Functional medicine works to get to the root causes or underlying issues that bring about specific health and wellness issues as opposed to treating symptoms only. Hippocrates stated that "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has."
The words' health and wellness' tell a little bit more about the broad, and far reaching, scope of functional medicine. Where it may seem that the curing of disease, or diet, nutrition, exercise and fitness would be at its core, and it is, I'd like to speak to some of its extended benefits. It incorporates a whole-life approach to strengthening an individual in all areas of their lives. It encourages recognizing and celebrating strengths already present within every individual, regardless of their condition or circumstance.
For this reason, an aspect of what makes functional medicine so functional is the weaving of positive psychology into everything they do. Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, says that "psychology [and medicine] should be as concerned with strength as with weakness. As interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst. As concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling and with nurturing high talent as with healing pathology [illness]." It should aide in re-crafting work, love and play and helping to identify signature strengths within each individual.
This is where it offers the ability to create new outcomes in our lives and to rewrite aspects of our lives in powerful and transformative ways.
Some describe it as a full-spectrum wellness. Dr. John Travis said: "The currency of wellness is connection." If we think of our lives as a wheel, how balanced and well rounded it is will significantly affect its ability to roll as it should. Functional medicine wants to improve our ability to roll through our journey in life with more satisfaction, awe, engagement, empowerment and improved health and fitness.
Some in functional medicine, like Dr. Deanna Minich, see no separation between the body, mind and spirit, for one reason, because what affects the one spills over to the other. We have what is called a gut-brain connection as well as a heart-brain connection. The gut-brain shows that the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion, anger, anxiety, sadness and even elation. As a result, any and all, of these emotions can trigger symptoms or benefits in the gut, proving the intimate connection between our brain and our GI system. Where the heart is concerned, HeartMath Science has shown that the heart sends more information to the brain than the other way around. A nervous system within the heart referred to as the heart-brain, enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain's cerebral cortex.
So how exactly does ClarityPoint fit into functional medicine thinking?
My best answer, for now, is that both connect in the desire to get to the root cause of what disrupts our natural ability to function at our best in the world. It promotes a way of thinking using positive emotional attractors in our lives as opposed to negative emotional attractors. The program, built around the science of axiology, zeros in on two false beliefs that contribute to two core subconscious fears. Everyone on the planet struggles with at least one, but usually, both of these, as much as daily.
False belief number one states that our human value is changeable and as a result, is in question at all times. There's always an element of danger present as it can be gained or lost at any moment. It lends to the perception that our value is both earn-able and losable in some way. We generally judge this in ourselves and others through appearance, performance, property or by the opinions of others. When we are on the top, we feel great, but what happens when we aren't? It also shows that we believe some people are somehow intrinsically better or worse than other people. This fundamental and utterly false belief is the reason we have, core fear number one.
The fear of failure. The fear that we might not be good enough as we are.
False belief number two leads us to subconsciously accept the thought that because we, and others, have the freedom to make choices that affect other people, life is, therefore, scary, dangerous and unpredictable. It can also feel too random and chaotic. We feel that the actions of others, or natural disasters, can ruin our lives. As a result, we learn to fear life and all the ways we can suffer or be mistreated. We don't feel very safe in the world, and that can show up in a variety of challenges in varying degrees. There may be high stress and anxiety, always worrying about everything that can go wrong within a single moment. This belief is the reason we can have core fear number two.
The fear of loss. The fear that our lives may not be good enough or that may be taken from us.
Both fears are based first on thoughts and beliefs. They are simply ideas that came to us as children, but they are not truth. Perspectives and perceptions can change by choosing to replace them with other far more truthful and life-altering beliefs. For me, ClarityPoint lends wonderfully into narrative practices which teaches us that our brains are designed to create stories. With morsels of information, by way of thoughts, our minds connect them and produce them into stories. Antonio Demasio says: “Perhaps the most important revelation is precisely this, that the left cerebral hemisphere of humans is prone to fabricating verbal narratives that do not necessarily accord with the truth.”
Think of a man who's alarm doesn't go off, again, and he gets to work late, yet again. He comes to the conclusion, with the aid of his boss, that he's appearing incompetent. If he zeros in only on his getting to work late that may be a logical conclusion but is there more to the story? Taking our lives and our stories from the dominant versions to a more accurate version is essential in life.
Jacqueline Kelm defines inner clarity as: "knowing oneself through congruence or coherence in thinking, believing, feeling and acting. Our self-concept is grounded in certain essential core beliefs and values." We are all driven by a deep sense of meaning and purpose that speaks to what we most value in life. As health and wellness coaches, we know that when change is necessary, which it often is, the "momentum for change requires large amounts of positive affect." Cooperrider and Whitney.
This speaks to the powerful principle that what's wrong in our lives is always more efficiently and effectively addressed with a helping of what's right in it as well. It's all about digging deeper. Going beyond what we see to get to the cause of the challenge. Whether it is related to chronic illness, depression, anxiety, addiction or anything that poses any interruption in our balance or connection with ourselves, others, and the world around us.