An hour-long video created by Western Carolina University students, faculty and alumni titled “Positive Psychotherapy: Helping People Thrive” was recently released by Alexander Street Press.
Filmed in December, the video features vignettes of mock individual counseling sessions that illustrate practical applications of positive psychotherapy strategies. Topics covered include forgiveness, integration of flow in counseling, optimism, meaning through adversity, happiness as a work ethic, savoring or appreciating the small things, strength-based supervision and “satisficing,” which is a decision-making strategy that combines the words “satisfy” and “suffice.”
Leading the video’s mock sessions and providing commentary are Russ Curtis, WCU associate professor of counseling and coordinator of the clinical mental health program, and Katie Goetz, a WCU alumna and the lead recovery coordinator of the Recovery Education Center with Meridian Behavioral Health in Waynesville.
The project originated when a representative from Alexander Street Press contacted Curtis after viewing a video he had developed previously to accompany a textbook. The media company partnered with him and Goetz, a professional counselor and clinical addiction specialist, to create the positive psychotherapy training video.
Goetz said people naturally gravitate toward many positive psychotherapy skills but that putting them into practice takes intentionality.
“When supporting someone in working on these skills, you get to help them find ways to practice things that are already meaningful to them,” she said.
The video was directed, filmed and edited by students, faculty and alumni of WCU’s Motion Picture and Television Production Program. Arledge Armenaki, WCU associate professor of cinematography, served as the director.
Curtis said seeing the project come together has been exciting.
“It is extremely fulfilling to collaborate with such talented students, alumni, faculty and colleagues from other WCU disciplines to produce a product that could potentially help many people,” said Curtis.