psychologcial approaches to health care

Posted: August 7th, 2013

Psychological approaches to health care






Psychological approaches to health care

Health can be defined as the level of metabolic competence of a human being. It refers to the general state of the mind, body and spirit. Health may also include a combination of the mental, social and physical well being or the “health triangle” (Aldridge 2004). The approaches and perceptions developed by children and adults concerning health matters differ slightly. The stages of psychological development by Erikson, Piaget and Vygotsky, are some of the approaches that seek to clarify and explain child development. Aging has come up as a dominant topic in all the theories with many questions bordering on the puzzle as to whether children can be considered as miniature adults, and why human beings change in the course of their growth.

The dynamic nature of health generally implies that an individual has very little if no control over their health. Dynamism in health refers to the volatility of different factors will affect a person’s health for example attitudes, feelings and thoughts which all affect how the health condition will be (Lindon, 2005). Attitudes and emotions run freely and as such, they can create impediments within the body for example lowering the immunity or heightening the blood pressure. The cultural and social context in which health is practiced and understood presents different meanings for people

The three major models of health attempt to explain how different aspects influence an individual’s health. The biomedical model focuses on the patient’s illness. It argues that health is the absence of illnesses or other pathological foreign bodies. Using biological principles, this model lays down the causes of sickness as either pathogens such as viruses, trauma, biochemical imbalances or degenerative processes. Although it manages to explain the reasons for poor health among human beings, it does not consider other non-biological causes of poor health for example, economic, political and sociological causes.

Child development as discussed by Erik Erikson, Freud and Jean Piaget offered valuable information on how children think and perceive. Piaget focused on the cognitive development between children and adults and claimed that children though differently in that they construct their knowledge based on what they grasp from the world. Other theories that attempt to explain the process of child development include the ecological approach that assumes that children are active beings that use their senses to relate to the environment. Perception forms a relationship between the child and environment and it is up to the child to gain information from it.

Children may not possess the conventional methods of relaying the condition of different parts of their physical and mental selves. Most children need the guidance of their parents or doctors to express their state. This means that one has to adopt certain methods to ensure that the child can communicate. These include, structuring questions to inquire if they have understood the explanations given by the doctor or nurse. The social influences have also been discovered to impact on how the child might respond, for example, the way in which one asks a question, and if the parents are present will matter (Levine & Munsch, 2011).

Certain factors influenced child development with the parents and the community being at the forefront. Parents have the biggest impact in shaping their children’s lives. Peers make up the next category of people who influence child development, although most scientists have argued that peers and friends play a bigger role than parenting. Closely related to influence by friends is education as another determining factor in a child’s life. Home, private sand religious schooling all have different impacts in a child. Once again, the stages of development prescribed by Erik Eriksson proved useful in understanding the process of aging.


Aldridge, D. (2004). Health, the individual and integrated medicine: Revisiting an aesthetic of health care. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Levine, L. E., & Munsch, J. (2011). Child development: An active learning approach. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.

Lindon, J. (2005). Understanding child development: Linking theory and practice. London: Hodder Arnold.

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