The Vertical Me Approach
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
I believe that we each have unique personal Wellbeing Momentum influenced by unique environmental factors (past and present) that positively and negatively affect our overall wellbeing and success.
Everyone is a unique story that continues to unfold and I see my role as one of super-listener; to really hear each client's story in order to identify the factors that may be affecting their ability to achieve wellbeing.
Where my expertise allows, I can assist in supporting clients in adapting their environmental inputs, behaviours and lifestyle including adapting nutritional inputs. However, my experience of working with other practitioners over the years also enables me to identify when other modalities may be helpful in achieving client goals and I see this as an integral and important part of my therapeutic approach.
The Vertical Me Model (shown in the above image as the colourful central loop) has evolved as a direct response to the knowledge I have gained throughout my career to date. It is also heavily influenced by my own personal and professional experiences.
The Vertical Me Model is a therapeutic approach that I hold in mind during my time with clients and it is one that I encourage you to consider as part of your own wellbeing development.
Momentum builds up as we work through the 5 key areas of influence on overall wellbeing and success; Power Sources, Emotional Resilience, Thoughts & Behaviours, Internal Chemistry and Physique. To optimise your wellbeing we work in partnership to identify the unique factors affecting your momentum so as to smooth the cycle where it is currently being interrupted. Any break or bottleneck in the cycle has the potential to affect overall success.
1. Power Sources
Strong self awareness clear, positive values and goals are the impetus for Wellbeing Momentum.
Together with a healthy belief system they help to direct us towards healthy environmental choices that are within our control such as enriching home and work environments, healthy nutrition, appropriate movement, financial security, positive relationships, autonomy and personal privacy.
Our power sources include internal and external influences on our emotional wellbeing and on our physical health, movement and function.
Notice below that the power sources pass through the Physique initially in the momentum path to recognise the influence that our physique has on our ability to act in a self-enriching manner.
The more healthy and powerful the inputs to the model, the greater the momentum.
2. Emotional Resilience
The ability to cope and persevere when challenges arise enhances physical health and wellbeing and adds to wellbeing momentum.
Emotional resilience suggests an ability to really feel our emotions for all that they are; to let them flow, not suppress them. It suggests an ability to manage ourselves when we are experiencing overwhelm so that we can move past the feeling and continue to function optimally.
I include within Emotional Resilience the idea of 'Anti-fragility'; an ability to improve ourselves through the experience of setbacks, not simply withstand harm.
3. Thoughts & Behaviours
Thoughts and Behaviours naturally follow Emotional Resilience in the Vertical Me Model but at times this part of the model will be interchangeable with other stages and addressed in a different order dependent upon the client's personal belief systems.
Our emotions undoubtedly contribute to thoughts and behaviours but thoughts and behaviours may also lead to the arousal or persistence of emotions which may or may not be conducive to wellbeing.
4. Internal Chemistry
A natural consequence of emotions, thoughts and behaviours is their effect on our internal body chemistry.
Emotions and thought patterns create a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that surge throughout our body; these are innate, evolutionary responses over which we have little to no conscious control.
However, by taking charge of our power sources, managing emotions and adapting thoughts and behaviours we can positively affect our internal chemistry and empower the nutritional inputs we choose to greatest effect.
Providing the right nutrients to support healthy internal chemistry will also enhance wellbeing momentum through optimising personal biochemistry and physique during life stage changes or demanding periods in our lives.
5. Healthy Physique
Few would argue that a healthy physique enhances our wellbeing and success. However, a perfectly healthy physique is not a pre-requisite to optimum wellbeing.
Even individuals who have experienced life changing effects on their physicality often demonstrate enhanced wellbeing momentum.
Quite often, the ability to begin moving and creating a healthy physique rests on our ability to handle our emotions and adapt our thoughts, behaviours and lifestyle habits.
On the flip side however, an ability to move and a healthy body also has a positive effect on our emotions, thoughts and behaviours.
It is for these reasons that Healthy Physique is placed at the base of the model; to recognise that the foundations of health are impacted by constant interaction with our physicality.
6. Vertical Me Success
Listening to each client's story with The Vertical Me Model in mind helps both myself and the client understand why we might be considering some of the more intangible aspects of their wellbeing. It is a cycle that can be returned to and used along with the tools I recommend to clients so that they can consistently re-evaluate their wellbeing.
It does not require each client to walk through each step or stage of the cycle to effect a positive outcome. A formal structure or staged approach to therapy is not what the model is aimed at. Moreover it is a way of explaining my thinking, the development of my practice and a way of providing an outline of the strategy I use for considering each individual's story.
I hope that it has provided you with some food for thought on your own wellbeing path.