#228 – Positive Psychology Coaching with John Schinnerer

photo of John Schninnerer


John Schinnerer, Ph.D. is in private practice helping individuals learn happiness by mitigating destructive emotions and fostering constructive emotions. Using positive psychology, he helps clients achieve happy, thriving, meaningful lives. He graduated summa cum laude from U.C. Berkeley with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. Dr. Schinnerer has been an executive and psychologist for over 12 years. He is President and Founder of Guide To Self, a company that coaches clients to their potential using the latest in positive psychology, emotional management, mindfulness and attentional control. He has hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a prime time radio show on positive psychology, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Schinnerer’s areas of expertise range from positive psychology, to emotional awareness, to moral development, to sports psychology. Dr. Schinnerer wrote the award-winning, ‘Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,’ which is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers. He is currently collaborating with the University of New Zealand in a longitudinal positive psychology study called The International Wellbeing Study (www.wellbeingstudy.com). He may be reached via email at John@GuideToSelf.com.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. becky blake
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    John –
    In your interview with David Van Nuys, you talked about the 3 big negative emotions: fear, anger, and sadness. You said forgiveness was the antidote for anger and gratitude for sadness. What is the antidote for fear or anxiety — courage?

  2. John Schinnerer
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Dear Becky:

    Yes. You are absolutely right. The antidote for fear, anxiety and nervousness is the cultivation of courage. There are a variety of ways to do this. The most useful for my clients has been to write out your own Courage Story.

    Bravery and valor are arguably among the most important of the 24 character strengths. And they fall within the virtue cluster of courage. I’ve always found a truckload of truth in this quotation: “The secret of life is this: When you hear the sound of the cannons, walk toward them.” So let me ask you to think back over your life:

    “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”

    Sample answers I’ve heard: Moving across country to a new city without a job…. Going back to school as a single parent with an infant….Staying with my dearest friend as she died of cancer…..Learning to dance at 60…Applying to a graduate program at UC Berkeley….

    Mine was facing down my own social anxiety to do a daily primetime radio show.
    What’s yours?

    Writing Your Courage Story.

    Write a succinct one page story about the most courageous thing you’ve ever done. The time period could range from minutes to days or months to years. Be sure to give your story a clear, crisp ending. Elements to include might be:
    • The context,
    • What you feared,
    • Why it required your courage,
    • What your experience felt and looked like (details are good)
    • How you acted despite the fear,
    • And be sure to give your story a clear, crisp ending.

  3. becky blake
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Dear John:
    Thanks for your thoughtful and most insightful response. I really like the quote about walking towards the cannons. For me, it\’s the times I face the little things (that subjectively feel like cannons) that serve to slowly build \"my mound of courage.\" It\’s the times I say \"yes\" instead of the usual \"no,\" or the times I do \"it\" even when it hurts.
    Congratulations, by the way, on your radio debut. As a result, I was stimulated to think in new ways and with new enthusiasm.

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