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Relationship Questionnaire for Women Who are Married or In a Committed Relationship

If you believe that your relationship could be improved, please take my anonymous “Relationship Survey”. It will only take 5 minutes. Your feedback will help me to develop new programs. In exchange for your time, I am offering a free audio with tips to improve your relationship. Thank you!

Would you like to reignite the spark in your relationship?

In this 20 minute audio Dr. Deb will offer you ways to:

  • Bring more fun into your relationship on an everyday basis.
  • Learn easy questions you can ask to make your partner feel important.
  • Fine way to invite your partner to have sex without saying a word.

It’s all here and more. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click below to listen now:

Reviving Romance: 7 Steps to Bring More Fun and Affection Into Your Relationship

Positive Psychology focuses on helping individuals cultivate their signature strengths. You can discover yours by taking the VIA Signature Strengths self-assessment. Why  discover your signature strengths? When your signature strengths are developed and cultivated, you can develop a greater sense of self and accomplishment.

The VIA Signature Strengths Survey identifies 24 strengths. Two of these include Citizenship and Teamwork; and Fairness, Equality and Justice. If either of these are your signature strengths, here are some ways that you may want to cultivate these strengths:

To cultivate Citizenship and Teamwork:

  • Be socially responsible. Join events or rallies, speak publicly, and promote humanitarianism.
  • Volunteer at a community project, or pick up litter on the ground.
  • Actively participate in an organization you are part of.
  • Join in a neighborhood activity.

To cultivate Fairness, Equality and Justice:

  • Hear out another’s opinion without prejudice or pre-judgment
  • Be conscious of moments where you can stereotype or judge someone, and start to avoid those circumstances
  • Be the mediator in an argument between friends and set your personal beliefs aside for the time being.

For support and more information on how you can cultivate your Signature Strengths, contact Deborah Barnett at

The VIA survey of character strengths identifies 24 signature strengths. Most people have one or two top signature strengths. When these top strengths are identified and utilized, this can help a person experience greater confidence and a have a sense of purpose and meaning.

Courage is a virtue that can be cultivated by practicing the strengths of Integrity and Valour.

Integrity is the ability to tell the truth, or to appear in an authentic manner and to act in a sincere way. To cultivate Integrity:

  1. Speak the truth.
  2. Live your life authentically and in harmony with your values.
  3. Practice being transparent – that is to act and speak in a way that consistently represents who you are, no matter what circumstance you are in or with whom you keep company.
  4. Make a list of people you feel are genuine, think about the characteristics you most like and admire about them and emulate these characteristics.

Valour or Bravery is living without recoiling from difficulty or shirking fear.
To cultivate Valour/Bravery:

  1. Dare to speak your truth, what you truly believe in, even if it is not the popular, prevalent, opinion of others.
  2. Avoid engaging in procrastination, as procrastination often appears when we want to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
  3. Psychologically, Valour can be practiced by not emotionally collapsing when a friend or loved one is experiencing pain, but instead being able to be present, calm and supportive.
  4.  historic person to think of who practiced valour is Florence Nightingale, who tended wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. 

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.

Feeling stressed out? Here is a way to gain greater control of your life.

The Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths identifies character strengths that we all have within us. Once you are aware of your unique strengths, by taking the VIA Character Strength Survey,  you can actively cultivate your personal character strengths. Benefits of doing so include increased self-esteem, sense of life mastery and greater fulfilment. Two of the 24 strengths on the survey are Judgment, Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness; and Creativity, Ingenuity and Originality. If these are two of your strengths, here are some ways in which they can be cultivated.

To cultivate Judgment, Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness:

•    Join multi-cultural celebrations or events. This develops a positive self-perception through increased knowledge of diverse histories, groups and cultures, and their respective contributions to the society.

•    Be neutral in a situation. Hear out both side’s issue without your own personal biases.

•    Participate in other religions’ or spiritual philosophies’ gatherings and events. Try to build fellowship with other believers. You may also try joining a political party that is different from your own.

•    Take a new class or take up a new hobby or sport.

•    Watch shows that you usually do not watch.

•    Invite a colleague that you know has different ideas from your own to lunch.

•    Ask yourself each day about a certain thing you strongly believe in and critique it. Find out more information on the topic to learn even more. .  .

To cultivate Creativity, Ingenuity and Originality:

•    Accept that you are a creative person.  When faced with a task, ask yourself, “What is the most creative way in which I can approach this task?” try to use spare time during the day to write a short poem, draw a simple picture or write in your journal.

•    Rearrange your house, room, dormitory, apartment, office or work place. Move a piece of furniture to a new place.  Try to shuffle the things to improve your disposition and mood.

•    Compose a literary work and publish it in a magazine or newspaper, or the very least post it as a blog.

•    Discover a new word daily, know its meaning, and use it with creativity.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

Feeling hopeless or helpless? That you don’t have any control over your life? You can begin to feel more in control by utilizing one or more of your specific character strengths. You can take the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths to identify your individual strengths, and then by utilizing one or more of your strengths, feel more empowered.

Among the character strengths included in the VIA Survey are Social Intelligence and Perspective. Social Intelligence can also be termed as emotional or personal intelligence. It is described as the ability to be aware of the motivations and emotions of others and knowing what to do to adapt to diverse social circumstances. Perspective could also be viewed as “Wisdom”. It is an ability to see different points of view.

Here are some ways to cultivate each of these strengths:

To cultivate Social Intelligence:

  • Try to meet a new person every day.
  • Talk to someone at a gathering you might never expect to talk to.
  • Get involved in more social events.
  • Reach out to people who appear to be alone.
  • When conversing with someone, ask questions to understand what makes them happy and why they enjoy their particular interests and passions.

To cultivate Perspective:

  • Study a great quote everyday from great thinkers, writers, and philosophers.
  • Try listening to the opinion of someone with whom you do not entirely agree and stretch yourself to understand why they might have the stance that they have.
  • Educate yourself about historic people – their values, beliefs and their stand on prominent issues.
  • Have a mentor, someone you deem as a wise person, as a role model you can learn from.

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.

I have a fondness for the southeastern Asian country of Bhutan, as they promote and foster their Gross National Happiness instead of their gross national product. Therefore, I was excited recently when I learned that my Alma Mater, Naropa University, has formed a partnership with the Royal University of Bhutan.
The partnership formed in response to the Bhutanese leaders’ concern for their young people. Ever since 1999, when television and the Internet were introduced to Bhutan, the country has been flooded with consumerism in a way they have previously never experienced. Naropa is now working to help bring contemplative psychology practices to Bhutan at the Royal University of Bhutan and at many schools, in order to help school counselors learn these techniques.
I find it interesting that a country that has existed happily for a very long time, now that commercialism has arrived in full-force, is seeking mindfulness based practices to help reestablish balance for their people. It is a powerful reminder that, as positive psychology research shows, while the “stuff” and circumstances of our lives are convenient, our thoughts and our actions are the keys to bringing us happiness.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

Developing Curiosity and a Love of Learning and help to Increase Life Satisfaction

In a previous blog post I referenced the Positive Psychology VIA Inventory of Strengths. Cultivating your strengths can be a source of increased satisfaction in life and a buffer against depression and anxiety. If you have not taken the VIA I encourage you do to so.
Here are two of the strengths from the VIA and some suggestions on how they can be cultivated:

Curiosity and Interest in the World
1.    Watch young children at play for tips on how to increase curiosity. Children are immensely curious and engaged in life.
2.    Browse the stacks at the library or peruse a bookshelf at a friend’s home. Find a book that looks interesting to you. Browse through it, check it out, or ask to borrow it.
3.    Watch the news or read about current events and find an uplifting news story about something positive that has recently happened in the world.
4.    Call someone you know and ask them about something positive in their life that you are curious about.
5.    Take time to listen to someone with 100% of your attention.

Love of learning
1.    Take a class at a community college or at a local community center.
2.    Invite a friend to go to an evening lecture with you.
3.    Take up a new hobby.
4.    Ask someone you respect to share a gem of wisdom by which they live their life.
5.    Study a new language or musical instrument.

Please contact me about how you can develop your strengths and enhance your life.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

The Values-in-Action (VIA) is a classification system and measurement of strengths created by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., Martin Seligman, Ph.D., Katherine Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., and other prominent psychologists. Through reading philosophical and religious texts from around the world, 6 core virtues: Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Love and Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Spirituality and Transcendence, were identified. These 6 core virtues having been taught or praised by almost all spiritual and philosophical traditions around the world and throughout time.  The reason these 6 virtues are highly regarded is that when practiced they form the foundation for good character in individuals.

Seligman and his colleagues realized that by identifying and utilizing one’s personal strengths, or character traits, one could develop and cultivate virtues.

In creating a classification of strengths, Seligman and his colleagues realized that once strengths are identified, they can then be consciously cultivated and developed.  A strength takes conscious effort to utilize in one’s daily actions. This differs from a talent, which is more innate.  When a strength is used when taking action, the result almost is always virtuous.

There are 24 signatures strengths.  By taking the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths, your strengths will be ranked, so that you can identify your top character strengths.

The benefits of utilizing character strengths include:

  • By taking action that utilizes one of your character strengths you will likely experience an increase in positive emotion
  • You will feel a sense of excitement when using your strength
  • You will feel fulfilled and energized by using your strength
  • The more conscious you are in using your strengths, the more and more ways you will come up with ways to cultivate your tops strengths

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them. In later posts, I look forward to exploring each of the strengths and suggesting some ways that you can incorporate them into life.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Positive Results

Many people from time to time feel blue, depressed, or anxious. For some people these emotions are a common experience. Whether depression or anxiety is familiar to you or a rare occurrence, it is helpful to have tools to pick yourself back up when needed.

Positivity Portfolio

One way to increase positive emotion is to create positivity portfolios for yourself. A positivity portfolio is a collection of items of your choosing that represent and remind you of a specific positive emotion. Each portfolio you create will represent one positive emotion. One portfolio may be on “serenity” another on “love,” etc.

Your positivity portfolio “container” may be a manila folder, a folder on an MP3 player, or a special box. Once you decide what positive emotion your first portfolio will represent for you, you can then fill your portfolio with items that lead you toward that positive emotion when you look at the items. For example, if your positivity portfolio is about “love” you might have in your portfolio:
A copy of a sweet email that you received from someone you love
Photos of loved ones
Love poems
Video clips that represent love to you
A love song
A lotion with a sent that makes you feel loved

Tips for creating and using your Positivity Portfolios:
You will want to ultimately make several positivity portfolios, for the various positive emotions you want to generate for yourself.
Be creative! If an item reminds you of the intended emotion, than it is fine to include!
Take your time when creating your portfolios. The creation process itself feels good!
Pull out one of your positivity portfolios when you feel the slighted hint of a negative emotion
Let your portfolios evolve – add and subtract items when necessary
Engage with your portfolios mindfully and with an open heart.

James Pawelski, director of education for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, came up with the idea of a positivity portfolio. This idea has now been researched by Barbara Frederickson of UNC Chapel Hill. Feel free to comment below and share how you have used your positivity portfolio(s).

Here’s to feeling good!

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.