Anda di halaman 1dari 7

STRENGTHS

A Strengths-Based Practice Model:


Psychology of Mind and Health Realization
Stephen G. Wartel

Abstract
The author discusses the tenets and applications of the psychology of mind/health realization theory (POM/HR),
stating that, although used for the past 27 years, it is still unfamiliar to many in the helping professions. This ther-
apeutic model has been best described by Roger Mills and George Pransky. It fits in well with the trend toward
strengths-based practice, focusing on the client’s resources and resilience, on self-empowerment and self-help,
effectiveness and efficiency. It can be taught and implemented easily, and, among other advantages, allows here-
and-now focus on feelings of well-being rather than on painful thoughts and disturbing memories.

COMMON SENSE AND WISDOM are the keys to opti- produces thought. Beliefs are conditioned patterns of
mal mental health and are always available as a default set- thought, and memories are thoughts about past events.
ting. Just as human bodies have the survival capacity, honed Thought creates feeling, as method actors know well,
by evolution, to maintain homeostasis and to heal, minds thinking of an anger-provoking experience to get into the
also have innate, self-righting mechanisms accessed through part. Thoughts and feelings guide our actions, producing
common sense and wisdom (Mills & Spittle, 2001). This behaviors.
theory is called psychology of mind/health realization
(POM/HR)1. Practitioners report achieving positive out- Thought Creates Reality
comes, mobilizing strengths and catalyzing further growth The constructivists (Watzlawick, 1984) state that people
through a brief and efficient helping process. create their picture of reality. POM/HR would add that this
This article is based on the work of several POM/HR the- reality is constructed by thoughts. The senses take in stim-
orists and practitioners (Bailey, 1990, 1999; Banks, 1998, uli, which are given meaning by one’s thinking. Unaware of
2000, 2001; Carlson, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999; the process, one equates these perceptions with reality.
Carlson & Bailey, 1997; Mills, 1995; Mills & Spittle, 2001; POM/HR uses three principles: mind, thought, and con-
Pransky, 1990, 1998; Suarez, Mills, & Stewart, 1987), and sciousness. The metaphor of a film projector is used to
in it, I discuss the rationale for using the approach, introduce explain this same process. Mind, the irreducible source of
basic concepts, explore techniques and applications, and help mental energy, is the projector. Thought is the film through
you to identify additional resources. which the light—carrying sensory stimuli—shines.
Consciousness is the light, causing the images on the screen
Thought as the Foundation to appear real (Mills, 1995, pp. 33–53).
for Feeling and Behaving Two Types of Thinking. Thinking can be either analytic or
intuitive. Analytic thinking is useful in problem solving,
The POM/HR conceptual framework is consonant with where assessment is coupled with selective information
cognitive psychology (Beck, Freeman, & Associates, 1990; stored in memory to yield solutions. Parents and teachers
Ellis, 1962) and states that thought is the foundation for condition the child to develop, apply, and refine these skills
feeling and behavior. Thinking is the process by which one over time. Whether one is tying one’s shoes or calculating
1 In POM/HR, POM is often used to designate its clinical applications, and HR is used for its community and prevention applications.

Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services


Copyright 2003 Alliance for Children and Families

185
FAM I LI E S I N SOC I ETY • Volume 84, Number 2

the time needed to drive to the airport, analytic thinking, ing the experience. The best solution is to recognize the
founded on memory and on conditioned thoughts and fluctuation (mood recognition is a form of thought recog-
beliefs, serves well. It supports solutions where discreet nition), avoid dwelling on it, and simply wait it out. Until it
choices and specific calculations are quickly available. passes, it is preferable not to try to solve problems, as this
Intutive thinking is good for situations that do not lend will be mentally straining and unproductive. Knowing that
themselves to specific analysis. Here, thinking that is based on moods are temporary allows one to relax when facing them.
intuition, common sense, and wisdom is more useful. Remaining as much as possible in the intuitive mode and
Realizations that emerge from intuitively knowing something maintaining a quiet mind will allow them to naturally pass.
are hard to describe in words. People simply reflect and know In sum, the higher the level of understanding thought,
what is right for them. Sometimes it just “pops into their resulting in proper use of thinking as cued by feeling, the
heads.” Intuitive thinking is optimal when trying to decide higher the overall level of functioning and mental health or
whether a mate is the right one to marry or how to plan one’s well-being. Conversely, the lower the level of understand-
work life to assure comfort and provide meaning.2 ing, the more misuse and abuse of the analytic mode. This
The capacity to use both types of thinking is essential. leads to experiencing more uncomfortable feelings, stress,
The intuitive mode is our default setting, which is accessed and strain, resulting in poorer and less efficient solution
by simply suspending the analytic mode through “letting building and a lower level of mental well-being.
go.” Optimally, people mix the styles on the basis of need, Levels of Mental Well-Being. In The Renaissance of
and they are guided in the assessment of need by the intu- Psychology (1998), George Pransky, one of POM/HR’s
itive rather than the analytic mode. Unfortunately, as people founders, described six levels of mental well-being: pro-
grow up and are increasingly schooled in analytic thinking, found well-being, well-being, chronic low-level stress,
they move further and further from trusting their intuition. chronic high-level stress, chronic distress, and chronic deep
This leads to unbalanced, overused, and ultimately abused distress. He drew the “mental health line” at well-being.
analytic thinking in which people overthink issues that are Pransky (1998, p. 108) defines chronic deep distress as
more appropriate to creative resolution using the other inability to separate thought from reality, resulting in a
mode. Overthinking resembles Zen’s “busy mind.” chronically frightening world and the need to be protected.
Inappropriately applying conditioned thinking and beliefs, There are no opportunities for relationships and work.
people are often unable to divine the improved solutions of At the level of chronic distress, limited thought recogni-
the quiet mind (see Glaxton, 1997). This ruminative pro- tion, accompanied by “rumination” and “distorted percep-
cess mentally wears on people and on a biochemical level tions,” keeps the person in a constant state of crisis (p. 108).
may deplete neurotransmitters like serotonin.3 In chronic high-level stress “life is stable but difficult
Feelings: The Guide to Thought Recognition. Thought recog- because of chronic, but unrecognized, worry, bother, and
nition is the ability both to recognize the primary role of frenetic thinking,” resulting in labile moods, poor job per-
thought and to recognize and optimally mix the thinking formance, and chronically conflicted relationships.
modes producing moment-to-moment thought. But how In chronic low-level distress, Pransky (1998) described
does one employ the right mix? People can be guided by good job performance and stable relationships built on
their feelings, which serve as a natural and universally avail- overusing the analytic mode, thereby creating tension and
able barometer to help them differentiate the two. joyless living.
Comfortable, positive feelings accompany intuitive, com- As people cross the mental health line, they move to well-
monsense thinking. Neutral, mildly effortful feelings are being characterized, according to Pransky (1998), by “high
associated with an easy, quick use of analytic thinking, yield- thought recognition and desirable feelings.” This person is
ing viable solutions. Uncomfortable, negative feelings “creative and resourceful at work” and enjoys fulfilling rela-
accompany overuse and abuse of the analytic thinking mode, tionships.
producing mental strain. Emotional self-awareness, defined as At the highest level mental health is profound well-being
recognizing and using our feelings, is a component of emo- in which deep reflection based in “free-flowing thinking”
tional intelligence (Bar-On, 2000; Goleman, 1995; Mayer, produces “ingenious ideas that society values,” and one is
Caruso, & Salovey, 2000) and guides adaptive thinking. able to bring out the best in other people (p. 108).
POM/HR labels the natural, spontaneous, and transitory Resilience: The Default Setting. POM/HR is easily prac-
fluctuations in the quality of thinking as moods. Moods are ticed if accepted open-mindedly and accompanied by a sus-
constantly changing. Lower moods, like clouds on an oth- pension of other contradictory practices. Intuitive,
erwise sunny day, pass. According to POM/HR, we cannot commonsense thinking is available to everyone as the
think our way out of a mood. Trying to do so will only default setting. Young children, who are far less conditioned
deepen it, producing uncomfortable feelings and prolong- to analytic thinking, can easily distract and quiet themselves,

2 POM/HR theorists use the terms processing thinking for analytic thinking and free-flowing thinking for intuitive thinking.
3 Is the serotonin deficiency seen as an epidemic by Norden (1996) in Beyond Prozac the cause (as he hypothesizes) or the effect of stress, resulting in widespread Prozac use?

186
Wartel • A Strengths-Based Practice Model: Psychology of Mind and Health Realization

resume free-flowing thinking, and quickly regain a positive relationship is a critical early step. But in this practice, lis-
and playful state following a discomforting event. Using the tening for the clients’ understanding of thought and their
barometer of feelings, people simply need to get out of their beliefs about presenting requests is the preferred road to
own way to rediscover their intuitive mode and quiet mind building rapport. Empathizing avoids promoting ventila-
and follow it as their guide. When people trust and follow tion and reinforcing beliefs that fail to recognize that per-
their common sense, they will always mix the optimal ceived reality is constructed from inside out via thought.
amount of intuitive and analytic thinking to yield the best Lengthy problem description accompanied by emotionally
possible solution available at that point in time. And make saturated exploration is seen in this practice as another way
no mistake about productivity. Clearly focused, quiet minds to use the analytic mode, reinforcing negative thoughts
work smarter rather than harder. and feelings.4 Respect, genuineness, warmth, and open-
ness, plus empathizing without joining unproductively,
Practice Implications quickly establishes rapport. The practitioner promotes a
relaxed tone and calm setting. This is based on state-
POM/HR is a simple, parsimonious theory that builds on dependent learning and suggests that optimal learning will
cognitive and constructivist psychologies. Thought is the be facilitated by a quiet mind.
foundation for feeling and behavior and is created through Some traditional therapies hypothesize that events in the
two modes of thinking: a natural, innate, intuitive mode, past (e.g., childhood experiences, trauma, conditioned
characterized by common sense, creativity, and wisdom, behaviors, etc.) cause problems in the present and seek to
which is accessed effortlessly and accompanied by comfort- undo their effects. Exploration of earlier experiences cou-
able feelings; and an analytic mode, learned early on through pled with abreacted feelings or behavioral or cognitive
parental and school-based conditioning, which is best for reconditioning becomes part of the process. These therapies
deciding rapidly among finite, quantifiable, fixed choices. often assume that change will be resisted and will involve
Analytic thinking takes effort and can escalate through substantial effort, time, and emotional pain.
overuse and abuse, resulting in uncomfortable feelings, POM/HR practice hypothesizes that rediscovering an
mental strain, and potentially poor actions. The more peo- optimal mix of thinking, guided by common sense and wis-
ple trust the intuitive mode’s guidance and supervision of dom, will restore mental balance and remain available to
the mix, the more effortless and productive the solution and solve future challenges. Because common sense and wisdom
the higher the likelihood of effective behavior. are already available, though underutilized, they can be
A practice approach that assesses clients’ understanding of accessed quickly so that help need not take a long time. In
thought, strengthens their awareness of thinking modes via fact, change can be so rapid that practitioners speak of “ver-
the barometer of feelings, and assists them in rediscovering tical jumps” in levels of understanding, bypassing interme-
an optimal thinking mix produces second-order change. diate levels. Feeling-saturated recall of memories is avoided,
Rather than giving clients a fish to feed themselves for a day, as is the accompanying mental distress. Substituting one
they are taught how to fish so that they may feed themselves conditioned behavior or belief for another is seen as time
for life. True to its underlying philosophy, this approach consuming and insufficient to produce lasting change.
maintains a calm, positive atmosphere in which to teach basic Traditional therapies often require booster sessions over
principles, trusts practitioners’ intuition to identify teachable time. POM/HR-informed practice assumes that once a per-
moments, and affirms the innate wisdom and strengths of son is on track again and consistently functioning above the
people seeking help. Being nonanalytic, it avoids diagnosing mental health line, this natural healing process will be self-
pathology using categories from the Diagnostic and reinforcing and self-sustaining. Ending in traditional therapies
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—Text Revision can be a time-consuming process. In this practice, people
(DSM–IV–TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000; who identify that they have been sufficiently helped simply
Kutchins & Kirk, 1997) and tends to brevity. choose to stop visiting, confident that they will continue to
grow on their own. “Flights into health” that are based on
Process of Helping achieving higher levels of understanding are welcome.
People seeking help will find similarities and differences Although rediscovery and use of commonsense thinking
between practitioners of traditional therapies and is initially facilitated by outside help and may be supported
POM/HR-informed practitioners. Humanistic psycholo- by some self-talk and letting go, this process usually falls
gists like Rogers (1957), and the solution-focused work of away over time. Catalyzed,5 it once again becomes as
Hubble, Duncan, and Miller (1989) identify the impor- autonomous as it was prior to overconditioning. If I may
tance of the therapeutic relationship. In POM/HR- take a bit of poetic license—this resilient healing born of
informed practice, establishing rapport through the detours through challenging times produces a repaired pro-

4 You are invited to extrapolate this view to the potential negative effects of having problem-saturated conversations with friends.
5 For a discussion of the catalytic function in a first-order change model that is managed-care friendly, see Bennett (1992).

187
FAM I LI E S I N SOC I ETY • Volume 84, Number 2

cess with scar tissue even stronger than the original. Over this parent, the client’s mood quickly deteriorated. It was
time, with growth and development back on track, the pro- clear that the client was prepared to ventilate at length,
cess continually improves upon itself. believing from past experience that this is how helping
POM/HR-informed practice requires that the helper be worked.
conversant with and able to teach the theory. This is sup- After briefly listening, building rapport, and discussing
ported by practitioners regularly using the tenets and options, including medication evaluation by a consulting
achieving their own level of mental health, defined as con- psychiatrist for symptom relief, the practitioner asked per-
sistently functioning above the mental health line (Pransky, mission to share another other way of viewing stress. This
1998). Relaxed, calm, intuitive practice in which both par- was allowed, and an introductory discussion ensued about
ties trust each other achieves value-added outcomes. This thought, belief, and how reality is constructed from inside
invigorates helpers and prevents fatigue and burnout. out. The client was interested in the idea that once a belief is
Reports in the POM/HR literature reveal that therapists created, like the client’s belief about a parent, a person tends
who are experiencing stress and fatigue but who then dis- only to see confirmatory evidence. Able to listen with an
cover this practice renew their interest in helping (Carlson open mind, the client decided to try to learn more about this
& Bailey, 1997). Selective, facilitative, and therapeutic dis- method first to see whether it would sufficiently help and
closure of the usefulness of POM/HR to the helper avoid the need to be evaluated for medication.
strengthens the helping relationship and engenders hope. POM/HR goals became understanding the two modes
of thinking, recognizing thoughts, and beginning to use
Self-Help Orientation this recognition to reduce rumination and stress, to access
This practice trusts in a person’s ability to self-heal. It more free-flowing thinking, and to experience more positive
empowers people to help themselves by providing tools that feeling. Over a few sessions, supplementing insights from
they can then use for a lifetime. Helping is framed more as reading Slowing Down to the Speed of Life (Carlson & Bailey,
educating and teaching than as counseling and therapy. 1997) with other understanding and applications to every-
Suggesting useful readings is a significant aid to this process. day life, the client made strong gains. Expressing conviction
A caveat, however, is in order for people already in therapy, of being well on the way, and confident of being able to
for example, for stress management. Because POM/HR may continue growing without further sessions, the client chose
be a very different way of providing help, clients are informed to stop.
at the outset that exposure to this new material may affect Standard across practices, whether they are POM/HR-
their therapy. They may want to explore this further, talking informed or use other methods, is an initial focus on reliev-
it over with their current therapist and then making a deci- ing suffering and exploring options, including safety and
sion about further consultation. Fortunately, POM/HR is referral for medication evaluation. The symptom picture was
compatible with many strengths-based models of help. abbreviated in the above vignette, but many clinicians seeing
this person would have identified anxiety, depressed mood,
Teaching and the Thinking Modes rumination, and impaired social and occupational function-
Teaching, the heart of POM/HR-informed practice, ing and would have assigned one or more DSM–IV–TR
requires some use of the analytic mode. Although the lan- diagnoses (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). A
guage of teaching can, at times, be metaphoric, evoking POM/HR practitioner focuses on assessing thought recog-
abstract concepts, practitioners accept the incongruity of nition, level of understanding, strengths, and resources.
relying, at times, on cognitive concepts and a mode whose Teaching the concepts initially resembled work done in
dominance it ultimately aims to diminish. Knowing when cognitive therapies. However, whereas cognitive therapies
and what to teach, however, depends on the practitioner’s try to change specific thoughts and beliefs, POM/HR prac-
understanding and insight (Mills, 1995, p. 118). Early and tice goes beyond this, focusing on the thinking process itself
ongoing conditioning that reverses humans’ inborn disposi- to promote second-order change. This person decided to try
tion makes the analytic mode primary and the intuitive to try to improve presenting symptoms to see if it could be
mode secondary. Successful POM/HR practice tips the bal- done without using medication. The client evidenced strong
ance back the other way. readiness for change (Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente,
1994). Through a brief POM/HR-informed helping pro-
An Illustration of POM/HR-Informed Practice cess, this person quickly overcame presenting symptoms,
A person in his 50s had heard the practitioner at a pre- rekindled hope, and was well on the way to further gains.
sentation and subsequently came for help to deal with his
stress. In his first visit, the client spoke of chronic distress, Applications
rumination, and mental strain, adding that on the basis of
prior counseling, this was caused by a parent’s long-term POM/HR has been applied to a wide range of present-
criticism going back to childhood. While speaking about ing problems. In assisting trauma survivors, practicing from

188
Wartel • A Strengths-Based Practice Model: Psychology of Mind and Health Realization

this vantage point improves upon solution-focused and cog- Biological psychiatry posits organic causes for these symp-
nitive–behavioral strategies. POM/HR-informed practice toms, adducing evidence from neurotransmitter chemistry,
dovetails well with other resilience and strengths-based the ameliorative effects of psychoactive medications, and
models that recognize challenges rather than deficits genetics. Another explanation, which fits the same observa-
(Benard, 1991, 1997; Saleebey, 1997b; Werner & Smith, tions but reverses cause and effect, is that prolonged overuse
1992; Wolin & Wolin, 1994). It supports helping people and abuse of the analytic mode depletes and overwhelms
who have faced traumatic events to reduce their suffering, neurotransmitters, producing the downward spiral and
resume their lives, and grow. symptoms seen. Medications can helpfully interrupt the
POM/HR-informed practice with its here-and-now cycle. Parents having low levels of understanding and
focus sees the memory of any event occurring in the past as thought recognition can induce these thinking styles in their
a thought, whether the event happened a day, a month, a children through conditioning. Genetic predisposition in
year, or decades ago. Traumatized persons, often unable to the form of biological differences promotes vulnerability
maintain high thought recognition in the face of initially but not destiny. This view could also help explain the results
overwhelming events, are at the mercy of these memories of resilience studies. These show children who are living in
and associated painful feelings. Without understanding that challenging home situations succeeding when exposed to
these are thoughts of prior events now arising internally, the adaptive style of a positive adult in their environment
these memories, perceived as current reality, continue to (Werner & Smith, 1992).
intrude painfully and often precipitate an emotional shut- The POM/HR model is compatible with mixing cogni-
down. Even though an event took place a long time before, tive and biological explanations for major mental illness
without understanding about thought and memory as a (Mills, 1995, chapter 9). Psychiatrists who use the
type of thought, people may experience something renewed POM/HR model prescribe psychoactive medications as
reliving of the event with numbing symptoms. needed. When initially encountering a person who is expe-
Crisis intervention with trauma victims focuses on creat- riencing painful emotional upheaval, any compassionate
ing safety and reducing suffering. As stabilization succeeds practitioner would consider using psychiatric consultation
and a calmer state begins to return, opportunities to begin to evaluate the need for medication to reduce suffering and
the educational process toward thought recognition slowly psychiatric hospitalization to support safety. After stabiliza-
avail. Permission to proceed is respectfully sought and tion occurs and levels of understanding and thought recog-
explained in terms of potential value to strengthening stabi- nition begin to increase, psychiatrists can monitor and
lization and aiding in recovery from the trauma. This prac- reevaluate the need for medication, tapering doses as appro-
tice, given its didactic nature, here-and-now focus, priate. Practice, following leading-edge rehabilitation prin-
avoidance of emotionally charged material, empowering ciples, would support adaptive functioning, including help
stance, frequent checking, and respectful and regular seek- obtaining entitlements, housing, and other community sup-
ing of permission, has numerous safeguards when guided by port. Initially, POM/HR teaching would retain a cognitive
an experienced practitioner functioning at a high level of focus, increasing thought recognition.
mental health. Over time, even the most egregiously vic- Joseph Bailey (1990) has written a self-help book based
timized people, following this POM/HR-informed process, on earlier POM/HR concepts to help those abusing alco-
can be helped to recover and grow. hol: The Serenity Principle. Although concepts presented in
Traditional practice using psychoanalytic or expressive that book have since evolved, they remain relevant. In
models with a focus on past events and abreaction creates a POM/HR, lower levels of understanding and thought
risk of promoting the reliving symptoms of posttraumatic recognition are characterized by believing that success and
stress disorder, worsening the person’s emotional state and happiness come from outside of ourselves. Given the
delaying recovery.6 However, some first-order change vagaries of life, supplies wax and wane, inevitably producing
strategies based in cognitive–behavioral and solution- insecurity. This can lead to addictive seeking and anaes-
focused theory are compatible and can be integrated into thetizing. Changing the insecure mind to an increasingly
POM/HR-informed practice. tranquil one through POM/HR yields serenity, obviating
Treatment based on POM/HR holds out promise for the need for alcohol or substances.
people diagnosed as severely mentally ill. At the lower levels The POM/HR model has been successfully used to
of understanding and thought recognition, a person is strengthen relationships and marriage. Because no two peo-
unable to separate thought from reality. When these ple can think alike, each marriage represents a wonderful
thoughts spiral downward and are accompanied by fearful microcosm of diversity. This challenges the mates to find
or depressed feelings and agitation, the symptoms of major richness in their differences, thereby vitalizing their rela-
mental illness are experienced. tionship. POM/HR practitioners teach this tenet to cou-
6 Lauren Slater (2003) in a recent article wrote, “New research shows that some traumatized people may be better off repressing the experience than illuminating it in
therapy.” The research on trauma treatment presented in her article has interesting implications for HR/POM.

189
FAM I LI E S I N SOC I ETY • Volume 84, Number 2

ples. This reframes their differences as being enriching Conclusion


rather than conflicting. Traditional couple counseling posits
a need for compatibility, based on each mate sharing similar POM/HR has refined its tenets over the past 2 decades,
thinking and beliefs. The POM/HR model sees this as becoming a true strengths-based model. Yet, it has not
neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for rich and last- achieved widespread recognition in the human service field.
ing relationships. George Pransky’s (1990) Divorce Is Not The model is easily learned, brief, and energizes practition-
the Answer is a self-help book using the POM/HR model. ers, preventing their burnout. It offers a comprehensive the-
The popular stress reduction consultant and author, ory that heuristically generates hypotheses supporting both
Richard Carlson, has explored his learning and use of this micropractice and macropractice. Reported outcomes are
model in Slowing Down to the Speed of Life (Carlson & robust, although the model would benefit from additional
Bailey, 1997). Although POM/HR can be synergistically research.
combined with compatible, cognitive–behavioral, stress- POM/HR founders Mills (1995) and Pransky (1998)
management strategies to produce strong results, some have envisioned a time when continued development and
purists eschew any additional, active technique as too effort- application of these concepts would contribute to creating a
ful. Mindful meditation and other meditative practices world where peace, harmony, and fulfillment prevail. They
(Kabot-Zinn, 1994) that have also been used to reach a see living at a high level of understanding and mental well-
quiet mind are seen by POM/HR purists as unnecessary, being as a benefit to humankind. I encourage human service
especially at the higher levels of thought recognition and professionals sharing this vision to seek more information
mental well-being. In my practice of stress-reduction con- through the list of Web sites (see Appendix) and references
sulting using a POM/HR approach, I have found these to decide whether these innovative and promising tenets
other adjuncts to be initially helpful in raising people above merit their continued interest.
the mental health line, after which the process becomes self-
sustaining. Then adjuncts can drop away.7 References
The POM/HR model, with its focus on well-being,
serves as the guiding philosophy for the new Sydney Banks American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual
Institute for Innate Health at the Robert C. Byrd Health of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Bailey, J. (1990). The serenity principle: Finding inner peace in recovery. New
Sciences Center at West Virginia University. The institute is York: HarperCollins.
named after the Scottish-born philosopher and theosophist Bailey, J. (1999). The speed trap: How to avoid the frenzy of the fast lane. San
Sydney Banks (1998, 2000, 2001), whose seminal ideas led Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
to the discovery of POM/HR, and was dedicated in 2000 Banks, S. (1998). The missing link: Reflections on philosophy & spirit. Renton,
to promote health and wellness. It is promoting use of the WA: International Human Relations Consultants.
Banks, S. (2000). The Long Beach lectures [videocassettes, vols. 1–3]. Renton,
model at this large medical campus dedicated to teaching,
WA: Lone Pine Media.
research, and treatment. You can learn more by accessing Banks, S. (2001). The enlightened gardener. Renton, WA: International
their Web site (see Appendix). Human Relations Consultants.
Finally, in keeping with a human service mission, Bar-On, R. (2000). Emotional and social intelligence: Insights from the
POM/HR strategies have been successfully used in youth Emotional Quotient Inventory. In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.),
The handbook of emotional intelligence: Theory, development, assessment,
and community development projects (Mills, 1995;
and application at home, school, and in the workplace (pp. 363–388).
Saleebey, 1997a). These programs are often based in low- San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
income housing projects in inner-city neighborhoods. Beck, A., Freeman, A., & Associates. (1990). Cognitive therapy of personality
Results include helping delinquent and gang-involved disorders. New York: Guilford.
youth, abusive parents and spouses, and substance-abusing Benard, B. (1991). Fostering resiliency in kids: Protective factors in the family,
adults to regain their equilibrium, access their innate com- school, and communities. San Francisco: Western Regional Center for
Drug-Free Schools and Communities.
mon sense and wisdom, discontinue maladaptive behaviors Benard, B. (1997). Fostering resiliency in children and youth: Promoting
based in insecure thinking, and get back on track toward protective factors in the school. In D. Saleebey (Ed.), The strengths
capable parenting, loving and respectful relationships, perspective in social work practice (pp. 167–182). New York: Longman.
school success, and gainful employment. Frequently sup- Bennett, M. (1992). The managed care setting as a framework for clinical
ported by government grants, the outcomes of these pro- practice. In J. L. Feldman & R. J. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Managed mental
health care: Administrative and clinical issues (pp. 203–217).
grams have been documented, and the programs themselves
Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
have been profiled on national and public television. Benson, H., & Proctor, W. (2003). The breakout principle: How to activate the
Following these earlier successes, community- and school- natural trigger that maximizes creativity, athletic performance, productivity,
based programs have been developed to emphasize protec- and personal well-being. New York: Scribner.
tive factors and resilience (Benard, 1991, 1997).
7 In their recent book, The Breakout Principle (Benson & Proctor, 2003), Herbert Benson and William Proctor identify a self-help process with interesting implications for
POM/HR practice. They conclude that an optimal level of “struggle” and resultant stress is necessary to trigger the benefits of this process (p. 28). The reader is also
referred to The Positive Power of Negative Thinking (Norem ,2001) which details an interesting self-help strategy for “defensive pessimists” that contrasts with the views of
POM/HR.

190
Wartel • A Strengths-Based Practice Model: Psychology of Mind and Health Realization

Carlson, R. (1994). You can feel good again: Commonsense strategies for Prochaska, J. O., Norcross, J. C., & DiClemente, C. C. (1994). Changing
releasing unhappiness and changing your life. New York: Plume. for good: A Revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits
Carlson, R. (1995). Shortcut through therapy: Ten principles of growth- and moving your life positively forward. New York: Avon Books
oriented contented living. New York: Plume. Rogers, C. R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic
Carlson, R. (1997). Don’t sweat the small stuff: And it’s all small stuff. New personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95–103.
York: Hyperion. Saleebey, D. (1997a). Community development, group empowerment, and
Carlson, R. (1998). The don’t sweat the small stuff workbook: Exercises, individual resilience. In D. Saleebey (Ed.), The strengths perspective in
questions, and self-tests to help you keep the little things from taking over social work practice (pp. 199–216). New York: Longman.
your life. New York: Hyperion. Saleebey, D. (1997b). Introduction: Power in the people. In D. Saleebey
Carlson, R. (1999). You can be happy no matter what: Five principles for (Ed.), The strengths perspective in social work practice (pp. 3–19). New
keeping life in perspective. Novato, CA: New World Library. York: Longman.
Carlson, R., & Bailey, J. (1997). Slowing down to the speed of life: How to Slater, L. (2003, February 23). Repress yourself. The New York Times
create a more peaceful, simpler life from the inside out. San Francisco: Magazine, 48–53.
HarperSanFrancisco. Suarez, R., Mills, R. C., & Stewart, D. (1987). Sanity, insanity and common
Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Lyle sense: The groundbreaking new approach to happiness. New York:
Stuart. Fawcett Columbine.
Glaxton, G. (1997). Hare brain, tortoise mind: How intelligence increases Watzlawick, P. (Ed.). (1984). The invented reality: How do we know what we
when you think less. Hopewell, NJ: Ecco. believe we know? Contributions to constructivism. New York: Norton.
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam. Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk
Hubble, M. A., Duncan, B. L., &. Miller, S. D. (Eds.). (1999). The heart children from birth to adulthood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
and soul of change: What works in therapy. Washington, DC: American Wolin, S., & Wolin, S. (1994). The resilient self: How survivors of troubled
Psychological Association. families rise above adversity. New York: Villard Books.
Kabot-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation
in everyday life. New York: Hyperion. Appendix
Kutchins, H., & Kirk, S. A. (1997). Making us crazy: DSM: The psychiatric Please see the following Web sites for further information:
bible and the creation of mental disorders. New York: Free Press.
Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2000). Selecting a measure of www.pomhr.com
emotional intelligence. In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), The www.healthrealization.com
handbook of emotional intelligence: Theory, development, assessment, and www.healthreal.com
application at home, school, and in the workplace (pp. 320–342). San www.lonepinepublishing.com/cat/self_help
Francisco: Jossey-Bass. www.hsc.wvu.edu/sbi/
Mills, R. C. (1995). Realizing mental health: Toward a new psychology of www.dontsweat.com
resiliency. New York: Sulzburger & Graham. www.pranskyandassociates.com
Mills, R., & Spittle, E. (2001). The wisdom within. Renton, WA: Lone Pine
Publishing.
Norden, M. J. (1996). Beyond Prozac. New York: ReganBook. Stephen G. Wartel, MSW, is a clinical social worker and stress reduction
Norem, J. K. (2001). The positive power of negative thinking: Using defensive consultant living in Gansevoort, NY. E-mail: swartel@nycap.com.
pessimism to harness anxiety and perform at your peak. New York: Basic
Books. Submitted: February 23, 2001
Pransky, G. S. (1990). Divorce is not the answer: A change of heart will save Revised: March 10, 2003
your marriage. New York: TAB Books. Accepted: September 24, 2001
Pransky, G. S. (1998). The renaissance of psychology. New York: Sulzburger &
Graham.

191