Current Psychology


Q: I have heard of preventive mental health, but not of positive mental health. Why the new term?

A: Positive mental health is different from preventive mental health, which entails attending to risk factors. Positive mental health does not suggest that all disorders are preventable or curable by early intervention. While many may be helped (and hence necessary to educate), we should also recognize that it is often the strongest who push themselves beyond a previous best.  It is the most persistant amongst us, who dares go beyond the point where others are all too willing to abandon.

Hence rather than believing one can overcome any crisis with a greater sense of self, intimacy and achievement, or that we ought to be superhuman, a positive mental health approach focuses on using a crisis or setback as an opportunity for fundamental change.

Using Crisis as an Opportunity for Fundamental Change

In crisis, the objective of Lifetrack therapy is not to directly decrease the symptoms of stress or disease, but to actively increase positive factors in the normal cycle of life which includes natural ups and downs.  The focus is on building health and happiness beyond a previous best level of adjustment despite symptoms of distress.

Initially, building health in areas we care about the most (love, work and play) may in defensive individuals actually increase symptoms of stress.  However by focusing on the good, rather than decreasing the bad (objective subjective), symptoms often disappear, and a new healthier pattern of coping emerges.  An experience of happiness or well-being in one’s self, intimacy and achievement spheres changes the person from within.

Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation

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Current Psychology, Positive Mental Health, Preventive Mental Health
A Japanese psychiatrist discusses a current psychology of health and happiness, positive mental health, and preventive mental health.

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2 Responses to Current Psychology

  1. I think you have produced some rather interesting points. Not as well many others would really think about this the direction you just did. I am really impressed that there is so much about this subject that has been unveiled and you made it so nicely, with so considerably class. Brilliant one, man! Genuinely special things right here.

    • Nathalie says:

      The distinction is subtle, but important as you point out. If we get bogged down focusing on reducing stress symptoms then we may be avoiding the very things that an individual may need to love, play or work. Temporary symptom relief is humane and often necessary for individuals in crisis but it should not be the central focus of any therapy.

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