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Date and Time: October 12, 2021 | 12-1:30pm


For children with complex needs, their well-being is at the core of a care plan. This program reviews and demonstrates the core elements of the PERMA model: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Clevenger and Wright will present strategies to use the model with service providers and family members. In addition, they will discuss concepts from positive psychology and flow theory, the idea of capturing a positive mental state when focused on a task, activity, etc. For many, this is known as “in the zone”. Participants will learn to combine these different techniques to positively impact the lives of children and youth with co-occurring mental health illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities.


DeVault Clevenger, MA, LCSW, has 40+ years in the human services field. DeVault has managed the Family Services Section at Sandhills LME, co-owned a successful behavioral health company and now oversees clinical operations at Pinnacle Family Services. DeVault developed the Pinnacle Family Services’ Fostering Solutions Treatment Model for foster children and has trained at state and national conferences.

Larry Wright Jr., MSW, LCSWA is a Clinical Team Lead for North Carolina START Services (NC START), part of the Center For START Services: a nationwide program serving children and adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, and co-occurring Mental Health Disorders. Larry received his Masters of Social Work (MSW) from North Carolina Central University in 2017, and has been serving individuals with disabilities and Mental Health Disorders for the past nine years. Larry is a licensed North Carolina foster parent, and lives with his wife and their three-year-old adopted son.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Define the 5 core elements of the PERMA model.
  2. Recognize at least 2 concepts from positive psychology and flow theory.
  3. Demonstrate and apply 3-4 strategies of PERMA to increase positive impact on the lives of children and their families.


  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. Basic Books.
  • Moore, C. (2021, March 10). What is flow in Psychology? Definition and 10+ activities to INDUCE FLOW.
  • Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press, Inc.
  • Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Free Press.