The Psychology Podcast: “Psychodrama & Learned Hopefulness with Dan Tomasulo”

Originally posted in our December 2022 Top of Mind Newsletter.

Trauma-informed practices in psychology, therapy, education, and many other fields are becoming increasingly popular. Researchers have thoroughly documented the impacts of trauma, hence the importance of trauma-informed practices. But in positive psychology, these practices take on an even more hopeful spin. 

In this episode from the Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman, psychologist Dan Tomasulo discusses his work in creating hope, something he calls learned hopefulness. Through practicing psychodrama with his patients, Dan has found ways of redirecting thoughts to produce hope rather than fear or anger. Psychodrama is the practice of acting out traumatic or difficult events from one’s past in a therapeutic setting. 

In their conversation, Kaufman and Tomasulo discuss various practices and exercises you can take to learn to foster hope in yourself. As Dan said, “hope is the only positive emotion that requires negativity or uncertainty to be activated.” So, to practice hope, you have to reframe negativity from the past and in the future. What’s more, practicing hope looks an awful lot like choosing a compelling goal, a core tenet of entrepreneurial mindset development. To get started on your own or with those you work with, here is one such exercise called Best Possible Self. Also, check out Dan’s piece from Psychology Today to read more about the exercise.

Learn to hope.