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Wed, Oct 14


Online Event

The Science of Habit Formation: Applications for Personal and Public Health (1)

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The Science of Habit Formation: Applications for Personal and Public Health (1)
The Science of Habit Formation: Applications for Personal and Public Health (1)

Time & Location

Oct 14, 2020, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Online Event

About the Event

Megan Lipsett, MA, PhD student

Training Description

We typically spend an alarming 43 percent of our day engaged in thoughts and behaviors without being aware of them (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010) - and this automaticity (aka “habits”) plays a critical role in health-relevant behaviors and psychological well-being, including addictive behaviors. This training will explore what habits are, why we have them, evidence-based approaches changing them, and how they impact health and well-being for foster and system-involved youth. Participants will learn about the psychological and neurological mechanisms that drive habits. Habit formation frameworks will be reviewed, including the key stages of habit formation: goal identification, habit initiation, habit repetition, and habit maintenance. We will expand this conversation to “habits of mind” (e.g. rumination or mindful awareness) and discuss how mindsets common in foster and system-involved youth shape psychological well-being outcomes. We will talk about barriers and supports (e.g. regulatory flexibility, stress buffering, and context selection) to “breaking bad habits” and to successfully forming healthy habits that promote lasting change. The mechanisms of mindful awareness, values congruence, and needs identification will be considered from the lens of self-determination theory. We will discuss the role of mindful sociocognitive awareness, social support, and prosocial behaviors in habit formation. The need to consider situational and interpersonal contexts specific to foster and system-involved youthwill be discussed, as well as applications for personal and public health

Learning Objectives

  • Review theories of (cognitive and behavioral) automaticity and habit formation.
  • Describe the mechanisms driving lasting health and wellness behaviors for foster and system-involved youth.
  • Identify 4 stages of habit formation and long-term goal-attainment.
  • Identify best practices for healthy habit formation.
  • Illustrate the role of habits of mind (aka “mindsets”) common for foster and system-involved youth in shaping psychological well-being outcomes.
  • Explore the key components of successful habit formation (e.g. values congruence, context, mindful awareness, social support).
  • Understand the relationship between self-acceptance, self-efficacy, and successful behavior change.


9:00-9:30am  Introductions and overview of theories and definitions of the science and psychology of habit formation

9:30-9:45am  Activity: Value-congruence & needs assessments in goal identification

9:45-10:20am Lecture/Discussion: Habits of Mind & the neuroscience of habits

10:20-10:45am  Activity: Stress-buffering, response inhibition, attention regulation, and regulatory flexibility in habit formation

10:45-11:30am Lecture/Discussion: Social determinants of the habits underlying behavior change.

11:30-11:45am BREAK (CEUs will not be issued for this time)

11:45am-12:30pm Activity: Habit repetition and habit maintenance - supporting long-term change through cue detection, reward salience, regulatory flexibility, and context selection.

12:30-1:00pm Discussion: Applications of habit formation frameworks for public health and health policy.

Meet Our Trainers

Megan Lipsett is a doctoral candidate in Social Health Psychology, conducting research in the Social Affective Neuroscience Lab. Megan also holds an MA in Integrative Health Studies from CIIS and is an assistant Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and the founder of COPIA Health. As a practitioner, Megan has worked with clients who have experienced complex trauma and uses a mindfulness-based approach to supporting resilience. As a research psychologist, she examines how our perceptions impact physiology (such as inflammatory biomarkers and cortisol), social connection, and long-term health behaviors underlying noncommunicable diseases. With an interest in factors that promote resilience to adversity, she focuses on translational work that informs how research on health mindsets can inform behavioral interventions and public policy. She has done program development and facilitation for diverse organizations, including integrative medicine centers, transitional women's homes, social worker training centers, environmental awareness groups, benefit corporations, and health and wellness centers. 

This course meets the qualifications for (3.75) BBS CEUs for LCSWs and MFTs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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