The Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Connection

It’s commonly accepted that our human make-up can be considered in four perspectives; the biological, psychological, social and spiritual.  Historically, health services have been able to provide support to all aspects of life, each independently holding a piece to the puzzle, with limited intersections.  Medical professionals have treated the body by considering medication, exercise, relaxation, diet and sleep.  Mental health professionals have treated the mind and emotions.  Social workers have brought health to relationships and other social aspects of life and spiritual care providers have facilitated healing through the integration of faith principles.

gateway It is widely accepted that human nature is complex and that the various aspects of life all affect the other, however, there has been a struggle historically, to provide a holistic approach to healing, with each discipline validating and soliciting support from the others.  Thankfully, this is changing.  More and more, health providers are embracing a multidisciplinary approach, seeking to deliver comprehensive strategies for the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of all human dis-ease.

I love this!!

A few weeks ago I was able to take part in a panel discussion, hosted by Pastor Rick Boyes of Gateway Church in London Ontario, that brought to light the four perspectives of our human make-up and how they interrelate on matters of mental health.  On the panel was Medical Dr. Grant Mullen, Psychiatrist Dr. Ajit Ninan, Pastor Dave Andrews and myself (representing aspects of psycho-therapeutic intervention).  The attendees included health professionals, spiritual leaders and many people either suffering from mental health issues (or relatives of those suffering); attending in hopes of finding an approach that links the complexities of our human make-up, without discounting any perspective.   They weren’t disappointed. The panel was considerate, professional and insightful, representing their area of expertise with an open mind as to how it relates to the others.

From a faith-based perspective, the bio-psycho-social-spiritual connection is not a new concept.  Luke 2:52 speaks of Jesus development as growing in wisdom (psychologically), stature (physiologically), in favor with God (spiritually) and in favor with man (socially).  As well, the Apostle Paul delivered a wonderfully holistic speech recorded in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, ‘may the God of peace bring healing to your whole spirit, soul and body’.

I’m thankful for the progress being made in all disciplines of health care to embrace a more holistic approach. To me, optimal health is realized within a community where health services are offered for all aspects of life, without fear, shame or stigma.

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