Ilona Boniwell

Professor Ilona Boniwell

Professor

, School of Psychology

  • Co-leader of PhD Programme in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology
  • Co-programme director of MAPP CP (MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology)

Areas Of Interest

  • Perceived time use: factors that contribute to satisfaction with time use. Relationships between time use, well-being and other measures of well-functioning.
  • Time perspective: validation and further development of existing time perspective inventories (e.g. the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory), operationalisation of Balanced TP.
  • Well-being: studying the lay conceptions of well-being using qualitative methodologies. The operationalisation of the construct of eudaimonic well-being.
  • Effects of well-being on cognitive, emotional and behavioural variables.
  • Positive education: development and validation of educational programmes aimed at different aspects of optimal functioning, such as well-being and resilience (i.e. Personal Wellbeing Lessons; SPARK Resilience: + Actions Adventure).
  • Coaching: the evaluation of coaching effectiveness, studying the mechanisms underlying coaching interventions, developing and testing positive psychology coaching protocols (i.e. strengths coaching protocol).
  • Tangible tools - evaluating the effectiveness of multi-modal approaches to enhancing flourishing.
On This Page

OVERVIEW

Professor Ilona Boniwell is one of the European leaders in positive psychology, studying, researching, teaching and implementing positive psychology for over 20 years, working as an academic, but also as a consultant with private companies, education, higher education and governmental institutions.

She was the original founder and the head of the first Master's Degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) in Europe at the University of East London (UEL). Nowadays, she is a full professor of positive psychology and coaching psychology at the UEL, co-directs the International MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology and a PhD Programme in Positive Psychology at UEL, teaches Positive Management at l'Ecole CentraleSupelec Paris and HEC, and consults around the world as a director of Positran. Her main teaching expertise lies in the areas of positive psychology and positive psychology applications, with research interests around: subjective time use, time perspective, eudaimonic well-being, measuring well-being and engagement at work, tangible tools and applications of positive psychology to business, executive coaching and education.

Ilona founded and was the first Chair of the European Network of Positive Psychology (ENPP), and was subsequently the member of its Steering Committee for many years. She organised the first European Congress of Positive Psychology in June 2002 (Winchester), starting a successful tradition of bi-annual events. She was the first Vice-Chair of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and has been continuingly the member of its Board of Directors since 2007.  She is currently the Vice-President for the Francophone Association of Positive Psychology, serves on the Board of Directors of the Wellbeing Education Network (WEN) and is a co-editor of the Applied Positive Psychology Journal.

She had authored, co-authored and co-edited twelve books within the discipline of positive psychology. Ilona is the author of Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (2006, PWBC; 2016, McGraw-Hill), co-author of The Happiness Equation (2008, Adams Media), Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications (2011, 2019, Open University Press), Well-Being Lessons for Secondary Schools (2012, Open University Press), co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Happiness (2013, Oxford University Press) and Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace (2021), and co-author of Motivated Adolescents (2015, Odile Jacob) and PEPS: Positive Education for Parents and Schools (2018, Leduc). She is currently working on a new book, Positive Psychology at Work in a Nutshell (forthcoming in 2022). She acted as the main consultant for and appeared in the BBC2 series The Happiness Formula (2006). Her other media work included Guardian, Times, Top Sante, Cosmopolitan and Psychologies articles, TV and radio interviews, and columns. Currently, she is consulting ARTE on the documentary about the progress of positive psychology (appearing alongside Professor Martin Seligman) and writing a monthly column for the Positive Psychology magazine.

Ilona frequently addresses psychology and professional audiences at national and international conferences, having delivered a TEDx, as well as over 300 keynotes, invited presentations and workshops. Multiple keynotes delivered range from those addressed to highly specialist audiences (e.g. International Conference for School Violence, Canada, 2018; 9th European Congress of Positive Psychology, Hungary, 2018; 5th Happiness and Well-Being Summit, Mexico, 2017; 8th Congress of the European Network of Positive Psychology, France, 2016), the 5th Australian Positive Psychology and Well-being Conference, Australia, 2016), through to many other professional groups - business leaders (e.g. EY, Luxembourg, 2021; Chanel, France, 2021; Goldman Sachs, UK, 2018), teachers (e.g., GESS Education, UAE, 2018), parents (e.g. Unilever, 2020-21), general public audiences (e.g. Action for Happiness, UK, 2014) and even children (e.g. Printemps d'Optimisme, France 2021). She gave evidence to the British and Bhutan Governments, and addressed congresses of up to 5, 000 delegates (e.g., LH Positive Economy Forum, Italy 2014).

Ilona is passionate about practical applications of positive psychology to coaching, business and education. Her clients include Club Med, L'Oreal, Microsoft, SNCF, EDF, Sanofi, Bull, Mars, Eric Bompard, Microsoft, BNP Paribas, Sanofi, Sodexo and many others. Nowadays, as a director of Positran, a boutique consultancy specialising in the applications of evidence-based methodologies to achieve lasting positive transformation, Ilona delivers advanced professional training in positive psychology. She has developed her own approach to positive psychology coaching and training and trained thousands of professionals around the world (in Japan, Singapore, China, Dubai, South Africa, Portugal, France and the UK). She further worked for the Government of Bhutan to develop a framework for happiness-based public policy at the request of the UN, as a member of the International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm. She also consulted the Prime Minister's Office of the UAE around the development of the toolkit for workplace positivity and organisational well-being assessment.

PUBLICATIONS

Selected books

  • Smith, W., Boniwell, I., & Green, S. (2021). Positive psychology coaching in the workplace. Springer. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Tunariu, A. (2019). Positive psychology: Theory, research and applications, 2nd Edition. Oxford: McGraw-Hill. 
  • David, S., Boniwell, I. & Ayers, A. (2013). Oxford handbook of happiness.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Ryan, L. (2012). Personal well-being lessons for secondary schools: Positive psychology in action for 11 to 14 year-olds. Oxford: McGraw-Hill. Translated into French, Dutch and Portuguese. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2006; 2008). Positive psychology in a nutshell. London: Personal Well-Being Centre. 3rd ed. (2012) with the Open University Press. Translated into French, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.

Selected journal papers

  • Kalisch, L., Boniwell, I., Osin, E., & Baeza-Velasco, C. (2021). Feeling good despite EDS: The effects of a five-week online positive psychology programme for Ehlers-Danlos-Syndrome patients. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy.
  • Kibe, C., Suzuki, M., Hirano, M., & Boniwell, I. (2020). Sensory processing sensitivity and culturally modified resilience education: Differential susceptibility in Japanese adolescents. PloS one, 15(9), e0239002.
  • Boniwell, I., Osin, E., & Chabanne, J. (2020). Engagement et bien-être au travail : Développement du Profil Organisationnel Positif. Sciences & Bonheur, 4(1), 107-139 (in French).
  • Pluess, M., Boniwell, I., Hefferon, K., & Tunariu, A. (2017). Evaluation of a school-based resilience-promoting intervention in a high-risk population in England: An exploratory controlled mixed methods trial. PloS one, 12(5), e0177191.
  • Boniwell, I., Osin, E. N., & Martinez, C. (2016). Teaching happiness at school: Non-randomised controlled mixed-methods feasibility study on the effectiveness of Personal Well-Being Lessons. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(1), 85-98.
  • Pluess, M., & Boniwell, I. (2015). Sensory-processing sensitivity predicts treatment response to a school-based depression prevention program: Evidence of vantage sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 40-45.
  • Boniwell, I., Osin, E., & Sircova (2014). Achieving balance in time perspective: Coaching methods. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 12 (2), 14-40. 
  • Grenville-Cleave, B., & Boniwell, I. (2012). Surviving or thriving? Do teachers have lower perceived control and well-being than other professionals? Management in Education, 26(1), 1-3. 
  • Elston, F., & Boniwell, I. (2011). A grounded theory study of the value derived by women in financial services through a coaching intervention to help them identify their strengths and practise using them in the workplace.  International Coaching Psychology Review, 6(1), 16-32. 
  • Akhtar, M., & Boniwell, I. (2010). Applying positive psychology to alcohol-misusing adolescents: A group intervention. Groupwork: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Working with Groups, 20(3), 6-31. 
  • Style, C., & Boniwell, I. (2010). The effect of group-based life coaching on happiness and well-being. Groupwork: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Working with Groups, 20(3), 51-72. 
  • Boniwell, I., Osin, E., Linley, P.A. and Ivanchenko, G. (2010). A question of balance: Examining relationships between time perspective and measures of well-being in the British and Russian student samples. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(1), 24-40.
  • Popovic, N. & Boniwell, I. (2007). Personal Consultancy: An integrative approach to one-to-one talking practices. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 5 (special issue), 24-29. 
  • Wesson, K. & Boniwell, I. (2007). Flow theory - its applications to coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2(1), 33-43. 
  • Boniwell, I. & Henry, J. (2007). Developing conceptions of well-being: Advancing subjective, hedonic and eudaimonic theories. Social Psychology Review, 9(1), 3-18. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2005). Beyond time management: How the latest research on time perspective and perceived time use can assist clients with time-related concerns. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 3(2), 61-74.

Selected chapters

  • Boniwell, I. (2021). Coaching for resilience in the workplace. In W.A. Smith, I. Boniwell & S. Green (Eds.) Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace. Springer. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Ryan, L. (2021). Tangible tools for positive psychology coaching. In W.A. Smith, I. Boniwell & S. Green (Eds.) Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace. Springer. 
  • Boniwell, I., Smith, WA., & Green, S. (2021). Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace: The Business case. In W.A. Smith, I. Boniwell & S. Green (Eds.) Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace. Springer. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Smith, W.A. (2021). Positive psychology coaching for leadership tensions. In Kostic, A., & Chadee, D. (Eds.)  Positive Psychology: An International Perspective, 69-84.
  • Boniwell, I. & Smith, W. (2018). Coaching for positive leadership. In S. Green & S. Palmer (Eds.) Positive Psychology Coaching. London: Wiley. 
  • Boniwell, I., Kauffman, C., & Silberman, J. (2018). The positive psychology approach to coaching. In Bachkirova, T., Duncan, E., & Clutterbuck, D. (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Coaching, 3rd edition. London: Sage Publications. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2017). Introduction. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 1-20). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • Adler, A., Boniwell, I, Gibson, E., Metz, T., Seligman, M., Uchida, Y., & Xing, Z. (2017). Definitions of terms. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 21-38). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • McInerney, L., Noble, T., & Boniwell, I. (2017). Education. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 202-225). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • Levine, R., Boniwell, I., Osin, E., & de Graaf, J. (2017). Time Use and Balance In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 297-328). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • Conway, R., Boniwell, I. & Metz, T. (2017). Community vitality. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 347-378). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • Osin, E., & Boniwell, I. (2017). Achieving Lasting Behavior Change. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 435-447). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • de Graaf, J, Boniwell, I. &. Levine, R. (2017). Conclusions and future directions. In: Happiness: Transforming the Development Landscape (pp. 448-475). Thimphu, Bhutan: The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH.
  • Boniwell, I., & Zimbardo, P. (2015). Balancing time perspective in pursuit of optimal functioning. In Joseph, S. (Ed.) Positive Psychology in Practice, 2nd edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Kibe, C. & Boniwell, I. (2015). Positive education: Teaching well-being and resilience in primary and secondary school. In Joseph, S. (Ed.) Positive Psychology in Practice, 2nd edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Boniwell, I., Kauffman, C., & Silberman, J. (2014). The positive psychology approach to coaching. In Bachkirova, T., Duncan, E., & Clutterbuck, D. (Eds.) (pp. 158-171), The SAGE Handbook of Coaching, 2nd edition. London: Sage Publications. 
  • Boniwell, I. & Osin, E. (2014). Time perspective coaching. In Stolarski, M., Fieulaine, N., & van Beek, W. (Eds.). Time Perspective Theory: Review, Research and Application (pp. 451- 469). Springer.. 
  • David, S., Boniwell, I., & Conley Ayers, A. (2013). Introduction. In David, A., Boniwell, I. & Conley Ayers, A. (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Happiness (pp. 1-8). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • David, S., Boniwell, I., & Conley Ayers, A. (2013). Conclusion: The future of happiness. In David, A., Boniwell, I. & Conley Ayers, A. (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Happiness (pp. 1067-1070). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Boniwell, I. (2013). Introduction to positive education. In David, A., Boniwell, I. & Conley Ayers, A. (Eds). Oxford Handbook of Happiness (pp. 535-539). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Hefferon, K. & Boniwell, I. (2013). Applied positive psychology, In R. Bayne & G. Jinks (Eds) Applied psychology: Practice, training and new directions, 2nd Edition. London: Sage Publications.
  • Kauffman, C., Boniwell, I., & Silberman, J. (2009). Positive psychology coaching. In Bachkirova, T., Duncan, E., & Clutterbuck, D. (Eds.) (pp. 158-171), The SAGE Handbook of Coaching. London: Sage Publications. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2009). European Network for Positive Psychology. Encyclopaedia of Positive Psychology (pp. 357-359). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2009). Perspectives on time. Lopez, S. (Ed.), Handbook of Positive Psychology (2nd Ed) (pp. 295-302). New York: Oxford University Press. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Zimbardo, P. (2004). Balancing time perspective in pursuit of optimal functioning. In P.A. Linley and S. Joseph (Eds.) Positive Psychology in Practice (pp. 165-179). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Selected pedagogical materials and tools

  • Boniwell, I., & Martin, L. (2021). +ACTIONS adventure KS1, KS2, KS3 (Teacher and Student Materials). Positran. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2020). WUP: Positive organisational practices. Positran.
  • Boniwell, I. (2018). Positive transformation cards. Positran. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Alberts, H. (2018). Mindfulness cards. Positran.
  • Tunariu, A., Ruffion, A., & Boniwell, I. (2017). The philosophical dialogues programme: An existential positive psychology intervention for resilience, wellbeing and affirmative mindset. Nice: Unismed. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2017). Positive ACTIONS: Evidence-based positive psychology intervention cards. Positran. 
  • Bab, M., & Boniwell, I. (2016). HEX: The HEX guide. Positran/Gnist.
  • Boniwell. I. (2016). The integrated happiness dashboard. Positran. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Reynaud, L. (2015). The happiness box. ScholaVie, Positran. 
  • Boniwell, I. (2013). Strengths cards. Positran. 
  • Boniwell, I. & Tunariu, A. (2011). SPARK Resilience Initiative Stages 1 and 2: Final Report. University of East London. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Tunariu, A. (2011). Face Up! Emotional Resilience Programme for Young People. The Young Foundation. 
  • Boniwell, I., & Ryan, L. (2009; 2010). SPARK Resilience Curriculum (Teacher and Student Materials). University of East London.  Translated into French, Dutch and Japanese.
  • Boniwell, I., & Ryan, L. (2008; 2009; 2010). Personal Wellbeing Lessons Year 1, 7, 8 and 9 (Teacher and Student Materials). University of East London.

SAMPLE CONSULTANCY PROJECTS

  • Haberdasher's Aske's Hatcham College - Development of a comprehensive Well-Being Curriculum.
  • Newham PCT - Development and evaluation of an Emotional Resilience Curriculum.
  • Northamptonshire NHS - Flourishing Communities Initiative - research and consultancy on raising well-being of the borough.
  • Government of Bhutan - Development of a framework for happiness-based public policy at the request of the UN, as a member of the International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm.
  • Prime Minister's Office of the UAE - Assessment of well-being and engagement of 40,000 public sector employees; Development of the toolkit for workplace positivity; Development of a well-being at work certification for the public and private sector; Monitoring trends.
  • Club Med - Development of a major intervention programme based on positive psychology for use in resorts worldwide.
  • Mars - Helping MARS group to define and design their workplace well-being HR policy by consulting to the board.
  • Banque Centrale Populaire - Running African-wide culture change programme that includes consultancy, training and webinars around positive leadership, strengths-based HR and resilience.
  • Unilever - Developing and delivering tailor-made resilience and positive parenting programmes for Unilever MENA and UK regions.