Mompreneurblog: Laurence & Positive Psychology

We’re just a week shy of the start of Vaud cantonal school holidays, so as parents we should have an idea how our children are fairing this academic year.  Hopefully, most of our children are doing well, though some may have been more affected by “Back to School” than others.   With this theme in mind, today’s Mompreneur blog is about a mother and Child Psychologist who is in private practice in the Geneva/Vaud cantons.   So today’s blog is about Laurence van Hanswijck de Jonge, Ph.D, her practice and the workshops she and her colleague are running this fall.

laurenceLaurence, so tell us a bit about yourself

I am originally Dutch and lived here in the Geneva/France area for 5 years. I have two lovely little boys (5 and 2 years old) and am a practicing Child Psychologist in the Nyon/Geneva area.

My mother was a Child Psychologist, and she had a passion for this work and helping children, what led you into this field?

My interest is neuropsychology, which started when was quite young. It was the mystery of the brain and the link between anatomy and cognition that intrigued me.  It is a great big puzzle and still many areas and their workings remain a mystery. My interest in children started during university when we got to study the developmental side of the brain as well as run many assessments. It was the challenge that came with testing and understanding children that fascinated me. The constant nature/nurture debate and observing how early life events form a child was always fascinating to me.

How did you get into private practice?

I moved to CH a few years ago and after working at the public hospital I realized that I really missed working in what was my roots, child neuropsychology, seeing the need of anglophone assessments I decided to set up my own practice. Simultaneously I developed my second passion, positive psychology

What is positive psychology?

While traditional Psychology tries to treat mental illness and is good at getting people from ‘abnormal’ to ‘normal’ or average, Positive Psychology identifies approaches and processes to unleash people’s potential to go beyond normal in order to reach extraordinary performance, well-being and life satisfaction. Together with my colleague, Sandy Perrin, we created Positive Psychology Consulting and we now run workshops for parents & teachers in Geneva, Vaud & neighbouring France.

Tell us about these workshops

The workshops aim to give parents & teachers positive tools, right at their fingertips, which they can apply to their existing parenting/teaching strategies in a natural and intuitive way.  At the root of positive psychology, in all areas, is the notion that we get more of what we focus on. Removing weakness is not the same as building strengths. If we habitually focus on remedying weaknesses then we will struggle to help children to flourish. Conversely, if we focus on promoting positive habits we will help them to develop even further.

Do you have workshops for Children?

We offer the Penn Resilience Program, based on 20 years of research at the University of Pennsylvania, by founding father of Positive Psychology Dr. Seligman.  This program teaches children and adolescents more sophisticated thinking styles, it reduces anxiety, improves conduct, builds emotional resilience and aids academic achievement.

The program also develops skills to meet day-to-day challenges like moving schools, meeting new people, bullying, stressful family problems, negotiation, decisions making and bouncing back from disappointments.

All this clearly cannot be done in one workshop!  What’s the programme like, when is it offered?

The program is a 12 session training program aimed at children between 7 and 17 years (grouped in 3 age bands). The next program will start to run in the first week of November at True Colours Place in Nyon [Flyer inserted below].

Like me & expatparent, you clearly love helping teachers, parents, children and can do so whilst also being a mother…

I am lucky to have found two areas that I truly am passionate about. In all honesty I think my passion for these topics has grown in strides since having my own two little boys. They keep me on my toes and keep me thinking and reflecting on how what I learned through the years actually fits into real day to day life. Although dividing my time between my children and my work is challenging on a good day I am lucky to have the support around me to allow me to do this. It is my mission in my practice to see the whole child, not only to get a clear and correct understanding of what is going wrong but also what is going right. Equally it is the mission of Positive Psychology Consulting that given the time we can share the understanding of resilience and positive psychology with the community and share the valuable tools that it has to offer to give moms and teachers new confidence with their children and children the skills of resilience allowing them to flourish.

If a parent wants to contact you, how can he or she?

I can be reached through my Private Practice & the website

PRP poster

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