Academic journal article Counseling and Values

Holistic Flow Model of Spiritual Wellness

Academic journal article Counseling and Values

Holistic Flow Model of Spiritual Wellness

Article excerpt

The Hollistic Flow Model of Spiritual Wellness is a conceptualization of spiritual health and well-being that has implications for clinical practice and research. The model is unique in its placement of the spirit at the center of Life and in its fluid vision of the spirit. The authors present the model after a discussion of spirituality and the definitions of "flow" and a brief review of existing wellness models. The model's components are belief in a universal force, making meaning of life, making meaning of death, connectedness, faith, and movement toward compassion, Included in the article are descriptions of spirit, the components of spirituality, and a sample application of the model.

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The curiosity of human nature dictates that individuals wonder about that which they do not know. Interest in one's personal spirit is not a new phenomenon. For centuries, spirituality has been pondered. Ancient theologians, mystics, oracles, shamans, and witch doctors first discussed the concept, and since then, many leaders of organized religion and philosophers have claimed to know the nature of the spirit. Only in the last 20 years has spirituality become equally important in the world of counseling, psychology, and medicine (Ingersoll, 1994; Lawrence, 2002; Richards & Bergin, 1997). The question becomes, What is the role of spirit in our work as helping professionals?

The meaning of spirit and an individual's approach to and development of spirit is highly personal and varied. Religion, literature, philosophy, psychology, counseling, and science all have perspectives on the nature and purpose of spirituality. The belief that one's personal spirit can be nurtured and developed without conventional religion is gaining acceptance among many counselors and other helping professionals. Those in helping professions try to assist as people attempt to bring happiness into their lives each day. Individuals acquire possessions, begin new relationships, and engage in new activities to try to fill the void that inevitably touches each life at some point, but rarely do people look to spiritual awareness as a means to happiness and health (Hamilton & Jackson, 1998).

The Holistic Flow Model of Spiritual Wellness that we present in this article provides a means through which helping professionals can explore spiritual health in both clinical practice and research. We explain how the model enhances holistic wellness by purposefully developing components of an individual's spirit. We describe the components of spirit and how they affect life tasks. When approached with creativity and openness, spirituality and the concept of one's spirit can increase the effectiveness of counseling.

Models of Wellness

Before exploring the various components of the Holistic Flow Model of Spiritual Wellness, it is important to review traditional models of wellness that focus on life tasks. Concepts of wellness and health now permeate the literature in psychology and counseling. In fact, wellness has become a desirable point at which to begin psychological assessment. In their article introducing the concept of positive psychology, Seligman and Csikszentmihaly (2000) suggested that the social and behavioral sciences can "articulate a vision of the good life" and can "show what actions lead to well-being" (p. 10).

Holistic approaches to wellness maintain that "treatment is not just fixing what is broken; it is nurturing what is best" (Seligman & Csikszentmihaly, 2000, p. 9). Many existing models of holistic wellness include spirituality as a component; however, there are no models that identify spiritual wellness as the primary focus that influences all aspects of an individual's life.

The life task components of most wellness models include the physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and occupational realms (Eberst, 1984; Hawks, 1994; Hettler, 1984; Maples, 1996; Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 2000; Sweeney & Witmer, 1991). …

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