Author: NADA HAMEEDThu, 2018-03-29 03:00ID: 1522270949221336700
JEDDAH: The first International Symposium on Positive Psychology (ISPP), organized by the Department of Psychology of Effat University, began on Wednesday.
The two-day event will showcase recent research developments underpinning best practices and innovations in the field of psychology and promote research in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and the Middle East-North Africa.
ISPP aims to become an important national and international event. In addition to attracting leading educators and students, the symposium will bring together Saudi and international experts, policymakers and government officials. It includes the presentation of research papers, talks by three keynote speakers and the launch of a positive psychology and well-being research lab.
The event includes sessions on well-being, mindfulness, youth engagement and Islamic influences on positive psychology, as well as providing opportunities for networking.
Keynote speaker Dr. Saddiga Al-Ghalib is the founder and director of the positive psychology and well-being research lab that will be launched on Thursday by Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal.
“We established our first positive psychology and well-being lab to enable us to do research, addressing different aspects, interventions and programs to help increase awareness of positive psychology among the Saudi population,” Al-Ghalib said.
“Our youth are facing a lot of challenges such as depression, anxiety and stress,” she said. “Such events will help many to cope with these challenges. I also believe positive psychology has to do a lot with the values of Islam.”
David Creswell, an associate professor at the psychology department at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, said that positive psychology was becoming a significant area of study. “It is great to see that it is now moving to the Middle East and this will really promote the culture of research in this region,” he said.
Louise Lambert, a registered psychologist at the College of Alberta Psychologists in Canada, is the editor and founder (in 2015) of the Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology, and a keynote speaker at the event. “The field of positive psychology has grown over the years and Im excited to see how these changes are developing and how they are going to transform Saudi society,” she said.
Zahra Al-Mhana is the founder and CEO of “You Positive,” a Saudi online platform that helps people find counselors and life coaches without revealing their identity: “We want people to become a better version of themselves in their lives and future,” she told Arab News. “Our services are there in a virtual setting for individuals to get in touch with life coaches anonymously to maintain their self image in the community. Some people in our Saudi community do not accept the idea of having a life coach and perceive it as belittling.”