A comparison of strategies for achieving well-being in non-clinical populations

Henry, Jane (2004). A comparison of strategies for achieving well-being in non-clinical populations. Ricerche di Psychologia, 27(1) pp. 135–158.

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This article addresses the question of how adults can usefully set about improving their level of well-being over the long-term. It draws on several different strands of literature to contrast strategies utilised by psychotherapeutic, self-help and spiritual practitioners, practices found in well-being studies and those cited in self-reports from non-clinical populations. It begins by reviewing the main strategies professionals offer to help develop individual well-being, especially those used in psychotherapeutic settings. It notes how these differ from practices advocated in self-help texts and by spiritual practitioners. It goes on to contrast these with approaches suggested by work in positive psychology, in particular practices associated with those who experience relatively high levels of well-being. It then compares these strategies with those cited as effective in improving well-being over the long-term in self-reports from non-clinical adult populations. It concludes that the approaches favoured by non-clinical groups share much in common with practices suggested by studies of those reporting relatively high levels of well-being and strategies long advocated by spiritual practitioners. They feature strategies derived from studies of positive living rather than pathology. Further some of the practices commonly advocated by caring professionals were found to be counter productive by some people. The thrust of the article suggests that a wider range of strategies are helpful in developing well-being over the long-term than those commonly advocated by caring professionals. The favoured strategies include giving greater attention to the importance of quietening the mind, acceptance, physical involvement and social support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)

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