Liz Hall talks to Positive Psychologist Dr Ilona Boniwell, founder of the first masters
in Positive Psychology in Europe and of the European Network of Positive Psychology, author, teacher, director, speaker and parent of five children. Not surprisingly, she feels well-qualified to discuss work/life balance. She stresses its importance and the role of coaching in helping others understand their choices
It’s refreshing interviewing Dr Ilona Boniwell. Funny, bright and warm, she’s happy to share that despite being a world-renowned expert on resilience and Positive Psychology (PP), she hasn’t got it all sorted.
I don’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved. I’ll opt for relieved, considering that optimism is rated so highly in the PP movement.
When we did the interview, Ilona was emerging from weeks of burning the midnight oil, completing validation paperwork for her latest brainchild, the International MSc in Applied Pos Psych (I-MAPP), which she launches in Paris and Cambridge this autumn. Uniquely, the programme offers students the choice of 12 modules, including coaching, and education.
Ilona already teaches at the École Centrale, Paris, including a module on Positive Leadership and on the Masters in Transformation and Innovation.
In addition, she lectures and speaks on PP and resilience widely, writes and edits books, does media work, including writing a monthly column for Psychologies magazine on modern family life and consults as a director of consultancy Positran, including advising the Bhutanese government. All this, and she is raising five children, four of whom are teenagers, aged 14,15, 16 and 17. The latter means her weekends are not always restful.
“I do feel myself quite qualified to discuss work/life balance! Three of the teenagers are boys, and you have to deal with multiple issues frequently at the weekend, yet still perform once you’re back at work. On Monday morning, I have to teach PP.”