is not the absence of disease. It is the presence of something
-- the question is of what?
As I actively interacted with my patients, I observed over and
over again that despite their infinitely varied and unique symptoms
and personal backgrounds, the elements that determined their well-being
or distress were strikingly predictable. This lead to the hypothesis
that there may be certain psychological spheres which when fulfilled
built successful psychological adjustment, and when unfulfilled
or repeatedly neglected, caused distress and made one vulnerable
By 1975, I realized that the three spheres critical to building
health in our daily lives were quite simple. These three spheres
--self, intimacy, and achievement -- remain broad enough to encompass
nearly all psychological events. None of the spheres exist in
isolation. They are overlapping and inter-related. These three
spheres together dynamically interact and constitute a person's
Self : To be "in touch," "at
peace," and "in control" of self requires the capacity to recognize
and accept both positives and negatives in life, integrating them
into a balanced perspective. It also includes the flexibility
to initiate, modify, and control thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Intimacy : To extend one's
thoughts, feelings, and actions beyond the self and become close
to another human being. Many different types of intimate relationships
such as those with a parent, spouse, significant other, children,
friends, or God can bolster the psyche. The couple relationship,
however, enables human beings to experience fullest union of personality,
in all three dimensions of human intimacy - Intellectual/Social,
Emotional, and Physical/Sexual.
Achievement : To reach beyond
the self through the productive, creative, and the constructive
expression of one's capacities. It is an indirect way of finding
an intimate union or relationship with the world in which one
lives. Behind one's work, career, athletics, hobbies or other
intellectual and productive activities is the desire not only
to subsist, but also to find meaning and achieve value, acceptance,
respect, admiration and deep down love. A person who is either
unable or unwilling to build a relationship with the world through
his or her constructive capacities may turn in desperation to
destruction - an attempt to be noticed and counted and freed from
total insignificance by a forced relationship of dominance.
To learn more about the three spheres and how they may apply to
building health in your life, see "Introduction to Lifetrack"
chapter in my eManual, "Breakthrough
Intimacy - Sad to Happy through Closeness".