Resiliency in Mental Health

Looking at Positive Psychology and the Recovery Movement

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The Recovery Movement in mental health is something we may have heard of in passing but could potentially do well to explore in more detail. It is a response to the medical model of mental illness which largely claims genetics or aberrant neuro-chemistry to be the core underpinnings of mental illness. Such a premise often means that people are treated with medication for long periods of time if not indefinitely and are frequently told that recovery is not possible; their mental illness is something they must learn to live with. In no other area of mental health is this stance more prevalent than in psychosis and in people diagnosed with schizophrenia in particular.

The Recovery Movement does not deny that medication can play a part in a person's healing but also asks the person and the medical community to look at the issue more systemically whilst concurrently focusing on the strengths and resilience of the person with the diagnosis. The linked article here takes a look at the Recovery Movement's development alongside the flourishing of positive psychology, which is the scientific study of ordinary human strengths and virtues investigating human motives and potentials. It is the belief of the writers of this article that the understanding of human strengths could contribute to prevention or lessening of psychiatric disorders' devastating consequences, since optimism, sense of personal control and many other positive processes promote psychological health. We hold this belief too.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as ''the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, threats or significant sources of stress''. Yoga therapy at the Minded Institute aims to foster such resilience, using asana, pranayama and mindfulness to provide the tools for self-regulation of the nervous system and resiliency even in the face of the most devastating circumstances, diagnoses and life events. Underpinning all of this is compassion, therapeutic holding and the firm belief that every person has the ability to utilise their resiliency, strength and inner resources to find some peace within their lives.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS