Creating Nurturing Environments

A sustainable response to the healthcare crisis.

Posted Jun 07, 2012

I argued the other day in my recent Psychology Today Blog that "We need a science of healing, not a science that makes living with social and environmental toxins tolerable."

Below is an awesome example from my pal Anthony Biglan and colleagues. Tony and colleagues are arguing for a more robust, humane, and sustainable response to human suffering. In a recent article, they identify four areas for delberate policy making for the creation of what they call Nurturing Environments:

1) these environments minimize biologically and psychologically toxic events.

2) they teach, promote, and richly reinforce prosocial behavior, including self-regulatory behaviors and all of the skills needed to become productive adult members of society.

3) they monitor and limit opportunities for problem behavior.

4) they foster psychological flexibility—the ability to be mindful of one’s thoughts and feelings and to act in the service of one’s values even when one’s thoughts and feelings discourage taking valued action.

You can see the entire paper American Psychologist: Nurturing Environments 

You can find out more about community-based projects that facilitate the creation of Nurturing Environments at NurturingEnvironments.org 

This is where the science and public policy need to go. 

The diseasification of human troubles is unsustainable.

Treatment after the damage is done is unsustainable.

Corporate greed inspired responses (see big pharma and industrial food) are unsustainable.

Our predominantly medical response (including most of psychology) is unsustainable.

We need to move our response from the model that puts the "sick" individual in front of the highly trained professional to a model that creates environments where far fewer professionals are needed.

It is worth considering how much of the ill health we see, both physical and psychological is the result of sustained exposure to environments that either make us sick, keep us sick, or fail to promote healthy living. Our healthcare system is awash in chronic illness. We need sustainable solutions.

There are things we can do, very directly, in our own lives and in the lives of thise around us. 

Stay tuned for more...on living one life.

 

Namaste y'all from Oxford, M'ssippi,

Kelly G. Wilson

 

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About the Author

Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D.

Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of psychology at the University at Mississippi.

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