Understand the distinctions between The Treatment Paradigm and The Wellness Paradigm.
Gone are the days of simply treating what ails you. Wellness is more than the absence of physical illness. Mental, emotional, financial and relationship health also factor into your overall wellness. The image below depicts both the Treatment Paradigm and the Wellness Paradigm.
The Treatment Paradigm is the traditional paradigm (drugs, psychotherapy, surgery), which treats injuries and symptoms, rather than healing the underlying problem. This paradigm attempts to overpower the symptoms, rather than seeing them as intimately connected to the whole.
The Treatment Paradigm can be used to bring you to the neural point. This is the point at which symptoms of the illness, disease or symptoms have been alleviated. That’s what it’s designed to do – get you from sick to un-sick.
If you are ill, treatment is important. But don’t stop there. Use the Wellness Paradigm to continue to improve the quality of your life. You can move to thriving, no longer just surviving.
The Wellness Paradigm helps you move toward higher levels of wellness, no matter where you are currently. This paradigm directs you beyond the neutral point and encourages you to continue to improve your wellness.
The Wellness Paradigm differs markedly from the Treatment Paradigm in that it encourages individuals to accept responsibility for their own wellbeing.
While the Treatment Paradigm fosters dependence on the medical professional, the Wellness Paradigm empowers individuals to heal themselves. It fosters a belief that one is already well and whole but simply facing a challenge. You are not inherently flawed or broken. You do not need fixing.
Rather than the usual Parent/Child relationship that emphasizes “you fix me”, a wellness approach operates from the assumption of connection, and looks more like a peer relationship. This focus shifts from the elimination of symptoms or disease to fostering the development of attitudes, lifestyle habits, communication skills, and relationships. The Wellness Paradigm’s personal empowerment focus recognizes the dynamic and interconnectedness of life. Many things impact our health and wellness at any given time and the wellness approach recognizes these connections across many dimensions of being.
There has been a tremendous increase over the past decade in the public’s awareness of the impact of our behaviors on our health. Research has shown that chronic distress, anxiety, or tension weakens the immune system, leaving us more susceptible to a host of chronic health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, kidney trouble and even cancer.
So, it’s true – our mental health really does impact our physical health. Additionally, we all know from experience that the opposite is also true: our physical health affects our mental health. Project Helping leverages the incredible impact volunteering has on your mental health. You don’t need to wait until full-blown depression hits to do something to boost your mood. Whether you’ve been struggling for a while or you just want to foster good mental health, volunteering is one of the best things you can do.
The next vital step is to address not only the behaviors (smoking, being sedentary, overeating, etc.) but the thoughts and feelings (frustration, anxiety, inadequacy, apathy, depression, etc.) underlying these behaviors. Behavior changes like exercise and diet will not necessarily bring about good health. The real healing power lies in the consciousness behind our action.
The Wellness Paradigm empowers the individual to take control of their health and wellbeing, recognizing the complex symphony of their health and wellness. By focusing on fostering health, not eliminating illness, the individual has many opportunities at any given moment to choose to improve their wellness. They need not be fixed by an “expert”. At Project Helping, we aim to EMPOWER you to help yourself through helping others.
While miracles do occur, for most of us healing is a gradual process of becoming more aware, and therefore more response-able for the choices we make.