About Ryan M. Niemiec

Author, Educator, Psychologist, Professor, Coach, and International Speaker


Dr. Niemiec is a licensed psychologist, certified coach, author, and international workshop leader. His specialty areas include: character strengths, mindfulness meditation, positive psychology, health psychology, mind-body therapies, and psychology portrayed in media.

He is Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character, a global, nonprofit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio that educates individuals about the science and practice of character strengths. The VIA Institute is considered a leading organization in positive psychology and the worldwide leader on the science of character strengths. Ryan currently leads online workshops on the practice of character strengths for practitioners in coaching, business, psychology/counseling, and education. He is a regular speaker at international and national conferences.

Ryan has had the privilege of helping people in a variety of clinical settings, including weight management programs, a chronic pain program, a psychology & religion program, a correctional facility, a homeless shelter, a neuropsychology clinic, general outpatient clinics, a psychiatric hospital, and an integrated primary care clinic, the latter of which he directed behavioral health services.

Ryan has a passion for teaching mindfulness meditation as a pathway for helping individuals to flourish and live their best life, as well as in the treatment of physical and mental problems. He has led several-hundred mindfulness meditation groups over the last decade, and is the creator of Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), an 8-week program that integrates the best practices of mindfulness and character strengths. It has been successfully piloted in several countries.

Ryan is author of a few books, including Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing (2014); Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Character Strengths and Well-Being (with Danny Wedding) (2014); and Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology (with Danny Wedding). His books have been translated into multiple languages. 

For the last 10 years, Ryan has been Associate Editor of the journal PsycCRITIQUES, the official review journal of the American Psychological Association that publishes scholarly reviews of contemporary psychology books and films. Ryan is also a consulting editor for Psychology of Popular Media Culture – an APA, peer-reviewed journal.

Ryan is an Adjunct Professor at Xavier University and presents at local universities, colleges, schools, and nonprofit organizations. He blogs for Psychology Today and his work has been featured by a variety of sources including Dr. Oz, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Positive Psychology News Daily, Live Happy magazine, and Greater Good.

Ryan's education includes a Psy.D. in clinical psychology (2001), M.A. in clinical psychology (1999), B.A. in English (1997), B.A. in psychology (1997), specialization in film studies (1997), and several certifications including health coaching (2009), clinical hypnosis (2005), pain management (2001), and psychology and religion (1999).

In 2011, Ryan received the award for Distinguished Early Career Applied/Research Contribution from the American Psychological Association (Division 46, Media).


Ryan is happily married to his lovely wife Rachelle. They have a zestful, loving, prudent, and delightfully curious son named Rhys Evan, and a zestful, loving, brave, and self-regulated son named Ryland Zander.

For leisure, Ryan enjoys spending time with family, playing basketball, tennis, and ping-pong, watching positive psychology movies, traveling, cheering for his alma mater - Michigan State University, and learning about wildlife. He is an avid collector of Pez dispensers.

Ryan’s highest character strengths are hope, love, honesty, curiosity, fairness, perspective, and appreciation of beauty.

Ryan M. Niemiec

WORKSHOPS and presentations

Ryan's invited workshops and presentations span a number of universities and organizations, including the United States Air Force Academy, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University, Universidad Iberoamericana, International Positive Psychology Association, American Psychological Association, and European Positive Psychology Association. He was part of a team at the VIA Institute that offered extensive consultation to Oprah Winfrey and her team at Harpo Studios on character strengths, positive assessment, and well-being.

He has presented to a variety of audiences including physicians, priests, ministers, psychologists, coaches, business professionals, teachers, and the general public, as well as to schools, churches, and other organizations.

He has delivered special presentations include keynotes, invited workshops, weekend retreats, dharma talks, and on one occasion a homily for a Mass.

For a full list of previous presentations, audiences, and locations over the last decade and a half, click here.

Ryan is currently offering workshops through the VIA Institute on Character. Click here to learn about the latest online workshops.

Ryan presents remotely to the leading graduate programs in positive psychology. Through the VIA Institute, he trains the future leaders and practitioners in positive psychology on the latest science and practice of character strengths. E-mail Ryan for more information or set up an individualized training plan for your program.

For Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP) training, click here.

Copyright 2014, Ryan Niemiec. All rights reserved.

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