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What’s the Hidden Gem of Emotional Healing?

What’s the hidden gem of emotional healing? Well, it’s been buried in a medical and psychiatric assessment tool for decades. Doctors use formulations to make diagnoses and then create effective treatment plans. One of the most common and comprehensive is the Bio-Psycho-Social Formulation.

Unfortunately, formulations can get lost in the sea of medical records. Additionally, not all physicians are trained in discussing formulations with their patients. This is regrettable since I believe this important information can be so empowering.

So, How do Formulations Work?

Strengths and impairments are identified in each area. Treatment will consist of interventions to target the deficit domains. This knowledge can help you and your psychiatrist focus on the key underlying issues and where to begin making important changes.

Let’s break down the bio-psycho-social formulation into its parts to understand it more clearly:

Your Body’s Role

First is bio from biology. This includes biological factors affecting a person’s psychology. This includes genetics, nutrition, medical conditions, and even medications. Most biological treatments are pharmaceutical medications. Others may include nutritional supplements, a healthy nutritional diet, and exercise.

Your Psychology’s Role

Next is psych from psychology. This refers to a person’s psychological makeup. This comprises personality characteristics, experience of trauma, behaviors, thinking patterns, and coping strategies. Talk therapy is a common psychological intervention. Most talk therapists use the same talk therapy I was trained in, which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT for short.

There is a substantial amount of research documenting the powerful benefits of CBT. I believe CBT is underutilized, partly due to a lack of therapists and also due to people who are not yet ready to engage in talk therapy counseling.

Your Social Interactions’ Role

Lastly is social, from social factors. This refers to the role that environment affects an individual. This includes factors such as a person’s culture, education, work, relationships, finances, spirituality, recreation, hope, purpose, and connections within their communities.

This last part, the “social” aspect of bio-psycho-social formulation, is the area we are focusing on is the concept of mental health recovery. Social recovery and rehabilitation interventions have been studied and shown to be effective for even the most severe psychiatric cases. Sadly, very few people utilize these interventions, which is exactly what I aim to change.

Putting the Bio-Psycho-Social Formulation to Work

Studies have repeatedly shown that treatment from each domain (bio, psych, and social) improves symptoms and functioning. What’s more, studies have demonstrated that combining two of the treatment interventions work better than either one alone!

For example, people treated with medication (bio) and talk therapy (psych) get better than those using medication or talk therapy alone. Imagine what the results would be if you utilized interventions from all three! This is why I say that recovery is the future of mental health treatment!

When I have clients add social recovery to their psychiatric medications and talk therapy, Their treatment takes off! They improve faster! Moods improve and sustain. They become more active and engage in activities that were long neglected. They find renewed purpose. They pursue their work or education goals and relationships with their spouses, children and friends improve. So make the commitment to yourself to jump-start your treatment with social recovery!

To your Mental Health,

Paul Rashid MD


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