East and West about Mental Health: Personal and Social Strategies for the Achievement

(Sergei Naidenov)

Scientific-advisory center “Psychorehabilitation”, Kyiv, Ukraine

Introduction. Any human and society aims for happiness, often understanding it in its own way, but in behavioral aspect – always seek to escape the pain, sufferings, as well as to gain satisfaction. Issues of health started to attract philosophers and researchers of different cultures and epochs in situations when they had lost health themselves or criteria of the phenomenon or knowledge system evaluation changed. Periods of rapid development or crisis of society could motivate to seek ways of achievement and development of mental health both in individual personality and globally. However, without classification of the concept a specialist often performs substitution or cannot choose strategies for qualified help. A purpose is to analyze a category of mental health through the comparison of strategies of its achieving, retaining and developing in different cultural systems.

Earlier the category of mental health (MH) was defined through diminished medical definitions of mental and emotional problems (illness) which were reported in ICD-7-10, further as a system of effective adaptation.

Different systems of knowledge and philosophic concepts defined the category of mental health in different way. Eastern philosophic systems referred to the MH as the way of achieving happiness and harmony based on holism principles. Scientific and rational approaches of the West are based on principles of social effectiveness, optimal state of health and harmonious mood narrowed down the MH to the adequate or stressful variant of adaptation where adequate adaptation was perceived as the MH and stressful one as the loss of the MH.

Results. Summarizing experience of decades of psychotherapeutic and research scientific practice (Naidenov 1995, 1999) in the sphere of psychology of stress and health, psychological therapy of affective states and dependencies under the neuropsychiatry and Jungian analysis as well as Eastern medicine and Reiki philosophy, we propose to combine Eastern and Western approaches on the basis of the system theory. Distinguishing aspects of function, structure and coordination we conditionally divide the human personality in the most meaningful subsystems (somatopsychic, emotional, mental, social and coordinating ones) correlating, in our opinion, with coping strategies, subsyndromes of stress and certain stages of personality development that gives possibility to define criteria of the adequate selection of strategies for the MH achievement. According to four subsystems, we had analyzed methods in different traditional systems of the East (hat ha, layja djnani, raja yoga, Reiki etc.) to define specific problems of the MH and effective personal and social coping strategies (Bayley, 2000; Sandomirsky, 2005).

Conclusions. The strategy for the personality resides in finding those primary groups values of which are the most close to the values of the personality and do not cause the intrapersonal conflict and for his/her subsystems – individual recommendations.

There is a suggested synthetic concept of the MH: if the human of the given level of development lives and interacts under established standards of the reported stage, selecting successful strategies, – he/she is healthy, but if he/she can’t solve problems of this level, then he/she is ill or he/she got to the zone of mental disharmony.

Considering strategies, it is necessary to be oriented not exactly at the MH of the personality, but at the MH of social group, territory, ethnic group, nation. Such social strategies (Sushkov I.R. 2008) include development of skills and values of the health culture in population of certain social group; formation of valeological culture and skills of the antistress protection in specialists and leaders of the social group; retention in population and leaders of social groups of a confidence and sense of justice towards the leadership elite to avoid situations of social tension and crises of state authorities; raising specialists of social management as mature personalities /or subjects/ with obligatory further incorporating them in systems of local authorities; systems of primary, secondary and tertiary psychoprophylactics under medicine, education and social work on prevention of aftereffects of stresses, mental illnesses and dependency states.

Keywords: mental health, social rehabilitation.


1. Bayley A.A. (2000). Obsession as a common problem; Moscow: Navna.

2. Naidenov S. (1995). Recreation valeology for transformation manconsciouness in program "Antistress"; Athens: Abstracts of 4 European congress of psychology.

3. Naidenov S. (1999). Transformation of manconsciousness in program "Antistress"; Rome: Adsuesces Abstracts. VI European Congress of Psychology.

4. Sandomirsky M.E. (2005). Psychosomatics and body psychotherapy: practical guidelines; Moscow: Class.

5. Sushkov I.R. (2008). Psychological features of social relationship; Moscow: Institute of Psychology RAN.

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