New book reveals positive relationships to be at the heart of wellbeing
We all have relationships – with our partners, children, parents, friends, colleagues and many others. According to a new book being launched in Sydney, the quality of these relationships is critically important for our overall wellbeing.
Adjunct Associate Professor Sue Roffey, from the University of Western Sydney and Director of Wellbeing Australia, is the editor of Positive Relationships: Evidence Based Practice across the World.
The book brings together the views of a range of international experts, to explore the ways that we can “promote the positive” in various aspects of our lives – including in our roles as a leader, professional, mentor, teacher or parent.
“Our relationships all have a significant impact on our daily lives, including the way we perceive ourselves and others and the feelings we experience,” says Dr Roffey.
“A positive relationship can enrich our lives while a negative one can be the cause of deep distress. Unfortunately, much of the time we only give attention to relationships when things go wrong. That is why it is so important to understand in some depth how relationships might be enhanced in all areas of our lives.”
Dr Roffey, from the UWS School of Education and Centre for Positive Psychology and Education (CPPE), says Positive Relationships is firmly grounded in the science of positive psychology and has been written to appeal to a wide audience.
“Positive psychology has much to offer to enhance everyday living”, says Dr Roffey. “Healthy relationships can offer real meaning and sustainable fulfilment in our lives. Knowing what promotes the positive is the first step to authentic wellbeing.”
Professor Felicia Huppert, Director of the Well-Being Institute at the University of Cambridge says in the Foreword of Positive Relationships that this “seminal book moves beyond a focus on the individual, putting relationships at the heart of life going well.”
The chapters are authored by academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines and from across the world, each addressing positive relationships in the contexts of family, work, school and community.
The authors, and their respective chapters, include:
- Professor Ann Brewer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney - Positive Mentoring Relationships: Nurturing potential.
- Associate Professor Stephanie Jones and Dr Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA - Learning about Relationships.
- Professor Margaret Vickers and Associate Professor Florence McCarthy at the School of Education, University of Western Sydney – Positive Community Relations.
- Adjunct Professor Toni Noble, at Australian Catholic University (ACU), and Adjunct Professor Helen McGrath, at RMIT University – Wellbeing and Resilience in Young People and the Role of Positive Relationships.
- Adjunct Associate Professor Sue Roffey at the University of Western Sydney - Introduction and Developing Positive Relationships in Schools.
- Associate Professor Vagdevi Meunier, St Edwards University, Austin, Texas, USA and Wayne Baker, professional counsellor – Positive Couple Relationships: The evidence for long lasting relationship satisfaction and happiness.
- Dr Karen Majors, educational psychologist and professional tutor at the Institute of Education, London University – Friendships: the Power of Positive Alliance.
- Kimberly O'Brien, child psychologist and Director of the Quirky Kid Clinic, and Jane Mosco, educational psychologist – Positive Parent-child Relationships.
- Emilia Dowling, previously Head of Child Psychology at the Tavistock Clinic and visiting professor at Birkbeck College, London, and Di Elliot, systemic psychotherapist – Promoting Positive Outcomes for Children Experiencing Change in Family Relationships.
- Sue Langley, CEO of Emotional intelligence Worldwide – Positive Relationships at Work.
- Elizabeth Gillies, educational psychologist and previously Vice-President of International Mental Health Professionals in Japan – Positive Professional Relationships.
- Dr Hilary Armstrong, Director of Education at the Institute of Executive Coaching, Sydney – Spirited Leadership: Growing leaders for the future.
- Zalman Kastel, Director of the Together for Humanity Foundation – Positive Relations between Members of Groups with Divergent Beliefs and Cultures.
- Associate Professor Lois Edmund, Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies at the University of Winnipeg, Canada – Conflict and Confrontation.
- Peta Blood, Co-founder of Restorative Practices International – The repair and restoration of relationships.
- Robyn Hromek, Educational psychologist and Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney and Angela Walsh, Director of the Love Bites educational program for NAPCAN (National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) – Peaceful and compassionate futures: positive relationships as an antidote to violence.
“Each chapter of this book provides evidence on how healthy relationships enable both individuals and communities to flourish, what we can do to ensure these are the best they can be and what to do when difficulties arise,” says Dr Roffey.
“The evidence sometimes challenges current beliefs, for example what constitutes good leadership and how emotionally intelligent relationships make all the difference to effective work environments.
“The book predominately focuses on our shared humanity – what we all have in common, rather than what divides us. The overarching themes are fostering positive communication practices, treating each other with respect and building social capital.”
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