Via Institute on Character website PPT



Warm Up Activity 4.1

Go to The Via Institute on Character website, found in the Books and Resources for this Week, and learn about the VIA survey and character strengths and virtues.


Imagine that you are a school counselor at a high school. You want to introduce a program that enables students to take the VIA youth survey, which is a version of the strengths survey designed specifically for children between the ages of 10 and 17. Students will then learn about their individual strengths and how they can apply them in areas of their lives (e.g. family relationships, future career directions, etc.).

You need to convince the school administration of the value of the new strengths program that you want to adopt. Create a PowerPoint that you are going to deliver to the school administration. Make sure that it includes the following:

  • Introduce positive psychology and their ideas about the importance of character strengths.
  • Explain the VIA survey (e.g. how was it created? What strengths does it assess? Etc.)
  • Discuss how the VIA survey has been adapted for adolescents.
  • Evaluate the potential value of your program for the students.
  • Include specific examples of how strength knowledge might have a positive impact on specific aspects of the students’ lives.

Support your presentation with at least five references from peer-reviewed journal articles.

Length: 7-10 slides; expanded notes of 200-300 words

Positive traits have been an important area of research for positive psychologists. Researchers wanted to establish a list of character strengths that are considered stable positive traits across cultures. Positive psychologists distinguish between strengths and talents. Talents are considered to be innate whereas strengths can be selected and nurtured.

This week you will learn about a nonprofit research institute, the VIA Institute on Character. This institute has been responsible for administering the VIA survey created by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman to assess character strengths. This survey assesses 24 character strengths that are categorized under 6 essential virtues (wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence).

The strengths approach encourages individuals to identify their key character strengths. Individuals are then able to focus on these virtues and utilize their strengths to maximize success in many areas of their lives. When individuals play to their strengths they are more effective in the workplace and are more equipped to form close relationships. Character strengths can also protect us from mental illness.