Suggested Lecture Topics

Weaving research, story, rampant humor and clinical anecdote into each presentation, Maria brings a depth of experience to the worlds of health and wellness for corporate and non-profit worlds audiences.  Below are representative topics for keynote presentations, lectures or workshops, and Maria is delighted to design specfic presentations for any particular constituency: 

 For Organizations and General Audiences
image For Caregivers and Professionals
image For Spiritual/Religious Organizations and Groups
image For Presenters, Keynoters, Workshop Leaders and Educators

For Organizations and General Audiences

The Art and Science of Happiness

We live in a time of an abundance of knowledge...knowledge that offers us data about the field of happiness and why it matters to the success of our lives at work.  In this presentation we explore the definition of happiness, how to elevate it, and how it correlates with both individual and team success in terms of creativity, engagement, competency and meaning.  We examine the intersection of happiness and resilience and study the tools and attitudes that enable us to increase well-being, capacity and optimism within our organizations.  

The Resilient Life

The life well-lived is periodically a life of tumult or unexpected strain or loss. Yet the keys exist to unlock the doors of our own resiliency - keys that enable us to strengthen our strengths, learn to fail well, create moments of uplift each day and direct our energies toward that which is life-sustaining.  Through post-traumatic growth perspectives we expand, even in times of great stress, a deeper sense of meaning, authenticity and efficacy.  Here we explore insights from the fields of positive psychology, appreciative inquiry and mind/body medicine to assist each of us and our work groups to move through the stressors of our days centered in our capacities.

Playing for Keeps - The Good Life

At the end of any one life we want to be able to say that we played it for keeps. We loved and laughed and offered something to the world that had meaning and that in some way helped to repair it. In this workshop Maria explores how we create a balance of self-care and care of the world, how we build our resilience and our capacity for compassion and reminds us how to keep the bigger pictures in mind in order to create days that are engaged, creative, and purposeful.

The Authentic Voice, The Authentic Life

To live a life that is true requires a deepening capacity to name our truths; to say what must be said. This workshop provides an understanding of the dynamics of authentic speaking: what are the risks, what are the rewards, how does one uncover the true voice. Through these understandings we come to know what is necessary for us to create a life that is genuine and unique, and a life that continues to bring us the energy that is sustaining.

For Caregivers and Professionals

A Healthy Distance

In this staff training class, Maria discusses the complexities of how to care for our clients and maintain a healthy distance. What is it like to hold on and let go, what does it mean to have a client sent home to die in one moment and meet a new the next, how do we love professionally, and how do we care for our own hearts while our clients' illnesses progress? Stories from therapists, nurses and physicians (Courtney Davis, Jerome Groopman, Bernie Siegel, Danielle Ofri, Atwul Gwande, Rachel Naomi Remen) who travel the same territory will be offered.

The Swell of Hope and Faith in the Kingdom of the Ill

As Susan Sontag wrote, after her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, once diagnosed we are all given dual passports to the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the ill. As suffering rises and falls for ourselves or those we care for, we travel between these kingdoms, experiencing a concurrent rising and falling and rising again of hope and faith. What is the point of hope? What to believe in? Where does faith rest on any one day? How do hope and faith help in the different phases of illness or recovery? These are questions that resonate deeply for our patients and their families in the time after diagnosis - yet are rarely addressed within the bounds of traditional medical care. Through this work Maria offers an understanding the common dynamics that occur for many us: the loss of a particular faith or hope, the longing for belief that accompanies suffering, and the creation of a new way of meaning-making that is sustaining throughout difficult moments.

Vocation: The Meaning of Work

"There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams.' Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there."
Erma Bombeck

Given one life in our unique form, why not live the one life only we can live? Why not fill it with a work that calls us, that in some way brings our deepest selves to life? Painting a broad picture of the world of work in Afghanistan, Africa, America and in our own small towns, Maria creates an opportunity to remember why we first chose the work we are doing and to re-imagine a work that energizes and potentiates our greatest capacities as a human being.

For Spiritual/Religious Organizations and Groups

Water in the Desert

As grief rises and falls, so to does our faith. What to believe in? Where does my faith rest today? How can I go on knowing what I now know about the world? These are the questions that resonate in a difficult time. In this workshop, psychologist and storyteller Maria Sirois addresses these questions, guides us toward a journey of faith in the very lives we are already living. Through story and clinical anecdote she offers an understanding of the loss of a particular faith that occurs for some of us, the longing for faith that accompanies suffering, and the re-creation of a new way of making meaning out of life that sustains us through difficult moments.

How Big Can We Be?

Because we love what is mortal we are challenged again and again to find a way to live life and love life even after loss. Our children's lives have much to teach us about this, if only we have the courage to look. In this workshop, psychologist and storyteller Maria offers a way to fall in love with life again despite a difficult loss. Presenting the wisdom of those who have lost and loved again she offers stepping stones across the waves of grief or suffering. Through this work we can all learn just how big we can become - how compassionate, how kind, how joyful, how open-hearted, how purposeful.

For Presenters, Keynoters, Workshop Leaders and Educators

Teaching For Transformation

Teaching for transformation is the art of becoming a highly skilled presenter who can provide both information and inspiration to audiences in order to facilitate transformation.  Based on the principles of positive education, this work offers a wholebeing approach, which enables us to teach from a place of wholeness and authenticity and addresses presentation skills, audience engagement, how and when to tell a story and how to leverage strengths, clarity, and wisdom in order to catalyze  a lasting positive change.  Many can inform. Many can inspire.  Few can provide content, inspiration and wisdom in such a way that impact is sustained beyond a short honeymoon effect after the teaching has ended.  For more information about this program visit:

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"I wanted to thank you for a wonderful day. Aside from the incredibly useful information you provided, you have a style of presenting that both sooths and stimulates. For me personally the word “resiliency” has been such a cure all, buzz word that I never really felt I had a good definition for it or knew how to work to achieve it for myself or others. You defined it and gave us workable steps to build it. Thank you again for a true learning experience."
Janice Ventre, Mass. Coalition for Suicide Prevention

Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology

Learn the tools, practices, and research to support an increased capacity for health, strengthened resilience, deeper mindfulness, and greater levels of overall well-being.

Learn More >> Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology