To SeE Others Flourish: Towards the Integration of Positive Psychology Into Ombuds Practice
This paper proposes a novel application of positive psychology to optimize the well-being of ombuds and our clients, organizations, and field. Specifically, a new framework for ombuds casework is introduced. Consistent with self-determination theory, ombuds can help clients to satisfy the core human needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness by strengthening clients’ connections to themselves, to their organizations, and to their colleagues. The new framework is named SeE Others, as an acronym for those connections to self, environment, and others. The name also emphasizes ombuds’ role in helping clients to feel seen and to more fully see others, leveraging the universality of the self-determination needs. In turn, increasing clients’ well-being enhances the well-being of ombuds and our organizations, as positivity spreads through social networks in which clients and ombuds are embedded. The SeE Others framework matches each self-determination need with two positive psychology interventions for ombuds’ toolkits. Using those research-based strategies to address clients’ self-determination needs during ombuds casework can advance the ombuds field by boosting the well-being of ombuds and our clients and organizations, enhancing the efficacy of ombuds practices, and shifting the focus of ombuds work from mitigating problems to facilitating flourishing.