Self-Directed Online Course

Most change-efforts fail. A great deal of money and effort is spent by individuals and organizations attempting to bring about change, and yet what we mostly witness is the “honeymoon effect”—the intervention having only a temporary, short-lived effect. In this 5-week module—drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and techniques spanning the ABCs of psychology (affect, behavior, cognition)—students learn how to bring about personal and organizational change that lasts.

Objectives and Outcomes
  • Understand the nature of change on the neural level, and how certain conscious and unconscious barriers come in the way of enjoying lasting change.
  • Learn techniques that help us work through our emotions—such as the Positivity Portfolio and the Post Peak Experience Order—and can bring about gradual and acute change.
  • Explore various behavioral interventions—such as engaging in deliberate practice and exiting our comfort zone—that can bring about gradual and acute change.
  • Engage our thoughts—through cognitive therapeutic techniques and the Eureka experience—as means toward bringing about gradual and acute change.
  • Bring together the ABCs of psychology—using different journaling techniques, for example—that can help move us beyond the honeymoon effect.

Program Faculty

Dr. Tal Ben-ShaharTal Ben-Shahar, PhD, is an author and lecturer who is dedicated to helping people be the change they want to see in the world. He taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. In his mindfulness lectures and workshops, Tal integrates theory and practice, East and West, philosophy and psychology.

Over a five-week period, students participate in a completely online curriculum that features one new class every week. Lessons in each class consist of watching approximately 60-90 minutes of a prerecorded video lecture with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, class assessments and assignments, and practice applications.

The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can start at any time and participate whenever it is convenient for you during the five-week window.

This is a self-directed curriculum. No homework is submitted and no grades are given. You will receive a certificate of completion when all lessons are completed.

The Certificate in Positive Psychology course uses the same video lectures with the added bonus of two onsite immersions, small peer work groups, live conference calls with faculty, and ongoing support for the full 11 months. Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.


No prerequisites are required for this course. Technology requirements include an Internet connection.


Class 1: The Nature of Change
Change is hard—and yet possible. Merely understanding the anatomy of change—how neural networks form and develop—can help in the process of bringing about change that lasts. This class looks into some of the barriers to change, including our degrees of willingness to change, our levels of motivation, and whether we consciously or unconsciously believe that change is possible.

Class 2: Affect
This class looks at the emotional channels for bringing about change. Techniques explored include Loving Kindness Meditation, the Positivity Portfolio, mindful listening to music, and slowing down to appreciate and savor the world. In addition, the idea of Post Peak Experience Order is introduced as a method of acute emotional change, providing a counter example to the negative acute change brought about through posttraumatic stress disorder.

Class 3: Behavior
The most effective way to bring about lasting change is to modify our behaviors. Engaging in deliberate and persistent practice, while allowing time for rest and recovery, is the combination that yields long-term improvement in one’s chosen field. Coping by getting out of one’s comfort zone is a more acute and immediate way of using behavior to bring about change.

Class 4: Cognition
Our thoughts impact our feelings and behaviors. This class introduces the basic ideas that make cognitive therapy so effective, while illustrating how in each moment of our lives we make choices that impact the quality of the next moment and potentially beyond. The Eureka Experience is provided as an example of acute change.

Class 5: Combining the ABCs
It is difficult to move against the force of habit to alter emotional, behavioral, and cognitive patterns that have been ingrained over time. Journaling is a technique that combines the ABCs (affect, behavior, cognition) and can therefore help overcome the force of habit and bring about lasting change.

Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.

Tuition for this course is $295.

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Questions? Ask our student support manager.