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Certificate in Positive Psychology

Course Overview

There’s a scientific way to study happiness—it’s called Positive Psychology.

In contrast with traditional psychology that focuses on pathology—alleviating neurosis, anxiety, and depression—Positive Psychology focuses on individual and societal flourishing—on cultivating happiness, strengths, self-esteem, and optimism.

And now there’s a way for you to learn it from one of the field’s leading experts exclusively at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health—through a combination of on-campus and online programming over eleven months, culminating in a Certificate in Positive Psychology.

Learn how to apply Positive Psychology theory, tools, and research to

  • Bring about lasting change in individuals and organizations
  • Cultivate healthy personal and professional relationships
  • Build affirming emotions and deal with painful emotions
  • Develop positive self-regard and grounded optimism
  • Improve the art and science of leadership, coaching, parenting, and teaching.

You systematically learn the evidence-based process behind positive psychology, and when you graduate, you leave with fully developed tools to help clients—and to expand your professional credibility and visibility.

View a detailed 2015 curriculum—download the full syllabus with reading list.

WhatStudents are Saying

Because of the unique emphasis on the mind-body connection, taking Positive Psychology at Kripalu is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s the only place in the world to offer a Certificate in Positive Psychology with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar.

Watch this video and see what the students say about the experience.

How It Works

Following an online introduction, you’ll come to Kripalu to immerse yourself in key Positive Psychology concepts, and explore those concepts in a whole-body way. During the immersion, you connect with a small group of peers who you’ll continue to communicate with virtually during the next eleven months during eight online modules. The lessons are a combination of pre-recorded video lectures, live question and answer sessions via conference call with the faculty, reading assignments, forum discussions, homework, and group work.

You don’t need fancy technology to join the online modules—just access to the web. The virtual classroom is a password-protected website that can only be accessed by course participants. It’s the place to go for your homework, video lessons, reading assignments, and to read or post in the discussion group.

The live question and answer sessions are repeated twice for each module to accommodate different time zones. If you miss a call, or want to participate again, the recordings are posted in the virtual classroom 24–48 hours after the live event ends.

To complete the course, you’ll return to Kripalu for the final immersion, where you’ll present your final project.

Program Dates

October 19, 2015–September 30, 2016

View a detailed 2015 curriculum—download the full syllabus with reading list.

Program Schedule
Module Length Dates
Module 1 (online) Introduction to Positive Psychology Five weeks October 19–November 20, 2015
Break Two weeks November 23–December 4, 2015
Module 2 On-Site Residential Immersion Five days December 6–11, 2015
Module 3 (online) What is Happiness? Five weeks December 14, 2015–January 29, 2016
Holiday Break Two weeks December 21, 2015–January 1, 2016
Module 4 (online) Realizing Dreams Five weeks February 1–March 4, 2016
Module 5 (online) Change Five weeks March 7–April 8, 2016
Break One week April 11–15, 2016
Module 6 (online) Mind-Body Conection Five weeks April 18–May 20, 2016
Module 7 (online) Relationships Five weeks May 23–June 24, 2016
Break One week June 27–July 1, 2016
Module 8 (online) Coaching Five weeks July 4–August 5, 2016
Break One week August 8–12, 2016
Module 9 (online) Choice and Co-creating Our Reality (includes final project) Five weeks August 15–September 16, 2016
Break One week September 19–23, 2016
Module 10 On-Site Residential Immersion Five days September 25–30, 2016

The Faculty

The lead faculty for the Certificate in Positive Psychology course are Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, a pioneer and leader in the field, Dr. Maria Sirois, author of Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith, and Resilience from Children Facing Illness, and Megan McDonough, CEO of Wholebeing Institute. Adjunct Faculty include Megha Nancy Buttenheim and Phoebe Atkinson.

What You Earn

Along with a Certificate in Positive Psychology, you complete an important final project—a presentation you’ve created outlining what you find compelling and important about Positive Psychology. Use this final project as a personal treatise, a declaration that guides your life and/or your professional work. Or use the presentation to share with others in your community to gain visibility and credibility to build your business.

The overall purpose/goal of the program is to systematically understand the evidence-based process behind positive psychology, and, when you graduate, leave with tools that foster resiliency and positivity in yourself for personal development and/or in others to expand your professional impact, credibility, and visibility.

Continuing education credits (CECs) for the in-house modules of the course are pending. Visit our Continuing Education page for information on the accrediting boards that we are affiliated with, although CECs may not be offered for all professions. All participants may request a Letter of Attendance for $10.

You can get many of your questions answered on our CEC FAQ page. For any further questions related to CECs, please e-mail cec@kripalu.org or call 413.448.3127. For general questions about the program, please see our FAQ.

Watch the Impact

Watch the video to see the impact of the course from a student perspective.


Tuition: $4,450 + technology fee: $150; housing & meals 10 nights, cost based on accommodations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should take the course?
The CIPP offers a proven set of tools and principles useful in any profession or leadership role—managers, leaders, social workers, psychologists, coaches, allied health professionals, yoga teachers, school teachers, and anyone who influences how people think, act, and live, will benefit from this program.

How does it work?
The course starts with Module 1, an online introduction to Positive Psychology, followed by a 5-day immersion at Kripalu (Module 2). Participants connect with a small group of four to six people—and peers remain in these designated groups for the rest of the program for coaching support. The course culminates in another 5-day immersion, marking the end of the program.

What happens online?
The online lessons are a combination of pre-recorded video lectures, live question-and-answer sessions via conference call with Dr. Ben-Shahar, reading assignments, forum discussions, homework, and small group work. The virtual classroom is a password-protected website which can only be accessed by course participants. It stores homework, video lessons, and reading assignments, and offers the opportunity to read or post in a discussion group. The live question-and-answer sessions are repeated twice for each module to accommodate different time zones. Participants who miss a call, or want to listen again, can access the recordings in the virtual classroom beginning a day or so after the live event is over.

Is it available at another time?
Kripalu is the only place in the world Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is offering this Certificate in Positive Psychology program, and is only offered once a year.

How much does it cost?
Tuition is $3,800; additional costs include a $150 technology fee plus texts and 10 nights’ housing & meals. There is no course pre-requisite.

How much time should I allot for the course?
This certificate program includes 138 contact hours through two residential intensives, regular online pre-recorded video lectures, and a final project. The course also includes regular peer groups sessions, live Q&A sessions with Tal Ben-Shahar, and self-directed study, including homework and reading assignments. We suggest that you allocate approximately six hours a week towards the program.

What does the course give participants?
Along with a Certificate from Kripalu, participants complete an important final project-a presentation that outlines what is compelling and important about Positive Psychology, which can be used personally as a declaration of purpose or professionally as a communication tool for community outreach.

Positive Psychology provides a new lens through which students can look at their yoga practice, counseling, coaching, parenting, or managing. Students will learn about tools and techniques to use in all these areas that will help increase wellbeing levels in their own and others’ lives.

What is the maximum number of students allowed in the course?
The maximum number of enrolled students is 200. Enrollment for the course remains open until the maximum is reached.

Do you have any examples, anecdotes, or stories of people who have used positive psychology to change their lives?
Yes, many. Harvard students who found their calling as a result of this class, relationships that were put on track and thrived as a result of a course, managers and coaches who became more effective as a result.

The course will provide tools for self-reflection. Many students have been able to hone in on what they care about most, and end up identifying their calling. Having said that, the course is not a panacea and can certainly not guarantee solutions.

Can I just register for one online module or take the immersion?
No, the course is sequential, and all modules are part of an integrated whole.

What is the Internet connection requirement for this course? Would a satellite connection suffice?
Yes, a satellite connection will suffice. If you are able to watch videos with your connection, you will be able to participate, as audio and video streaming are an integral part of the online work.

Can I view the video lectures on my iPad?
Yes, the video lectures can absolutely be viewed in your iPad. The content had been optimized for the iOS platform.

Will online conversations and lectures be streamed at various/repeated times so that we can access them as it fits into our own personal schedules? Or will we be required to be on-line at a specific time?
The video lessons will be recorded and available to you whenever it works for your schedule. The live conference calls with Tal will be held twice a month at varying times of day to accommodate different time zones (the specific dates and times of these live events are currently being coordinated). You can either attend live or listen to the recordings at your convenience. The only specific times you’ll be committing to are the small, peer-to-peer group coaching sessions, which your group will decide amongst yourself what works best for the team.

Is there a limit to the number of participants? Will you be using TAs?
Yes, the maximum number we’ll accept is 280, and we may decide to cap the attendance lower. Besides Tal as the lead faculty, we have two adjunct faculty members (Maria Sirois and Deborah Cohen), a program coordinator (Megan McDonough), a program administrator (Elena Mansour), and teaching assistants (which will be determined by the number of students).

Is there financial aid available?
Kripalu does not offer financial aid for this program at this time.

If I am not able to attend one of (or both) on-site sessions, could that be substituted in some way?
There is no substitute for the onsite sessions. They are an integral part of the experience.

What is the cancellation policy?
Refunds will be given according to the following schedule: All monies will be refunded in full (less a $100 processing fee) if you cancel 7 or more days prior to start of program. For cancellations less than 7 days prior to program start and up to the day before the first immersion (Module 2), 75% of program tuition costs and all housing charges will be refunded. After the start date of the first immersion (Module 2), no further refunds or credits are available except for housing charges for the second Immersion (Module 10), which will be fully refunded. The standard cancellation policy applies to all other charges.

Is Tal a certified Kripalu yoga teacher?
No. Tal is currently enrolled in yoga teacher training from Core Yoga School.

Where can I get additional information?
You can download the 2015 full course syllabus. You can also sign up for our mailing list. We periodically send out more information regarding the program, including announcements of free “meet-the-faculty” conference calls, and keep you updated on registration openings and closings. You can also contact us at 866.200.5203 or 413.448.3152 (international and local).

Once I complete the course and receive my certificate in Positive Psychology, what kind of job is available to me?
This program does not certify or license a specific professional credential, such as coaching, therapy, or consulting. It does, however, give professionals a set of Positive Psychology tools to apply in their area of expertise. We usually advise students to get a professional certification in addition to CiPP, if they are looking to build a profession around the practice. Many students, for example, have taken a coaching certification alongside CiPP so they can apply Positive Psychology tools in their coaching practice.

Program at a Glance

Yoga Experience
Suitable For
Program Theme
All Self-Discovery


Tal Ben-Shahar is a world-renowned teacher of Positive Psychology and leadership development. He consults and lectures worldwide, integrating theory and practice, East and West, philosophy and psychology.

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Maria Sirois, PsyD, is a positive psychologist and seminar leader who teaches with wisdom, authenticity, and humor at the intersection of resilience and flourishing.

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Megan McDonough is the chair and cofounder of Wholebeing Institute. Her work is to harness the highest and best in people for the greatest good.

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Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, E-RYT 1000, founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance® LLC, specializes in bringing a gentler, kinder yoga practice to the world.

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