Creating Wholeness-
Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Healing

We live in an age where it is acceptable to discuss spirituality in the context of psychological and physical well-being. Scholars, physicians, and psychologists have generally come to the agreement that psychological and spiritual health has an impact on human wellness or wholeness.  Other pages on the Center for Health and Wellness website factor greatly into creating paths towards wholeness:  nutrition, exercise and fitness, meditation and yoga, complementary medicine, and stress management.

Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, conceived a theory based on a hierarchy of needs, with the idea that each need must be met before one can move on to the next level. These needs represent Maslow's concept of wholeness, and by meeting each need, one can become self-actualized (who we are each meant to be).   According to Maslow, wholeness must begin with proper nutrition, stable physical situations and surroundings, and a sense of place and security. After those basic needs are met, the individual can progress to embracing the needs of psychological and spiritual wholeness.

Various scholars and those in the healing profession community have expanded on Maslow's ideas, including how the human need for wholeness may be part of our genetic code. The concept of wholeness may also be evident throughout the world's religions, especially in the more reflective and introspective practices. Roger Walsh, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology at the University of California, has an international reputation for coining the essentials of spirituality. 1 These essentials are the shared core practices across major religious traditions and are intended for psychological and spiritual healing, thus moving forward into wholeness. These categories of practice are:
  1. Transform your motivation: reduce craving and find your soul's desire
  2. Cultivate emotional wisdom: heal your heart and learn to love
  3. Live ethically: feel good by doing good
  4. Concentrate and calm your mind
  5. Awaken your spiritual vision: see clearly and recognize the sacred in all things
  6. Cultivate spiritual intelligence: develop wisdom and understand life
  7. Express spirit in action: embrace generosity and the joy of service2

Creating Wellness—Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Healing (HW 420) is a course in Kaplan University's Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness that explores a range of wholeness topics in great depth and breadth, and always with an eye towards the real-world application in the health and wellness field.

The practices of meditation and yoga, the understanding of stress and stress management, the principles of sound nutrition and physical fitness—all are integral elements on the healing journey towards wholeness.


1 Roger Walsh, Essential Spirituality (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1999).
2 Ibid.
* Merriam Webster Online, (accessed February 26, 2009).

Kaplan Higher Education Corporation is a division of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company.

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