Purposeful Health

In order to be healthy, humans need to be purposeful.

Purposeful Health is an integral part of the Purposefulness Model.

Find out more below and enrol onto our free course:  The Positive Ways Approach to Mental Health

What is the Purposefulness Model?

Broadly speaking, the Purposefulness Model suggests that, in order to be healthy, humans need to be Purposeful. Now, this is not extraordinarily new, as there have been a lot written over the past century by psychologists, and for millennia before that, by the great philosophers. We have simply re-packaged the concept in a slightly different way. We suggest that purposefulness must pervade our lives in every sense. Not just in the New Age 'I must find myself' way, but by doing everything purposefully. That is, with conscious thought, and from a position of understanding our needs and finding healthy ways of getting them met.

How does the Purposefulness Model differ from what people might already be used to?

Firstly, and most obviously, it moves us from being passive consumers, towards active participants in our lives. We take personal responsibility for our actions and their consequences, and we live and act in alignment with our values and beliefs.

The table below, shows a comparison between the Purposefulness Model to health, compared with the two models that have preceded it, thought are still very much in use:




Medical/Treatment/Illness Model

Recovery Model

Purposefulness Model


Professionals take most of the responsibility

People are responsible for their wellness and recovery

All support services are intended to meet the social purpose of the individual, which they mutually negotiate and navigate

People with life challenges are not expected to recover

People can and do recover

Everyone can be supported to find purposeful meaning in their lives (ie recovery is a construct)

Medication is key and/or primary component of treatment

Medication is only one of many components of an individual’s recovery program

People may purposefully choose medication as one of their purposeful services, if they wish, once they have researched and are fully informed.

Compliance is a virtue

Self-determination and choice are signs of wellness and recovery

People retain individual responsibility and yet co-operate intelligently to make informed choices

People with life challenges don’t know what’s good for them

Everyone is assumed to know what works best for them

People are educated & supported to hypothesise and discover what works for them

Stabilisation is the goal

Wellness and recovery is the goal

Purposeful Health enables adept living

Diagnosis is an important tool in understanding each person

Each person is an individual, and current challenges are more important than diagnosis

People are socially constructed, but respond best as self-determining human beings, who are healthier when they act purposefully. Diagnoses are metaphors that help the person communicate.

Clinical staff may consider themselves as different than people with life challenges.

Staff members also experience wellness and recovery

Staff are people with life challenges who build relationships based on purposefulness and mutuality

Caregivers make most of the decisions

People with life challenges direct their own services

People are empowered and supported to negotiate their own services to lead a purposeful life

In the medical model, we are passive recipients of healthcare. Doctors hold all the power, tell us what is wrong with us, give us a label for it, and prescribe drugs that they have chosen for us, that we are told should ‘cure’ ‘it’.

In the recovery model, we know ourselves best. We crave independence from the system. It is understood that people can recover, & the goal is to achieve wellness or recovery. The irony is that people, whether they are aware of it or not, are still heavily invested in the medical diagnosis & system, often feeling themselves to be engaged in a constant battle or in opposition to ‘the system’.

The purposefulness Model takes this all a stage further. We value healthy interdependence. That is, whilst we will take responsibility and undertake our own research into what best meets our needs, we will ask for support & advice, if and when we need it. 

In short, we are not at all invested in a medical diagnosis, we always view ourselves as enabling health.

We choose to educate ourselves about what we feel will work best for us, and run it past our supporters and advisers.

With regaqrd to medicaiton, we will ensure we have all of the information needed to make a fully informed choice. We may choose to use it, though our research will enable us to mitigate for any potential adverse consequences of drug use.

We might also research and choose not to use allopathic (Western) medication, amd instead choose a non-medical approach. We may, indeed, choose to combine the two.

With regards to a diagnosis, we will understand that, with regard to the psychiatric field of health, there is no valid and reliable evidence that supports the labels currently in use. In short, there is no chemical, biological, or genetic cause of mental ill health.

However, we might use the label we have been given, to communicate, with the understanding that it is a metaphor and not a distinct entity.

We may decide to dispense with it all together, as it no longer fits our narrative, and simply describe how we experience the world.

The point is that, within an Purposefulness Model, we are not identified with a status of sickness or illness or lack of health.

We are focused towards health, and disruptions in that are a signal for us to look at where our life might be out of balance, or stressful.

It might be a signal for addressing trauma, or our social or physical needs

Well, as already mentioned, we become agents in our lives, and are able to exercise our volition, which is an essential need (see https://thedentmodel.com/  for more information about the DENT© model that underpins the Purposefulness Model.

We also, are focused towards health. This is not that same as ignoring poor health, it means that we are solutions focused and confident in our ability to manage and imrpove our health where and when necessary. It also incorporates the need to take responsibility for prevention of health challenges.

When we do this, we are less likely to get sick. It is almost like living in a placebo effect bubble, Since, the placebo effect is merely the beliefs we hold about our ability to heal from something. Hence why antidepressant drug trials show they are no more effective that an inert sugar pill when people believe they are taking an active drug.

Inevitably, it will also relieve the burden on our healthcare systems. When we take responsibility for our health, and treat our doctors and healthcare practitioners as partners in our care, we do not hold unreasonable expectations of what they can do to fix us up and make us better. 

We might consider taking a walk in nature to calm our stress, we might consider eating the apple instead of the cake, to reduce our weight and potential of obesity, which leads to a gamut of physical and emotional health challenges. 

In short, we are in command of ourselves and our lives, and when we have our health, we are much more free to make of our lives, what we wish for them to be. 

The philosophy of the purposefulness model expands out across all domains of life. Therefore, it is an incredibly important feature for good quality of life, success (however you describe that for yourself), and positive relationships, to name a few.

What is the Positive Ways Approach to Mental Health?

Why we teach it

We felt it was important for us to clarify our approach to Mental Health and to share some of the recent insights that have not yet filtered into mainstream mental health care, but are extremely important and valuable for us to be aware.

We run accredited Peer Professionals courses, and many of our students wish to go on and share their lived experience in this area with others.

Additionally, in Peer Coaching or Mentoring, it is common to come across people who are struggling with their emotional or mental health and, indeed, we will all experience some form of emotional challenges throughout our lives.

What does it include?

We have 6 modules, that are taught either via live online classroom across a number of sessions, or in person in one day. The modules are as follows:

  • Positive Ways philosophy to Mental Health
  • Energy and Information flow: the basics of Interpersonal Neurobiology
  • Introduction to Stress and Trauma
  • Positive Ways Mental Health definitions
  • Purposefulness Health Model
  • Positive Ways to Purposeful Health

The course is a mandatory requirement for all who wish to continue on to any of the Peer Professionals courses.

It can be taken as a standalone course, to expand your knowledge and awareness of mental health, for yourself, your clients, your friends and family, or your community.

It enables you to look at your own health, as you might help others to look at theirs, thus it is experiential in nature. It is taught by peers, who also have training in Psychology, Peer Coaching, Psychotherapy, and other non-health related fields. Thus, it has been well researched and used in practice by those who teach it.

Great! How do I sign up?

There are a few ways you can register your interest for this programme:

  1. You can sign up to the Community College online network, where the courses take place, and where you can read the course overview. When you have signed up, please be sure to post a comment to Emma and Keith letting them know that you want to do the course and send us an email that you have joined the network. (Network is hosted through Mighty Networks) Please press button below.

2. You can sign up to our mailing list so that you can receive regular information about course start dates and other useful information and articles in our online monthly journal ‘The PragMaster’.

Please press button below.

3. You can book a quick chat with Emma, by pressing the button below and booking a slot in her calendar, remembering to complete your contact details and reason for the call.

Please press button below.