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2019-Maria Sirois

The Vertex of Change:  Leveraging Moments of Grief, Illness, Hardship and Sudden Change to Accelerate Growth, a 2019 Cape Cod Institute workshop led by Maria Sirois June 24-28, 2019

Maria Sirois

The Vertex of Change:  Leveraging Moments of Grief, Illness, Hardship and Sudden Change to Accelerate Growth
June 24-28, 2019

“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” 
Neils Bohr, Nobel Prize Winner, Physics

As clinicians, supervisors, and managers we are frequently trained to navigate territories of wellness and illness, of capacity and incapacity as if they exist on a spectrum. On one end we are well, at the other end we are ill. Yet, recent research in the fields of positive psychology and resilience enable us to understand that foundational change often occurs at the point of paradox: when we can enable our clients, supervisees and teams to hold happiness and grief, anxiety and hope, imperfection and magnificence with equal appreciation, wisdom and care. 

Integrating research that considers the best of humanity, the best of systems and of organizations, we will examine the role of positivity, appreciative inquiry, and emerging models of authenticity and meaning to consider how to elevate positive deviancy when clients/supervisees are struggling deeply. Core characteristics of resilience will be addressed, and then considered from the perspective of paradox:  how might we (for example) increase grit even when symptoms have increased?  How might we accelerate optimism, even as anxiety becomes rampant?  What does a helpful hope look like when our world has been shattered?

This approach enables us to complement our current models of treatment with supportive tools and strategies, while providing a meta-framework that potentiates health in the presence of great difficulty.  Accentuating positive resources, especially in challenging moments, enables us to provide a greater emotional, cognitive and neurochemical balance to our system of being. While a singular focus on symptom reduction and psycholopathology may provide relief, it may do little to construct an internal scaffolding of capacity that reminds clients of the fullness of their resources, strengths, wisdom and adaptability.

Participants will be invited to consider how to best influence positive change in their current practice or management role through examination of clinical vignettes, small group discussion, and in vivo practice of tools/perspectives. Further, this work has an additional benefit: reducing the anxiety, strain and/or fatigue we experience as providers when the stress of our work escalates, either through the distress of our particular patients, or through the growth of systemic disruption.

Our Framework:  The Meta-Perspective of Paradox

  • Review of Current Models of Resilience

  • Core Characteristics of Resilient Adults

  • Paradox: Why Positivity Matters in the Worst Moments 

Integrating the Positive

  • The Appreciative Inquiry Approach

  • The Genius of the And

  • Transforming Moments of Anxiety, Negative Thought Habits, Grief, Depression into Capacity

The Paradox of Living as Broken/Whole

  • What is True Hope?

  • Emerging Models of Authenticity

  • Seeding the Future:  The Ideal Self In Action

  • Integrating the Ideal Self and Character Strengths


The Bigger Pictures

  • Why Meaning Matters

  • A Granular Look at Meaning

  • Generosity and Generativity as Drivers of Change

How Change Happens

  • A Brief Journey into Neuroplasticity

  • Change at the Level of the System

  • Change at the Level of the Person

  • Integration of Learning

Maria Sirois

Maria Sirois

Maria Sirois, PsyD, is a master teacher, facilitator and author. As a positive psychologist and international consultant, she focuses on the resilience of the human spirit when under pressure and/or during significant transition. Known for her wisdom, authenticity and rampant humor, she brings a depth of experience in resilience training, leadership development and stress management for therapeutic, corporate, and community audiences alike. Her work builds capacity and engagement around stressors such as conflicting goals, difficult conversations, unrealistic expectations and moments of failure — using such moments to leverage sustained positive shifts in perspective and ability. She is the author of two books: A Short Course in Happiness After Loss and Every Day Counts.

We are delighted to welcome Maria Sirois in her first appearance at the Institute!

Other Courses You May Like:

Rubin Naiman July 8-12
Healing Sleep and Dreams

Licia Sky August 5-9
Embodied Self-Experience: Enhancing Awareness in Clinical Practice through Meditation, Movement, and Voice

Jeffrey Zeig August 5-9
Ericksonian Hypnosis: Advanced Techniques for Beginners

Sheldon Solomon August 12-16
The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

NJ Social Workers:

Social workers completing this course will receive 15 General Social Work Practice continuing education credits. ASWB ACE Individual Course approval statements can be found here.

For all other CE information:

Please visit our CE page and search by discipline.