The Spirit-Science-Action-Return Cycle

The Spirit-Science-Action-Return Cycle is one of the central processes of the Science of the Positive. You can learn more about each step in the cycle by watching the videos, below. 

In the Science of the Positive, we always begin with Spirit. This video perfectly captures the essence of the spirit of the Positive. In it, Norland Martinez speaks about his personal experience and the transformations that he has undergone. Norland was once a young father with serious problems; he is now a counselor working with a program supported by the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund. Norland illustrates for all of us the importance of spirit in transforming ourselves and those around us. Spirit provides the direction, energy and the inspiration for our work.


Science is next in the Science of the Positive cycle. In the video below, Jennifer Jones, Interim Director of the Children's Trust Fund of Wisconsin, models using modern survey techniques to understand positive social norms regarding many aspects of child rearing, including the community values that support families. The Children’s Trust Fund is applying the Positive Community Norms Model, which begins with community spirit and then translates this energy into guiding science-based inquiry. This story demonstrates the use of scientific process by assessing social norms prior to developing media and other interventions.


This next phase in Science of the Positive cycle is illustrated in the video below. Jim Seymour from the Catholic Community Services of Willamette County, Oregon, tells the story of their community interventions and how spirit and science are guiding the actions in their community efforts. Jim describes how, by listening to parents (Spirit) at "Community Cafés," his agency has discovered (Science) not just community needs, but community solutions (Actions). He models well the process of honoring community voices by creating ways to listen to the community. His agency acts on these community ideas, building social connections, parent knowledge, and reinforcing all the strengths that already exist in families. Building on a Spirit of engagement, replicating the Science of evidence-based community cafe techniques, Catholic Community Services provides the Action of community-level supports that families want and need.


The Science of the Positive is a circular process. This video, featuring key leaders in the Navajo Nation and other communities in the Four Corners region, takes place at Positive Community Norms Institute at Monument Valley in the fall of 2010. These leaders tell the story of their community-level intervention, and remind us of how the cycle – and going through the transformational process – is in constant renewal, as is the need for caring for the caregivers. At the core is the Navajo belief that “positive beliefs are like a medicine.” We need to retain this sense of hope, in each other and our community, to sustain us in our work.

Our work in health promotion occurs in cycles of spirit, science, action and returning again. This simple framework is helps to guide and explain the process of transformation in ourselves and those that we serve.