Chris Johnstone

Welcome to my website.

My work weaves together the following themes:

orange flower.jpg

for Resilience and Positive Change

For over 30 years, my work has been about helping people access resilience and bring positive change into their lives and our world. My new book, Seven Ways to Build Resilience, looks at skills, insights and practical strategies that help us deal with difficult times. My previous book, Active Hope, co-authored with Joanna Macy and now translated into more than ten languages, explores how to grow our capacity to make a positive difference in the world. Living in the north of Scotland, I teach a range of resilience and other courses through the online platform I've developed at



for Sustainable Wellbeing

Working many years as a doctor and group therapist in the addictions recovery field, I saw how 'unsustainable wellbeing' involves attempts to feel good in the moment, but with costs carried into the future and/or onto others. My training work is based on the 'me, you and us’ model of wellbeing that explores how our lives can have positive ripples of benefit that extend beyond the moment and beyond ourselves, so deepening our sense of purpose and satisfaction in life. I train people in self-help practices that nourish their energy and enthusiasm, interventions we can use to help others be at their best and ways to cultivate wellbeing at the level of 'us' in groups, teams or communities. Two approaches I'm much influenced by, and run courses in, are Positive Psychology and Motivational Interviewing.


for Active Hope

We live at a time of uncertainty where the future we're heading into might seem bleak and it may sometimes feel like there is little we can do to change this. Active Hope is not the same as feeling hopeful. It is a practice we can bring to any situation, and it involves three key elements. First we start from where we are, acknowledging current realities even if we find them disturbing. Then we identify our preferred version of the future from this starting point. Thirdly we take steps guided by the intention to make our hoped-for future more likely. My writing and courses focus on skills, practices and insights that help us get better at doing this.

Bee and flower.jpg

with Beautiful Images, Music and Ideas

My wife, Kirsty Reid, runs a small market garden growing herbs and cut flowers. On this website I share my photos (mostly from our garden) of the natural beauty around me I find so uplifting. Another source of beauty that lifts me is music, one of my joys being playing the hammered dulcimer and other instruments. I include some of my music among the videos and there will be more coming soon. I also find beauty in ideas that can guide us to better ways of being. One of my favourites (that I learned from eco-philosopher Arne Naess) is the idea of a beautiful life that combines care of self with care of our world. If you like this idea too, then I'm pleased to share the purpose of living this way with you and hope you'll find resources in my work that support you in this.


“Resilience isn’t just about coping – it is also about recovery and positive transformation. Wellbeing is a direction you can move in from any starting point.”


banner-yellow tulip.jpg

Upcoming Courses & Events


Chris’s latest book
Seven Ways to Build Resilience
is released on the 18th April 2018.

Here’s what people are saying about it:

“Practical and clear with strategies that work, this is, by far, the best book I've read on resilience.”

– Miriam Akhtar, author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression

“Chris Johnstone is a gifted trainer who manages to turn complex ideas into clear and practical guiding wisdom. I'm so pleased he has written such a useful and clear-sighted toolkit for developing resilience which is much needed at such a tumultuous time in society.”

Nicola Banning, editor of BACP Workplace 

“This timely and important book is packed with brilliant, practical ideas to help us respond constructively to whatever life throws at us. Recommended.”

– Dr Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness

teal colour banner.jpg