Start with Strengths | VIA Institute


Are you getting all that you want out of life? If you would like to enhance the way you see the world and your place in it, start with your strengths. Your unique strengths are personal superpowers that can be applied to improve any situation, at any time, and with anyone. But harnessing these qualities requires self-awareness, exploration and practice.

In this 7-module course, you will learn guiding principles, such as strengths-spotting, mindful strengths use, and using strengths in new ways that you can use in your work, with your family and friends, and in your community. Learn how to apply your strengths with engaging video lectures, real-life stories, practical exercises, handouts and much more. Each module takes approximately 1 hour to fully complete, but since this course is self-guided you can review the materials as much as you wish! We recommend working on 1 module/per week to complete the course in 7 weeks.

Start now and activate your best qualities.

What are the benefits of taking this course?

By taking this course you will learn from the world expert in character strengths, Dr. Ryan Niemiec, about how to use your best qualities to make improvements in your life. Research shows that by developing your character strengths you can enhance happiness, lower depression, improve relationships and many other positive outcomes. The course is self-paced so you can move through the material in a way that suits you best. Course activities are available for download and are yours to use beyond the 14 week timeframe of the course.

Who should take this course?

This foundational course is focused on applying character strengths to create positive life changes. It is perfect for anyone interested in personal growth, greater well-being and/or finding strengths-based solutions to problems. Professionals, such as managers, educators, coaches, psychologists, and social workers will find it valuable for their own professional development as well as to share with their clients, employees, and students to support them in their own growth.

Session Topics

This foundational course on character strengths is presented in 7 sessions to apply character strengths to all areas of your life.

Strengths 101
Increase Happiness
Boost Relationships
Improve Work Engagement
Manage Stress & Health
Find Meaning & Purpose
Accomplish Goals

Contact us to learn about our bulk discount pricing for this course
This course provides 7 ICF CEU's in Resource Development

Register and get started immediately! You have access to this course for 14 weeks so you can work through the materials at your own pace.

Did you know? People who apply their strengths often are 18x more likely to be flourishing.

Strengths Package: Total 24 Report & Start with Strengths Course

Purchase the Total 24 Report and the Start with Strengths Course together and receive over 15% off.


Course Faculty

Dr. Ryan Niemiec
Ryan M. Niemiec, PsyD, is author or co-author of nine books, an award-winning psychologist and a widely traveled international speaker. Ryan is the creator of MBSP and has led hundreds of mindfulness groups over the last two decades. As education director of the global nonprofit, VIA Institute on Character, he's a leading voice in the education, research, and practice of character strengths. He lives with his family, which includes three young and zestful children, near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Start with Strengths FAQ
How long is each Module?

Each module has video content that lasts 12-20 minutes per module. There is optional supportive material for each module, including readings, videos, and activities/practices. We suggest the most important material for growth involves the person practicing with the activities regularly. Each individual will decide for themselves how much time they wish to spend. As a starting point, think of each module as involving at least an hour of your time.

About how long will it take me to complete the course?

If you do everything in the course, it will take about 8-10 hours and we recommend that you spread that over 4-8 weeks. Some people take the approach of one module per week so that after they watch/listen to the module, they spend the rest of the week doing the suggested activity and the other materials. If all you do is watch the videos, you can complete the course in as little as 3 hours (not recommended). Remember that the power of character strengths is in the doing and being – in the practice.

If I took the Creating Strength Based Life Course already, do I need to take this course?

The Start with Strengths course is dramatically different in content, scope, and learning modality. So, the short answer is yes, absolutely. While some material may be a refresher, there is far more new material than recycling old material, and the presentation style and outlet are substantially different.

How many ICF Resource Credits are included with the course?

7 ICF Resource Development credits.

How many weeks will I have access to the course?

10 weeks. If you find yourself needing more time, please email to request an extension.

Will I have handouts that I can keep and review at a later date?

Yes, in each module there are PDF handouts that you can download for the practical exercises that we recommend.

What specific benefits can I expect from taking the course?

This will depend on how much you engage in the practices and working with your new knowledge about character strengths. Research shows that character strengths development can enhance happiness, flourish, and strengths activation, while lowering depression. Character strengths use has been associated with better achievement, health, relationship intimacy, work productivity, mindfulness practice, goal progress, and many other positive benefits. So many potential benefits: you get to have a say in what you gain!

Who should take this course?

Any adult or adolescent pursuing personal growth, well-being enhancement, or professional development. In addition, professionals, such as managers, teachers, professors, coaches, psychologists, and social workers interested in applying character strengths to improve their work with others.

Does the course run on a specific timeframe?

The course is self-paced, and all the content is available on-demand for the 10 weeks that you have access.

Are there any pre-requisites or language requirements?

You don’t need to have taken any other character strengths courses before taking this one. We do strongly recommend you take the VIA Survey PRIOR TO starting this course! This will be referenced several times in the course. Also, the course is currently only available in English, although other languages are being discussed. The VIA Institute is open to learning about collaborations for translating this course into other languages.

Do I need to pay for any other materials such as textbooks?

No, all the material you need is included in the course content. After you take the VIA Survey (before starting this course), you can consider purchasing one of the more in-depth reports.

You may also be interested in the new practical book The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality, by Drs. Ryan Niemiec and Robert McGrath. This book reviews the what, the why, and the how of each of the 24 character strengths and is now the go-to book In applying strengths In a personal way.

Is there a group forum? Will I be working with other students taking the class?

Currently this is an individual self-paced course. Look out in the future for groups and other opportunities to interact with others.

Who is the teacher of the course?

Dr. Ryan Niemiec leads the course. He is a global leader on the science and practice of character strengths, the Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character, and author of 10 books. You can read more about him here:

Can I purchase this course for multiple individuals in my organization?

Yes, and we offer bulk discount pricing when purchasing multiple courses. Please contact us with course name and quantity for more information.