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.