Student Experiences – Positive Psychology Coaching (Tracy Bevan)

Applied Positive Psychology Research / Positive Psychology / Positive Psychology Coaching / Positive Psychology in Practice

Tracy Bevan is a Positive Psychology Coach who completed the Level 5 Diploma Positive Psychology Fundamentals in 2021 and Level 5 Diploma Positive Psychology Practice & Coaching in 2022. Below is a summary of her experience on this joint diploma course in her own words.

What motivated you to apply for and engage in this course?

I started studying with the Positive Psychology Guild (PPG) in 2021 following on from an intensive year completing a Masters in Psychology. I have now finished the Level 5 Fundamentals and Positive Psychology Coaching Diplomas which took me about 15 months, a little longer than I had planned. Some people questioned my sanity – going straight into further study and, as the year progressed, I sometimes thought they might have a point, but hindsight has offered me some perspective. I can see Seligman’s PERMA theory (Seligman, 2012) in action. Love of Learning is in my top 3 strengths and the satisfaction and purpose I get from putting this strength to use is a key factor in my wellbeing. It also gave me structure and focus through the Covid times.

I’ve worked in social housing for 25 years, supporting people through financial, social, health and other difficulties. At its most rewarding it felt I was walking alongside my clients as they found a way out of their struggles. Most of the time though, the process and my involvement, ended before we reached the light! They were left in some non-descript grey space, safe but unfulfilling. We might have left chaos behind but there was no plan for the next steps, nothing to re-engage people with a life of purpose and wellbeing.

I wouldn’t have worded it like that back then, I didn’t have the language, but I knew I was leaving people short of a full recovery! Their self-efficacy; their faith in themselves to be able to create the life they wanted, had not been restored. In many cases it had never been there to begin with.

Something was missing and the feeling I was leaving a job half done was adding to a growing sense of compassion fatigue. This didn’t feel like me and something needed to change. I wanted to develop the aspects of my job that I found most interesting; what makes people tick, why we do the things we do, what gets in the way and where I could help change this. I was fortunate enough to be able to reduce my hours whilst I undertook the one year conversion MSc in Psychology but I discovered this was just the first step towards gaining the skills I needed.

I wanted a more practical set of tools, something that would actually get me ready to work with people. I considered clinical psychology, counselling and psychotherapy but positive psychology caught my imagination.

As I studied Psychology I saw again that therapy only took you so far, back to baseline but not beyond into wellness. And what about all the people like me? Not unwell, just feeling there was something more they had to contribute, who wanted to develop greater life satisfaction and purpose. What about us?

Psychology remains in the shadow of the medical model but with the emergence of positive psychology it is starting to address how we can lead more fulfilling lives, lives of where meaning and happiness are achievable. These are the reasons I chose to study the topic in greater depth.

What are you taking away from your learning experience?

There is a lot to take away but the crucial thing for me is the practical application of the theories we learnt, with ourselves as guinea pigs. First rule of the Positive Psychology club; you practice Positive Psychology! After all, if I didn’t understand where it can get tricky or the effort and inward looking called for, then how could I coach anyone else? The changes we need to make in ourselves and how we look at the world are subtle. Learning to work on my own awareness, knowing what has helped and motivated me, and appreciating how hard it can be at times all makes me a better coach, one who embodies what they teach. I have learnt a lot about myself. If I walked away never to practice coaching again, I would still be able to say I benefited from this. It has given the insight and motivation to change some of my own behaviours for the better.

Throughout the last 15 months, along with doing a lot of reading, studying and writing, I started exercising regularly, I lost 2 stone, my confidence built and a greater sense of my self-worth has emerged. I am a kinder person than I was at the start – kinder to myself – and I am continuing to learn and practice Positive Psychology. You can read more about my journey to becoming a positive psychology coach here Becoming a Positive Psychology Coach – The Positive Psychology People.

How do you plan to use your qualification in the future?

There is still learning to do. I am gaining more new skills, finding out about running a business, setting up a website and keeping the impetus going. My business is ready to launch and my website is up and running (you can find me at I am writing regularly for The Positive Psychology People Home – The Positive Psychology People – Positive Psychology for Everyone and hopefully I will soon get that landmark, first paying client through the door / screen.

It’s an exciting time and I am grateful for the preparation the last 15 months has afforded me. I feel I have made some strong foundations from which to practice and I know my learning and qualifications are comprehensive. I am not just out there winging it! So wish me luck and get in touch if you want to find out more.

Tracy Bevan is a member of the Positive Psychology Guild and a graduate member of the British Psychology Society (Coaching Division). She has a Masters in Psychology and a Level 5 Diploma in Positive Psychology Coaching Practice. Tracy has worked in social housing for 25 years and splits her time between being a Housing Officer and coaching. Her passion is reigniting hope and laughter in those who have lost their way, supporting those who are searching for their next adventure or simply looking to make their world a little brighter. She is making this dream a reality through her coaching practice and story-telling. Tracy loves creative writing and will be building this into her coaching using journalling and narrative therapy techniques. She lives in Chester with her husband, three children and Koko the dog.

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