Want to get more from life? Tim LeBon can teach you the skills to feel happier, in control and more able to achieve your potential.
"I originally studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford and really took to the philosophy part of the course. The idea that we could reflect on how to live better was exciting and new to me. In my twenties I undertook further study in psychology.
"I then worked in IT for a company called Logica, where I really enjoyed my work and the camaraderie with fellow workers. (It was almost like going to university and getting paid for it!) But in my late twenties, I found something was missing. I wanted to make a positive difference to people's lives and I wanted to do something that I was really passionate about. When I asked myself "is this how I want to spend the majority of my time" the answer was a resounding "no". So I trained as a counsellor, psychotherapist, life coach and teacher. I have also had two books published, Wise Therapy and Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology. I find my work now much more meaningful.
"I got into teaching while I was studying at the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at Regents College, London. They needed someone to teach their Ethics of Counselling and Psychotherapy course; I was asked to step in. At the time, I hadn't had any specific teacher training (I have had since!) so I went straight in at the deep end.
"There is a lot I like about teaching. I'm very enthusiastic about my subject, which I hope is contagious. I like it when my students really get into the subject and apply the ideas. Teaching the subjects I do, there is a genuine possibility it will help them. I also often get into "flow" myself when teaching - I get so absorbed in it that time seems to fly, at least for me!
"The other, secret, benefit of teaching is that it's actually the best way to learn about a subject oneself. You have to do the reading, you have to prepare for classes, you have to reflect on tricky questions that students sometimes ask. So for me, teaching is enjoyable and meaningful.
"I've taught Positive Psychology at City for nearly ten years. Many mature students say that they want to return to study to enjoy the experience as well as learn. Positive Psychology is unique in that it's one of the few courses that aims to help you get more out of life, as well as learn about the subject.
"Over the ten weeks students learn about the practical topics of Positive Psychology, such as happiness, positive emotions, achievement, positive relationships, mindfulness and compassion. They also learn evidence-based techniques to help them become happier, achieve more and be more mindful. Homework is set each week around activities aimed at helping students achieve these techniques. This week, for example, they have been monitoring where they experience "flow" - being so absorbed in an activity that you lose track of everything else - in the first part of the week, and trying to increase the amount of flow in the second part. Of course students read about Positive Psychology as well. This makes learning truly experiential: students try out the exercises and this not only helps them assess the effectiveness of these exercises, it also enables them to experience from the inside how Positive Psychology works in practice.
"My new book, Achieve your potential with positive psychology (Hodder, 2014), sums up what I'd like students to take from my courses: to learn about Positive Psychology so they can use it in their personal and professional lives to help them achieve their potential.
"Every term I ask students to fill in happiness questionnaires at the beginning and end of the course. The majority of students find a significant increase in well-being over the ten weeks.
"A number of students go on to further study, e.g. to take Masters courses in Positive Psychology. I know that many students have applied the things they've learnt on my course in their personal and professional lives. One student gave a brilliant presentation on how she was using the ideas in her work as a primary school teacher. Another runs a small business where the whole ethos of the company - from the way meetings are run to how customers are treated - is influenced by the philosophy of Positive Psychology.
"My advice for anyone thinking about taking a course at City? Just do it!"