The Whole-Person Integrated-Care (WPIC) Wellness Solution: Part 2
Posted Oct 22 2008 6:27pm
Last week, in part 1 if the WPIC solution, I began defining a new type of wellness program based on a whole-person integrated-care (WPIC) model, which takes a whole person (mind, body, spirit and environment) view of health, and which coordinates sick-care with well-care across the entire healthcare continuum. I included an introductory discussion of the value proposition of such a wellness program, as well as its goals and methods. I also mentioned that there are (at least) four types of people, with different character traits, who require different approaches to wellness due their differentthoughts, emotions, behaviors, knowledge & understanding, and coping strategies. In this post and future ones, I examine these differences.
Since I'm presenting additional terms, let me take a moment to define them:
Thoughts refer to a person's attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, assumptions, reasoning, expectations, memories, "self-talk," and other mental process (i.e., one's cognitions).
Emotions refer to a person's feelings and moods (i.e., one's affect).
Behaviors are what a person does (i.e., one's actions).
Knowledge & Understanding are related terms, which I discuss in some detail at this link. Briefly, knowledge refers to information someone knows about important things, such as relevant people, things, places, times, reasons, rules, and methods. Understanding, on the other hand, is being able to apply that knowledge when doing such things as:
Explaining, interpreting, discovering, and gaining insights into the nature of things
Using logic and evidence to support decisions, make accurate predictions, and judging/evaluating things rationally and sensibly
Creating and imagining
Focusing one's attention on what's important (i.e., have good situational awareness), being prepared to act, and justifying one's beliefs/hypotheses.
Coping strategies are adaptive or maladaptive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting when trying to deal with problematic situations. Following are ten common coping strategies people tend to use. The first six are positive strategies because they help a person solve a problem or learn to accept it with minimal distress. The latter six are negative strategies because they fail to resolve one's problems or enable healthy acceptance.
Logical Analysis is a positive approach strategy in which a person tries to understand what caused the problem and think of different ways to handle it.
Social Support is another positive approach strategy in which a person explains the problem to someone or asking others for advice or help. This can help determine what, if anything, can be done to solve it.
Problem Solving is another positive approach strategy in which, after logical analysis, a person determines that a problem can probably be solved and what has to be done to solve it. A specific plan of action is then created and implemented, and the person learns from the results and modifies the plan accordingly.
Positive Reappraisal is another positive approach strategy in which a person views a problem as helping him/her change or grow in a good way, find new faith, or learn valuable lessons. This strategy can be used whether or not a problem can be solved.
Rational Acceptance is a positive non-action strategy in which a person accepts—without undue emotional distress and self-defeating behaviors—that nothing can be done to solve a problem, so s/he does nothing except adopt a rational way of thinking about it, which foster psychologically healthy acceptance.
Behavioral Distraction is a negative avoidance strategy in which a person tries to feel better emotionally by doing enjoyable or interesting things, rather than trying to solve the problem or to cope with it through positive reappraisal and rational acceptance. While it may help reduce one's upset temporarily, this strategy is negative because it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term. This strategy wastes precise time that could be better spent trying to understand and deal constructively with the problem, rather than letting things get worse.
Cognitive Avoidance is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person simply acts as if there is no problem, or tries not to think about the problem. As with behavioral distraction, the strategy may help reduce one's upset temporarily, but it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term, as well as wasting precise time.
Emotional Discharge is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person expresses negative emotions by yelling or crying, taking it out on others, or avoiding certain people or situations. As with the previous two strategies, this one may help reduce one's upset temporarily, but it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term. In addition, this strategy may annoy other people and push them away, as well as wasting precise time.
Wishful Thinking is another negative avoidance strategy in which a person simply hopes a miracle will somehow make things better, or that his/her wishes or prayers would somehow be answered. As with the other avoidance strategies, this one may help reduce one's upset temporarily, but it will never solve the problem and does nothing to help one cope with it long-term, as well as wasting precise time.
Resignation is a negative non-action strategy in which a person determine that nothing can be done, so doing nothing while in an emotionally distressed state of anxiety, depression (hopelessness and helpless), and/or anger.
Describing the Characteristics of Four Types of Individuals
As I discussed in my previous post, wellness programs should address the particular needs of are (at least) four types of people: Activists, Wannabes, Inactives and Ignorers/Deniers. In this post, I present the Activists. They are the ones most motivated to deal actively and eagerly with health & wellbeing issues, and are most likely to take advantage of wellness programs.
Activists' attitudes about managing their physical and mental health can be summed up in thoughts such as: "I believe I can do whatever must be done, and I'm willing to do it!" Such thought reflect a joy of living and a willingness to take constructive action to reduce any fear, uncertainty and doubt through problem-solving (if their health problems can be resolved) or rational acceptance (if the problems can't be fixed).
In terms of their character traits, Activists tend to be confident, motivated, aware, rational, and assertive. They seek knowledge about their physical and mental health status and risks, from a whole-person integrated-care perspective, to help them make wise decisions. And they try to understand how to avoid health problems, self-manage chronic conditions, and treat existing problems in the safest and most cost-effective way, and use their knowledge to live healthy lifestyles.
Activists, in other words, are rational people who deal with their physical and mental health problems (existing conditions and risks) by using positive, proactive coping strategies, such as:
Trying to understand what caused the problems and thinking of different ways to handle it
Talking to someone about what they're are going through and asking certain people for advice or help.
Determining what has to be done to solve a problem and then using a specific plan of action
Viewing a problem as something that helps them change or grow in a good way, find new faith, or learn valuable lessons
Rationally accepting when a problem cannot be solved to minimize their emotional distress.
When dealing with an existing health problem, therefore, Activists actively seek knowledge and guidance to understand the pros & cons of different treatment options. And when dealing with their health risks, they seek to understand the pros & cons of different prevention options. If Activists have money problems—which prevent them from carrying out their wellness plan of care (e.g., buying more healthy foods, a gym membership, prescribed medications, diagnostic tests, etc.)—they strive to find a way to afford what they need, including political action. If they have family and other demands that consume their time and thus make lifestyle change difficult, they find ways to make time available. And if they have physical handicaps or cognitive impairments that interfere, they will explore alternative approaches to health improvement that accommodates these limitations.
The more a person's character traits resemble an Activist, the more likely s/he is to gain from a wellness program and improve his/her health and wellbeing.
Next week I'll examine the Wannabes and Inactives.