Harnessing Positive Psychology with Martha Knudson
“By the time I got to my tenth year of practice, I was burned-out, depressed, anxious, and had a hard time finding any joy in life . . . I wanted to see if I could do it differently.”
Today we’re talking to Martha Knudson, who is Executive Director of the Utah State Well-being Committee for the Legal Profession, and she’s helping us examine an intractable problem.
Lawyers are smart, driven, and are members of a highly lucrative profession. They’re one of our society’s paragons of success! And yet, they experience substance abuse and mental health problems at rates far higher than the general population.
What’s going on with lawyer well-being, and are there any way to turn these trends around?
Martha has some ideas. That’s because in addition to nearly two decades of work as a lawyer, Martha also has a degree in Applied Positive Psychology. She studied under one of the legendary founders of the field of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, and she now combines her two fields of expertise to train lawyers on ways to make their lives happier, more satisfying, and more meaningful.
Learn more about the problem by reading this report from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being, and use the American Bar Association’s Well-being Toolkit to take more control over your mental health.
Martha brings her unique combination of expertise in the law, business, and applied positive psychology to her work with individuals and organizations. Having worked as a lawyer for nearly 18 years, she understands the real-world goals and challenges of companies and the professionals that work within them. As an expert in applied positive psychology, she is also skilled at targeting these needs through the development of science-based solutions for the positive change that clients seek. From her wide-ranging experience, Martha knows first-hand how policies that promote the strengths and well-being of corporate professionals are good for business.
Martha earned her law degree in 1999, graduating magna cum laude. She went on to practice law initially as a law firm litigator where she rose to the rank of shareholder, and later as General Counsel of a leading national real estate management company. While still practicing law, in 2015 Martha earned a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania studying under Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology former President of the APA, and Director of the Positive Psychology Center. Since that time, and in addition to her consulting work, Martha serves on this graduate program’s teaching staff.
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