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Pursuit of Happiness Program

August 12, 2020
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Would you like to feel happier?

We have a deep human longing to be happy—something the founders of the United States realized when they wrote into the Declaration of Independence that every person was entitled to the pursuit of happiness.

While we all want to be happy, life often takes its toll on our happiness and well-being. The happiness of Americans has been on a steady decline since the 1950s. Current conditions add even more stress to our lives, often making it harder to feel happy.

Fortunately, there are a number of skills and strategies that scientific research studies have shown can help people to feel significantly happier.

The Places for People St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health is offering a comprehensive program to enhance happiness and well-being. The program includes a number of skills, strategies, and practices that have been demonstrated in research studies to significantly improve happiness in studies with the general public.

The program will include eight one-hour interactive workshop sessions from 12:30-1:30 p.m. via Zoom.  New registrations will be accepted through the third session. Would you like to participate but are unable to make those dates or times? No worries! If you register for the training, you can also access recordings of the webinar through YouTube. Of course, we’d like to have you join the live webinar event, but you can also access the recorded trainings for any workshops that you miss.

The program will be led by Gary Morse, Ph.D., Vice President of Research and Development at Places for People. Dr. Morse has served in the mental health care field since 1981, providing behavioral health services, researching and developing best practices, administering programs, consulting, and training. The focus of Dr. Morse’s professional work has been to reduce the suffering and improve the wellness of people living with mental health disorders. Julie Blanco, Director of Training and Technical Assistance at the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, will serve as facilitator for the series.

On a voluntary basis, participants can also participate in an evaluation of the program. The optional evaluation will include checklists at the start of the program, after one month, and after two months to assess your voluntary use of strategies, your experiences and suggestions about the program, and your baseline and follow-up levels of happiness and well-being. You will be given a $10 gift card for completing the evaluation questions, and (if you wish) will be provided with information about your personal happiness scores.

Of course, there’s no guarantees this program will improve your personal happiness. Still, the fact that nearly all of the skills and strategies have been found in scientific research studies to significantly improve the happiness or well-being of people gives us hope that this program will be beneficial to some people who participate in these workshops.

For additional information, please contact Julie Blanco, LCSW, at or Gary Morse, Ph.D., at


Thanks for your interest!

If you have a topic suggestion or would like to offer one of these trainings to your group or organization, please contact Julie Blanco at