13. July 2023

Andrea Downie

Andrea Downie and Aaron Jarden

What is bigger and better than wellbeing? Introducing wholebeing…


‘Wellbeing’ has been the end point or holly grail for most of positive psychology’s journey to date. Intervention programs and positive psychological interventions have largely aimed at increasing happiness, and more recently at the complex phenomena of wellbeing. However, we question this narrow goal and provide a vision of a bigger and better end point; an endpoint that takes a complex systems perspective and includes wellbeing as only one facet of an ideal outcome or end point. We contend that aiming for this new endpoint is not only a better way to achieve wellbeing, but is bigger and better than wellbeing per se. Thus, we introduce the notion of wholebeing, define and operationalise it, and provide the model of wholebeing as bigger and better vision.

About Andrea Downie

Andrea is an honorary fellow of the Centre for Wellbeing Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Head of Wellbeing at British School Jakarta. She is an educator, strategist, action researcher and activator who has worked with hundreds of schools and organisations internationally. In 2016 Andrea co-founded Project Thrive®. With a focus on systems leadership and wellbeing science and through creating engaging and purposeful learning, Andrea challenges schools and organisations on traditional wellbeing approaches of reactive problem solving and moves them towards co-designing the future. Andrea has worked in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and TAFE education systems in Australia, across all sectors, State, Private and Independent. Her experience, knowledge and research has given her insight into some of education's greatest strengths and importantly, opportunities for growth. She is passionate about making education the best and most desirable system in the world where wellbeing, authentic learning and personal growth for all students and staff is at the forefront.

About Aaron Jarden 

Associate Professor Aaron Jarden is Director of the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. He is a wellbeing consultant, social entrepreneur, has multiple qualifications in philosophy, computing, education, and psychology, and is a prolific author and presenter. He has previously been a Senior Research Fellow at Flinders University, and Head of Research at the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He is past president of the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology, also co-editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing, and lead investigator for the International Wellbeing Study amongst others.

Andrea Downie

Aaron Jarden