Navigating Happiness – development, implementation, and staff training of a 4-week practical skill group to live a more meaningful life

Mr Chi Cheng1

1Queensland Health, Ipswich, Australia

Navigating Happiness is a 4-week practical skill group designed to help mental health service consumers, or almost anyone for that matter, as in introduction to how to live a more rich, full, and meaningful life. The group is both philosophically and therapeutically based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). In the ACT framework, when we act according to our heart’s deepest desires – our values, we transform our lives in a more vital and meaningful way, and happiness and contentment occur a lot more often.

Navigating Happiness aims to guide participants through three basic yet essential principles to live a happier life: Do What Matters, Be Present, and Open Up. Each session there are several practical skills that we encourage participants to experience both in and out of sessions. Facilitators take on a role to encourage and invite participants to take a journey, and experience the differences for themselves.

This presentation will provide an overview of the development, implementation, staff training, and lessons learnt from the journey of Navigating Happiness. Since the group was written in late 2018, we have ran more than 10 groups in 3 physical locations and also adapted to online delivery during COVID. In addition, Chi has trained over 150 health professionals in Queensland on Navigating Happiness. In our preliminary research, participants (N = 41) showed significant improvement in happiness level in both post program data and during 3-6 month follow-up.


Chi is a Senior Clinical Psychologist working in Ipswich & Rural Community Care Team, Queensland Health. He is passionate about working with a wide range of clients using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), promoting ACT to other health professionals, facilitating training, and playing lots of board games. He has supervised over 40 psychologists of different stages in their careers, and provided trainings to hundreds of health professional. He has experience working in private settings, correctional centres, universities, and now the public health system. His mission statement is to promote living meaningfully to all in a caring, connecting, compassionate way.

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