Positive Psychology is a rapidly expanding approach to coaching and training delivery. It brings the science of wellbeing and practice of flourishing to multiple domains, from the classroom and training centre to the workplace, playing field and beyond.
Yet those who study or have studied Positive Psychology might wonder where they belong when it comes to setting up their professional practice. Should they join a coaching or training body for accreditation, licensing, and membership? Or should they join a psychology or counselling body?
You may have found yourself asking such questions as a MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) or Positive Psychology in Practice student or graduate, particularly when you get stuck into the reality of working with clients. That’s really where the rubber hits the road!
We understand what it’s like to feel out of place and in search of a home or somewhere to belong. This is why we set up the Positive Psychology Guild’s Professional Membership Service. We offer the opportunity to become a part of an emerging UK membership, accreditation, and licensing body dedicated to the support of professionals such as yourself. Through our online community, our members are able to connect with other professionals on this path and discuss with them how to contribute to this evolving field of study, research, and practice.
One of our aims over the coming years is to contribute to the regulation of Positive Psychology in Practice. As part of this contribution, we have issued a set of Professional Guidelines for Positive Psychology Practitioners. We also engage with our members on challenges and opportunities they face when setting up their professional practice.
A common challenge for MAPP graduates and other graduates of Positive Psychology in Practice is whether you need to acquire a further degree in Psychology and/or training that covers the diagnostic areas of mental health (e.g. through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM). This is an important question to ask if you plan to work with clients who may be struggling to function as usual on clinical topics such as depression. In this case, you will need to ensure you are both qualified and insured to do so, and are subsequently affiliated with a professional body overseeing ethical practice in this domain.
If you are a certified Positive Psychology Practitioner and your intention is to practice Positive Psychology in non-clinical settings with functioning individuals and organisations who are looking to develop, grow, and flourish, then you are suitably qualified for this work.
You will work within your area of qualification and experience, and refer people (and organisations) for further support if their needs exceed the scope of your practice. Through engaging in professional practice, you will gain practical experience and grow as a practitioner. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) learning will also enrich your knowledge, skills, and approaches to application.
Whether you intend to integrate your newly acquired skills into an existing role, set up a solo coaching or training practice, or become a fully-fledged training centre, we would like to help you. We understand what it is like to graduate and not have the support needed to develop a professional practice. It takes time to build the knowledge, systems, network, and experience needed to thrive as a practitioner. There are no effective shortcuts in this regard, or at least we wouldn’t recommend taking them.
We also understand what it is like to be a more seasoned practitioner facing different types of challenges. For example, how do you retain your client base and what do you do when your professional interests shift and transform over the years. How do you refresh your client base then? What about further training or qualifications needed to help you make this shift in practice? And what about the need for peer exchange and support?
Professional affiliation and belonging to a professional register where you are required to abide by ethics matters when working with clients.
By joining the Positive Psychology Guild (PPG) as a practitioner member (Associates, Professionals, Fellows), you may apply to join the PPG Register of Professionals once you are qualified. This includes an annual review process to continue being registered to practice.
Practitioner members also have the option to participate in a Community of Practice. These communities are facilitated virtually by PPG practitioner members (e.g. via Zoom video meetings) and are designed to offer a confidential and supportive place to connect on topics related to professional practice and practitioner wellbeing, and to further your professional growth. The PPG membership site hosts the online group space where members may connect privately each other while the community facilitator runs the online video meetings.
Both of the Register of Professionals and the Communities of Practice are hosted by the PPG online membership site. Entry to the register is included in your annual membership fee, however participation in the communities includes a separate fee set by the community facilitator to cover their time and any administrative costs associated with the virtual meet-ups.