three candles

I was reading about psychiatry and came across something interesting. There is a concept known as the biopsychosocial model—see the short article from the University of Rochester called The Biopsychosocial Approach.

According to this model, there are three ways to look at mental health. Each of these perspectives is useful in its own way:

  1. Biological
  2. Psychological
  3. Social

So for example, let’s say a person is depressed. You could focus on the person’s biology and prescribe an antidepressant to help retain more happy neurotransmitters in the brain. Or, you could focus on the person’s psychology and address, maybe through psychotherapy, the person’s thought and behavior patterns that may be unhealthy. Or, you could focus on the person’s social milieu and address, maybe through psychotherapy, the person’s relationships with family, friends, coworkers, etc., especially those relationships that are currently problematic, and how to build new, positive relationships.

Ideally, you will think about all three areas and address them accordingly.

I like this model because it makes more sense to recognize that there are multiple ways to help a person feel better, and each of those is important in its own right.

So, instead of focusing only on a chemical imbalance, for example, we can focus on the whole person, including their biology, psychology, and social environment. I especially like the diagram in The Biopsychosocial Approach (check it out), which puts these concepts into a hierarchical order from large to small, all being important.

Are your biology, psychology, and social environment all in good working order?