of psychological concepts and principles that extend beyond Positive Psychology and are legitimised by rigorous research. This book could be used as a form of cinematherapy [and] would certainly be a useful tool to consolidate psychological concepts and inspire behavior change. "The new inclusions of film exemplars and extended appendices add to the quality of teaching resources that the book provides. "In addition, its stimulating and contemporary presentation should encourage a broader audience including lay people who want to evaluate the meaning of movies." Melissa Monfries, Counselling and Psychological Health, La Trobe University, in Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, vol 14, 2014 "Need a dose of courage? An injection of humility? A dram of teamwork? Then look no further than the movies for inspiration. Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Character Strengths and Well-Being (2nd ed.) is a tightly organized, thematically interesting, and, of course, utterly positive guide to viewing films through the lens of flourishing. Film is a natural medium by which to illustrate psychological concepts and bear witness to the experiences of (fantastical) others. The book's purpose is to highlight films that 'portray and inspire character strengths', and it succeeds - exemplar films are discussed and dissected according to their respective key concept, relevant research, signature strengths, strength dynamics, benefits, and coping. The book lends itself to classroom use, as evidenced by Appendix E, "Questions for Classroom, Therapy, and Movie Group Discussions", and by Appendix G, "Syllabus of a Positive Psychology Course That Uses Movies". As well, it can be a tool in individual and/or group therapy. Prof. Debra Merskin, PhD, Associate Professor of Media Studies, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, in PsycCRITIQUES, 2014, Vol. 59, No. 28, Article 6 "Ryan Niemiec and Danny Wedding's updated edition of Positive Psychology at the Movies is an exploration of the ways that movies can illuminate and portray the principles of positive psychology, especially character strengths... "[The authors] encourage the reader to watch films with an eye on strengths and well-being. They ask us to watch mindfully instead of passively, and to take lessons from the films and apply them to our own lives... [They] also give practical applications for mining the most character strength knowledge from a film and ways to bring that learning into daily life. There is a great deal of information here. "The most intriguing part of [the] 470-page book ... focuses on the ways in which movies can support Martin Seligman's PERMA model of human flourishing... The learning possibilities are endless." Bright Dickson, MAPP, Theano Coaching LLC, in Psychology News Daily, 2013 "[A] valuable book. As a business consultant and leadership coach, I continually look for ways to help my clients increase their awareness of their leadership style, and how their personality and sense of self informs this awareness. The use of films and clips (including examples from television) are a valuable tool. I have already shared this book with my peers..." Howard A Fox, MA, Fielding Graduate University, in Doody's Listings and Reviews, 2013

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