Psychological Well-Being & Resilience: The Science and Practice of Eudaimonia

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Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics reviews research and interventions aimed at engagement in life, realization of personal talents and capacities, and enlightened self-knowledge. “Together, these topics illustrate flourishing interest across diverse scientific disciplines in understanding adults as striving, meaning-making, proactive organisms who are actively negotiating the challenges of life. A take-home message is that increasing evidence supports the health protective features of psychological well-being in reducing risk for disease and promoting length of life. A recurrent and increasingly important theme is resilience – the capacity to maintain or regain well-being in the face of adversity. Implications for future research and practice are considered.”

Ryff, C.D.; Psychological Well-Being Revisited: Advances in the Science and Practice of Eudaimonia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2014;83:10-28 DOI:10.1159/000353263

Abstract:

This article reviews research and interventions that have grown up around a model of psychological well-being generated more than two decades ago to address neglected aspects of positive functioning such as purposeful engagement in life, realization of personal talents and capacities, and enlightened self-knowledge. The conceptual origins of this formulation are revisited and scientific products emerging from 6 thematic areas are examined: (1) how well-being changes across adult development and later life; (2) what are the personality correlates of well-being; (3) how well-being is linked with experiences in family life; (4) how well-being relates to work and other community activities; (5) what are the connections between well-being and health, including biological risk factors, and (6) via clinical and intervention studies, how psychological well-being can be promoted for ever-greater segments of society. Together, these topics illustrate flourishing interest across diverse scientific disciplines in understanding adults as striving, meaning-making, proactive organisms who are actively negotiating the challenges of life. A take-home message is that increasing evidence supports the health protective features of psychological well-being in reducing risk for disease and promoting length of life. A recurrent and increasingly important theme is resilience – the capacity to maintain or regain well-being in the face of adversity. Implications for future research and practice are considered.

 

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. I do so hope the psychologists will stop believing in the fictitious DSM “life long incurable genetic mental illnesses,” as these stigmatizations certainly function in 100% the opposite manner of what’s described here.

    How long will it take for the psychiatric practitioners to realize that their DSM disorders are merely a medicalization of normal human emotions and behaviors, and lists of symptoms describing the adverse and withdrawal effects of their drugs? And that it’s unwise to try and turn as many people as possible into bipolar / schizophrenics, completely with drugs.

    Truly, I’ve never met such insane, delusional, and disrespectful people as the psychiatric practitioners I dealt with. Lunatics who think it’s their right to defame, force medicate, torture, and try to murder people to cover up “bad fixes” on broken bones for incompetent doctors and child sodomy for the religions. Shame on psychiatry. I hope the psychologists stop following the foolish and grotesquely unethical psychiatrists. I hope the mainstream doctors do, too.

    What a horrible joke mainstream medicine has become. Ever heard of treating others as you’d like to be treated doctors? It’s a philosophy that people in civilized societies used to live by. I’d like my civilized society back. Psychiatrists aren’t intelligent enough to rule the world, please stop trying to. “Everybody wants to rule the world.”