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  • What is mental health?

    Definition of Mental Health:

    Items From the Shedler–Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP–200; Shedler& Westen, 2007)

    • Is able to use his/her talents, abilities, and energy effectively and productively.
    • Enjoys challenges; takes pleasure in accomplishing things.
    • Is capable of sustaining a meaningful love relationship characterized by genuine intimacy and caring.
    • Finds meaning in belonging and contributing to a larger community (e.g., organization, church, neighborhood)
    • Is able to find meaning and fulfillment in guiding,
      mentoring, or nurturing others.
    • Is empathic; is sensitive and responsive to other people’s needs and feelings.
    • Is able to assert him/herself effectively and appropriately when necessary.
    • Appreciates and responds to humor.
    • Is capable of hearing information that is emotionally threatening (i.e., that challenges cherished beliefs, perceptions, and self-perceptions) and can use and benefit from it.
    • Appears to have come to terms with painful experiences from the past; has found meaning in and grown from such experiences.
    • Is articulate; can express self well in words.
    • Has an active and satisfying sex life.
    • Appears comfortable and at ease in social situations.
    • Generally finds contentment and happiness in life’s activities.
    • Tends to express affect appropriate in quality and intensity to the situation at hand.
    • Has the capacity to recognize alternative viewpoints, even in matters that stir up strong feelings.
    • Has moral and ethical standards and strives to live up to them.
    • Is creative; is able to see things or approach problems in novel ways.
    • Tends to be conscientious and responsible.
    • Tends to be energetic and outgoing.
    • Is psychologically insightful; is able to understand self and others in subtle and sophisticated ways.
    • Is able to find meaning and satisfaction in the pursuit of long-term goals and ambitions.
    • Is able to form close and lasting friendships characterized by mutual support and sharing of experiences

    Additional Resources

    If you’d like to learn more about my approach, this article, by Jonathan Shedler, PhD, gives a detailed analysis of the impacts of psychodynamic therapy. Click the title to download a .pdf of the article.

    The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
    Jonathan Shedler, PhD (PDF download)

    Recommended Reading

    Harvard-trained Psychologist: If You Use Any of These 9 Phrases Every Day, ‘You’re More Emotionally Secure than Most’
    Dr. Cortney Warren, CNBC

    8 Dimensions of Wellness Quiz and Worksheet
    J Flowers Health

    Four Ways We Avoid Our Feelings—and What to Do Instead
    Sandra Parker, Greater Good Magazine