The Biopsychosocial Model Essay

1921 words - 8 pages

“Don’t treat the disease, treat the patient” [9]. The concept of health has seemed to become complex in definition over the centuries as science improves. “Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”-World Health Definition of Health (1948) [9]
In order to understand health, different models or frameworks for thinking have been developed which have been useful. The Biomedical model which evolved since the 19th century from Galen’s (Greek physician 200AD) concept of pathogen, focused on removing the disease/disability and not on prevention or general well-being [9]. The Biopsychosocial model however, doesn’t merely focus on the physical state of the body but recognizes the human being as a complex organism and health as an interaction between the physical/body/biological, mind/psychological and environment/sociological. This model was introduced by George Engel (1977).
Reflection is the process of evaluating ideas/thoughts from experiences and making active decisions. It is a necessary tool in experiential learning.[4] Several models have been developed to facilitate this process but this essay is going to be retrospective and based on John’s model of structured reflection(1992) [3,4]. The general reflective questions will be WHAT? SO WHAT? And THEN WHAT? [4]

To suggest an option for a new theory of healthcare does not necessarily mean to invalidate all previous or existing ones, since their relationship need not to be exclusivist, but may be inclusivist instead.[8] Einstein’s theory for example, progressed beyond Newton’s physics, but the latter still remains relevant till today. Though the Biomedical and Biopsychosocial models each have different approaches, both still have significant roles and function in healthcare.
The Biomedical model which focuses on the control and mastery of diseases has undeniably been beneficial in the study of several diseases but also has its liabilities. It is reductionist because it reduces illness to low-level processes such as chemical imbalances, pathogens, genetic predispositions and disorders. According to this model, individuals are not responsible for illnesses caused by factors beyond their control and treatment should include vaccination, surgery and the like which all aim to remove the cause of the illness. In this model of practice, an individual can either be healthy or ill because there is no continuum. That a psychological disorder can lead to an illness but there is no in-between. The biomedical view thus identifies treatment of various parts with the ultimate goal of a cure. If success in this model is defined as a cure, death is defined as ultimate failure, to be avoided at all cost. Patients whose diseases cannot be “cured” are deemed as “incurable”. [7]
The Biopsychosocial (BPS) model greatly differs because while the biomedical answers the main question “why do people get sick?” the BPS also...

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