Alumni Spotlight

CiPP4 graduate Jonathan Aronoff has spent his whole life listening. “It’s easy for me to connect with others after growing up with an identical twin brother,” he says. He credits that relationship with his ability to listen, learn, and thrive as an individual and as part of a team—and he credits the Certificate in Positive Psychology course with strengthening all of those skills.

“Positive psychology is a language, a theory, and a way of life,” he says. “It’s easy for people to connect with it and put it into action.”

Jonathan is a clinical psychologist, board-certified psychoanalyst, and certified fitness trainer. He says that what he learned in CiPP has shaped the current structure of his private practice, as well as the techniques he uses in his fitness program. “CiPP elaborated on principles in ways that I had not been teaching,” he says. “Instead of having people tell stories of their past failures, we focus on creating a story of how to succeed from them.”

CiPP helped Jonathan understand that using a transformational experience to create a positive future outcome is a powerful way to work with people. “As humans we tend to start from failure, struggle, or trauma,” he says. “The essence of learning and evolving is in the juxtaposition of using a negative experience to create a success story.”

As a faculty member in the fitness program at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, Jonathan leads an early-morning walk four times a week. During these walks, he encourages participants to establish a word of the day, such as faith, patience, or resilience. As a group, they discuss how their word can enhance the six major areas of their life: career, home, community, physical/psychological health, finance, and social relationships. “My goal is to inspire them to tell their story while continuing to create their future one,” Jonathan says.

Jonathan’s twin brother also shares life lessons with others—from a very different perspective. Musician Kenny Aronoff—who was named the 66th greatest drummer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine—has worked with stars like John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, and Lady Gaga. He shares his successes and failures in the music business through motivational talks.

“Without knowing it, he talks about concepts that I talk about, too,” Jonathan says. “We connected without intending to.” At some point, the brothers plan to combine their talks to broaden the scope of their audiences.

Connection is an integral part of Jonathan’s teaching and practice. “I tell my walkers that everything we do is meaningless unless you find a way to connect with others,” he says. “Connecting physically, emotionally, or spiritually comes from the heart, and from opening yourself up to what others have to say.”

Learn more about the Certificate in Positive Psychology.

AronoffDr. Jonathan Aronoff, PhD, CPEC, helps people learn how to use the power of positive psychology to enhance performance in every aspect of life. He is a licensed psychologist, graduate of the Certificate in Positive Psychology, certified personal and executive coach, sports coach, and certified Group Fitness Instructor. He brings a unique combination of training and experience to help people achieve their dreams by moving past obstacles and resolving impasses.