The article by Myers and Sweeney (2007) provides an overview of the concept of wellness, its theoretic modeling, and its use in counseling practices. According to the authors, wellness can be described as an active process which involves making choices that are aimed at making one’s existence more successful (Myers & Sweeney, 2007). It can be understood as both involving the appropriate healing of the existing problems and taking care of oneself to avoid similar problems in the future and make one’s life healthier and spiritually fuller (Kwon, 2015; Myers & Sweeney, 2007).
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The authors describe a theoretical model of wellness proposed before. This model is labeled the Wheel of Wellness, and comprises spirituality (including the sense of meaning in life, as well as spiritual practices and beliefs) as its central element, and 12 other components (senses of control and worth; emotional responsiveness and self-control; realistic views; intellectual stimulation, creativity and the participation in problem-solving activities; physical exercise; sense of humor; appropriate nutrition; taking care of oneself; management of one’s stress; cultural identity; and, finally, gender identity) as “spokes” of the “wheel” (Myers & Sweeney, 2007, p. 1).
This model was also employed to create a test evaluating the wellness of an individual; the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle Inventory, abbreviated as WEL, was used for several years in order to further explore the construct of wellness and its underlying structure.
The data gathered via the use of WEL was further considered through the use of statistical means such as the factor analysis. The analysis revealed a structure that was different from what was originally hypothesized; it was unveiled that spirituality was not central in the construct of wellness, as was initially believed. Instead, the new structure was comprised of a single, higher-order wellness factor, as well as of 5 second-order factors; the original 17 components of wellness were all confirmed to be third-order factors in this construct (Myers & Sweeney, 2007). After that, a new, evidence-based model of wellness was created; it gained the name of the Indivisible Self (IS-Wel).
It is stressed that the name of this model reflected the Adlerian notion that an individual is greater than the mechanical sum of their parts and, consequently, cannot be divided into elements and should be viewed holistically, as a whole (Myers & Sweeney, 2007). The elements of the model can be assessed by employing the Five Factor Wellness Inventory (5F-Wel); it is stated that several versions of this inventory are available, including those for adult individuals, elementary school pupils, and middle school students (Myers & Sweeney, 2007).
It is paramount to stress that the notion of wellness as modeled and measured by WEL and 5F-Wel has been utilized in a variety of studies, including research that has been conducted on people who have no relationship to counseling. Interestingly, some of the components of wellness were difficult to use in some cases; for instance, the concept of cultural identity was badly understood by populations coming from monocultural countries.
Nevertheless, the construct of wellness has been found to be positively correlated to several psychological constructs such as “short-term state and long-term trait aspects of psychological well-being, healthy love styles, job satisfaction, and mattering”; negative correlation has been unveiled to such constructs as perceived stress, psychological disturbance, and objectivied body consciousness (Myers & Sweeney, 2007, p. 2).
It should also be pointed out that the two models of wellness (the Wheel of Wellness, and the Indivisible Self models) were successfully employed to develop and deliver counseling interventions for both groups and individuals (Kwon, 2015; Myers & Sweeney, 2007).
The interventions utilizing these models need to always be grounded in the needs and desires of the customer, and the latter could be prompted to point out which components of wellness are pivotal for them. When creating and providing such interventions, it should also be remembered that the concept of wellness emphasizes the conscious choice and the daily decision-making aimed at increasing the quality of a person’s lifestyle (Myers & Sweeney, 2007).
Kwon, S. H. (2015). Wheel of Wellness counseling in community dwelling, Korean elders: A randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 45(3), 459-468. Web.
Myers, J. E., & Sweeney, T. J. (2007). Wellness in counseling: An overview. Web.