Broaden-and-Build with Geek Culture

Broaden-and-Build with Geek Culture


  • Meditation script (if necessary)


Clinician will begin by exploring with the client activities or media that the client enjoys, with a special focus on segments of media that elicit positive feelings of safety, happiness, contentment, or amusement. The clinician would then instruct the client to watch/read/etc the segment of media that produced these positive cognitions (or alternatively the client may describe the segment in detail to the clinician). The clinician will then instruct the client to meditate on the positive emotions that are elicited by the segment for a duration of time. This would be repeated over several sessions so as to build up the client’s resources for coping with negative affect.

Target Population:

Adolescents and adults with a functioning age of 14 or higher

Expected results and troubleshooting:

The expected result is for the client to build their resilience to negative cognition and affect by increasing their skill set and resources. Given that positive emotions can help produce flourishing, clinicians will work with clients to be able to engage in positive cognitions with the intention of encouraging novel coping mechanisms in the face of real-life stressors. Clinicians’ ultimate goal with their clients is to help them work toward lasting reserves which they may draw on outside of session.

Expected troubleshooting for this project could include a client’s unwillingness to participate in a meditation based intervention or a client whose impairment is profound. This could be addressed by using psychoeducation to discuss the efficacy of broadening and building approaches, particularly ones that include meditation. The clinician could also point out examples from the chosen media of characters with negative cognitions and feelings relying on narrow coping styles and those with positive cognitions and feelings being more creative in their coping. For clients with a profound impairment, starting slow by merely identifying positive cognitions and their associated positive feelings may provide some progress and gauge the applicability of this activity for the client.

Related sources:
Cohn, M.A., Frederickson, B.L., Brown, S.L., Mikels, J.A., & Conway, A.M. (2009). Emotion, 9 (3), 361-368.

Frederisckson, B. (2001). The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions. American Psychologist, 56 (3), 218-226.

Frederickson, B., Cohn, M., Coffey, K., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95 (5), 1045-1062.

Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.