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Dr. Tracy Steen

Dr. Tracy Steen

Improving the world

Using psychology and design to help people become happier and achieve their goals.



Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.



Helped establish the Charles O’Brien Center for Addiction Treatment at the University of Pennsylvania. Have a private psychology and business consulting practice in Philadelphia. Run TNT Content & Design, a web and graphic design business, with Tom Lincoln.


In 2012, Dr. Steen and Mr. Lincoln received a Social Media Leadership Award from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Knowledge@Wharton recognized their art project Monument as an example of how to use social media to promote a more unified world.



Dr. Steen obtained a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, where she was mentored by Dr. Chris Peterson. While at Michigan she was drawn to field of positive psychology—the scientific study of positive emotions, character traits, and institutions. Rather than focusing exclusively on treating deficits, a positive psychology approach aims to optimize psychological health and help people flourish.

In 2003 Dr. Steen moved to Philadelphia to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Martin Seligman. Collaborating with Dr. Seligman, Dr. Steen developed and tested a series of interventions designed to help people increase the amount of joy, engagement, and meaning in their lives. She also developed the Steen Happiness Index, a sensitive measure that can detect week-by-week changes in happiness following happiness interventions.

In 2005 Dr. Steen established the Charles O’Brien Center for Addiction Treatment at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as its Clinical Director and then Director until 2013. She also assisted with the research trials for the recently updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).


The video series “The Science of Happiness” recently featured happiness interventions based on Dr. Steen’s work.


Israel Favorites

Profound religious history.


Philadelphia's Hidden Treasure

The Wissahickon. I love to take clients hiking.


New York Times: How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain


Birding is the new golf. My friend and fellow birder Tykee James first made this prediction. I agree. Birding is such a fun way to meet people, and I'm excited to be learning how to identify birds by their calls and songs. (It’s a steep learning curve!)

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