by Arlen Solodkin

When I think about how the Certificate in Positive Psychology (CiPP) influenced my life, I reflect on the ways in which I was able to embrace my own power, hold my own vision, and unite with others to make that vision a reality.

I have always loved learning, and I have always had the yearning to share the tools and teachings that have shaped my life for the better. A couple of years ago, Eitan Kleinberg, a colleague and CiPP alumni, and I decided to create an Institute in Mexico City, Instituto de Bienestar Integral (IBI), to serve as a platform to offer programs of great quality that have been proven to serve as agents of change and transformation. While taking CiPP, I envisioned bringing the course to Mexico and Latin America, as a way of sharing with the Spanish-speaking world the best practices from this field that I love.

Positive psychology has been highly influential in my personal and professional development since I studied with Martin Seligman more than 20 years ago, shortly before it emerged as a field. Continuing my learning has been such a transformative experience for me that I wish to build a bridge to allow those teachings to foster growth in my region of the world. Most Latin American countries share a common history and face similar challenges. My aim is to bring about a conversation between individuals from Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world in general, which can build and strengthen relationships, foster inquiry, and help bring about transformation.

As that vision became clearer and clearer, I was able to share it with WBI leaders Tal Ben-Shahar, Megan McDonough, and Maria Sirois, who have supported the idea through conversations and learning opportunities. We have also been very fortunate to have IPPA board member, Wholebeing Institute adjunct faculty member, and CiPP graduate Margarita Tarragona join the team. She is a a pioneer in the field of positive psychology in Mexico and around the world.

We are very happy to share with you that CiPPLA (Certificate in Positive Psychology­–Latin America) will be offered for the first time in January 2017. We have been working very hard on the translation and adaptation of all materials, which include 60+ hours of videos, homework, and reading materials, in order to offer our students an experience of the same quality.

We have invited several Spanish-speaking guest lecturers from the field of positive psychology to participate in our monthly webinars, including Carmelo Vázquez, based in Spain, one of the leading researchers in the field and former president of IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association); Fernando Ortiz Lachica, based in Mexico, an expert on social psychology and the body-mind relationship; Oriana Tickel, based in London, whose focus is positive psychology coaching; Andromeda Valencia, an expert on resilience and well-being and director of the Mexican Association of Positive Psychology; and Valentin Mendez, also based in Mexico, an internationally renowned psychologist specializing in the intersection of contemplative practice and Western science. Others will be joining our team soon.

It has been a long journey filled with learning, challenges, the construction of strong relationships and teamwork, and a powerful sense of hope, optimism, and growth. Yes, embracing one’s vision requires strength, persistence, collaboration, and a great sense of serving it forward. I cannot thank Tal, Megan, and Maria enough for their trust and support.

We hope to build a strong and supportive CiPPLA community, and would love your help in creating this experience. Please share information about the course with your Spanish-speaking friends, and feel free to contact us with ideas or suggestions. We are seeking teaching assistants who are fluent in Spanish; you can apply on our website.

Arlen Solodkin is the founder and director of Instituto de Bienestar Integral, providing online and on-site programs in positive psychology and Integrative Psychotherapy. Arlen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Martin Seligman. In alliance with several private and governmental organizations, she has developed programs that foster meaning and purpose in the lives of children and young adults, with the goals of preventing depression and increasing optimism and leadership skills. Arlen has a longstanding career in the philanthropic field; works with universities, including Universidad Tecmilenio, el Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidad Hebraic, in the areas of curriculum development, professional training, and certification programs; and offers consulting services on positive psychology for businesses and organizations.