Anxhela Kalia: Why I Chose the Positive Psychology Program at PCOM
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Anxhela Kalia: Why I Chose the Positive Psychology Program at PCOM

March 14, 2023

An undergraduate course titled “The Psychology of Happiness” first helped Anxhela Kalia realize that positive psychology was something she wanted to incorporate into her future career.

Anxhela Kalia is shown at the beach,
Anxhela Kalia

“Strengths-based approaches have been shown to significantly impact individual and community well-being in workplaces, schools, and clinical settings,” Kalia explained. “I understood that I wanted to be a part of a subset of psychology that goes against the typical deficit-focused medical model and approaches individuals as beings with the motivation to change and the knowledge needed to succeed within them.”

That individual-first focus led Kalia to the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at PCOM.

“I chose the MAPP program at PCOM due to its holistic view of the connection between the mind and body,” Kalia said. “As someone interested in clinical psychology, I knew the MAPP program would provide me with necessary and useful resources for promoting human flourishing and thriving in the clinical field.”

The motivational interviewing component also stood out.

“It provided a fresh perspective into eliciting health behavior change with an understanding that clients have what they need to succeed within them,” she added.

Kalia is also utilizing positive psychological principles in her work as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Marie Sizemore at the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. Their work is focused on a positive psychological app for sexual minority men living with HIV and substance use. 

"Our supportive research team and this role have taught me valuable information about applying positive psychology to real-world interventions and research data management skills," she said. "Being a part of this process has been both educational and inspiring!"

Kalia’s plan is to become a clinical research coordinator and eventually obtain her PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Ultimately, she would like to become a clinical psychologist with young adults and a professor in the field of clinical psychology with a focus on positive psychology. As a student in the MAPP program, Kalia has taken part in hands-on experiences designed to prepare her to fulfill those career goals.

According to Kalia, seeing the change she and her cohort and professors have been able to make through the Happier You and Health Support Group facilitations have been very impactful.

“Happier You provides hands-on experience and acts as a culmination of everything we have learned in the program thus far,” she said. “Learning how to incorporate positive psychological principles into our daily lives and motivating others to do the same has been both educational and inspiring.”

While her time in the MAPP program has been filled with insight into positive psychology and what allows individuals to thrive, being part of the process with a supportive cohort has also been very memorable for Kalia.

“Not only is this program filled with knowledgeable and compassionate professors who demonstrate consideration and expertise in their teachings but it also provides hands-on engagement with the cohort and learning opportunities with community members.”

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