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The Science of a Meaningful Life: Building Compassion, Trust, and Happiness

November 5, 2010
Town Hall Seattle, Seattle, WA | Map It

A day-long seminar featuring Dacher Keltner and John Gottman as part of the GGSC’s Science of a Meaningful Life series.

Check out the Greater Good Events Calendar.

Presented by the Greater Good Science Center and ParentMap.




This day-long seminar will offer strategies for cultivating compassion, developing resilience, and strengthening relationships in your personal and professional life.

It will be led by Dacher Keltner, a renowned professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and the founding faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center. Drawing on cutting-edge research from psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Keltner will reveal the deep roots of human goodness, and he will explain why humans have strong propensities for caring and compassionate behavior. His presentation will highlight the strong connections between happiness, compassion, and altruism, identifying the health and social benefits that come from practicing trust, empathy, gratitude, kindness, and other positive behaviors. For instance, cultivating feelings of gratitude have been shown to boost people’s health, make them happier, and improve their relationships.

Building on this science, Dr. Keltner will present research-based tips for fostering positive emotions and behaviors in yourself, in children, and in colleagues and clients. He will also shed light on those who have trouble forming relationships, such as those who suffer from social disorders like autism.

The seminar will also feature a special guest presentation by John Gottman, the nation’s foremost researcher of marriage and parenting. Dr. Gottman will explain how attendees can develop stronger, more compassionate, and more trusting relationships with their romantic partners and others. He will focus on how to practice constructive, compassionate conflict resolution in relationships, including (but not limited to) marriages. He will also discuss how that approach is complicated after one partner has betrayed the other, and explain how partners can restore trust, compassion, and empathy to their relationship after such a betrayal has occurred. Ultimately, he will identify principles and practices that are vital to any healthy relationship.

To register only for John Gottman’s presentation (from 1-2:30pm), click here. To register for the full day, click here.

The Science of a Meaningful Life seminar series is made possible through a generous grant from the Quality of Life Foundation.

(All sections led by Dacher Keltner unless otherwise noted) 

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  Registration and check in
9:00 - 10:30 The evolution and neuroscience of social well-being
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 12:00 Compassion, empathy, and gratitude as paths to social well-being and the meaningful life
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:00 - 2:30 John Gottman, PhD, on fostering empathy and trust in relationships
2:30 - 2:45 Break
2:45 - 3:30 Breakdowns in social and emotional well-being: autism, depression, antisocial disorder
3:30 - 3:45 Break
3:45 - 4:45 Practical steps toward cultivating happiness and compassion in yourself and others

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the connections between compassion and happiness
  • Develop effective ways to handle stress and maintain a more resilient, compassionate approach toward other people
  • Diagnose the root causes of anti-social behavior, such as aggression and autism
  • Cultivate compassion and trust in relationships with spouses, children, and others
  • Use research-based practices to boost happiness in themselves and others

Continuing Education

Course approval for Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists, Counselors, and Nurses

This seminar is approved for 6 CE hours. Continuing education sponsorship by R. Cassidy Seminars.

Satisfactory Completion
Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in, attended the entire seminar, completed an evaluation, and signed out in order to receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.

R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program.  (6) hours.

Social Workers
OR, WA: R. Cassidy Seminars, ACE provider #1082 is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. Approval Period: April 15, 2009-April 15, 2012. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for the program. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers will receive 6 continuing education (clinical, social work ethics) clock hours in participating in this course. CA: Course meets the qualifications for (6) hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Provider #PCE418.

CA, OR, WA: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors to offer continuing education for certified counselors.  We adhere to NBCC continuing education guidelines.  Provider #6375.  (6) hours.

Marriage and Family Therapists
OR, WA: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the National Board for Certified Counselors to offer continuing education for certified counselors.  We adhere to NBCC continuing education guidelines.  Provider #6375.  (6) hours
CA: Course meets the qualifications for (6) hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Provider #PCE418. This course provides 6 CE hours.

Chemical Dependency Counselors
OR, WA: Provider approved by NAADAC Approved Education Provider Program for (6) contact hours.  Approval #000654. 

CA: Provider approved by CAADAC, Provider #4N-00-434-0208 for (6) CEHs.

Occupational Therapists – Occupational therapists will receive a certificate of completion for (6) CE hours.

CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for (6) contact hours.

CE Credit Disclaimer: Please note, each participant will be responsible for ensuring that the local licensing board will accept the CE credit being offered. We strongly recommend that you check with your individual state regulatory agency to determine whether or not you are eligible for continuing education credit by participating in this course.

Register now!

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