Internal/Near Environment

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     Some believe that human wellness is facilitated by reaffirming our Oneness with our internal components (i.e. near environment), with each other and the Universe (i.e. far environments). Our human internal/near environments include our: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, intuitive, and creative aspects. To seek to remove a disease from a body is not enough to facilitate wellness. For wellness to be experienced, we must address all of the interwoven aspects of who we are. Many philosophers over time have acknowledged the interconnectedness between consciousness and human wellness (Greenwood & Nunn, 1992).

     Self-actualization is an essential process in the facilitation of human wellness. Abraham Maslows definitionas cited by Rowan (1983)includes: a) acceptance and expression inner coreor self (i.e....fully functional(and) b) ...(implying) minimal presence ill healthneurosispsychosis loss diminution basic personalcapacities(p. 10). goes on to indicate Waterman (1990) that ongoing actualization potentials talents fulfillment mission (or callfatedestiny vocation) a fuller knowledge person own intrinsic nature increasing trend toward unityintegration synergy within 50). believed it through spontaneous transcendent experiences we experience forward movement resultinggreater psychological therefore overal wellness (AlexanderRainforth& Gelderloos1991p. 189).

     Carl Jung, who developed the concept of individuation, believed that to facilitate healing or wellness a person needs to reconcile "conflicting 'personalities' within the mind" (Storr, 1991, p. 8). Storr (1991) cites Jung who stated, "I hold that our personal unconscious, as well as collective unconscious, consists of an indefinite, because unknown, number of complexes or fragmentary personalities..all human beings (are) divided selves" (pp. 22-23). Jung believed that through rituals and myths wellness and wholeness could be facilitated. "Perhaps myths (are) a necessary adaptive mechanism which promotes health, and perhaps the fact that so many modern men (and women) appear neurotic and unhappy (is) because they have somehow become alienated from the myth-creating substratum of the mind which (is) shared both by the normal person and by the psychotic" (Storr, 1991, p. 27). Myths and rituals tend to order experiences and make them more comprehensible. "A myth (or ritual) might be an attempt on the part of the mind itself at self-healing" (Storr, 1991, p. 32). Jung concluded that everyone has their own delusional system and that every person needs myths and rituals "by which to live, and that if (s/he) does not appear to possess one, (s/he) is either unconscious of it, or else (is) sadly alienated from the roots of (his/her) being" (Storr, 1991, p. 28).

     Jung also emphasized the importance of recognizing and identifying with our human "shadow" side in facilitating wellness. Through this process, Jung challenged humans to seek to "emerge as an individual while maintaining harmony with the totality of life surrounding one's existence" (Rich & DeVitis, 1994, p. 37). One reaches this state through the process of self-actualization or individuation resulting in "the creation of a whole personality wherein one's self becomes fully defensible and indestructible" (Rich & DeVitis, 1994, p. 38). There are a number of developmental stages that one must pass through to reach this state. In each stage "the self identifies exclusively with one side of a dichotomy and views the other aspect of the dichotomy as alien or separate from self. A tension is created between these polarities. This tension is released when the self expands to identify with both aspects of the polarity or dichotomy" (Fox, 1985, p. 92). A person's level of wellness is then expanded "as the self loosens its exclusive identification with some aspect or part, and reidentifies with a larger Whole. This more inclusive Whole embraces that which the self thought it was, and that which the self thought it was not. In this manner a succession of splits or dichotomies are healed and a more inclusive self emerges" (Fox, 1985, p. 92). Fox (1985) cites Wilber who concludes that as "the fragmented psyche becomes an integrated ego; the mind/body split becomes an integrated human organism; the separate human organism integrates with humanity and humanity integrates with God" (p. 92).

     Carl Rogers, the person who developed person-centred therapy, believed that self-actualization is a natural human process. Ford (1991) cites Rogers who stated that humans have "one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism" (p. 102).

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Last Update: April 2, 1999
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