The Conditions for Human Health and Well Being Reside within the Psychosocial Contexts of Human Life

Anthony Marsella

As our concern for human health and well being grows with each day, we find ourselves too often looking to solutions within limitations of the health care system. We speak of the need for more medical services, lower medical costs, more health professionals, better medical technologies, improvements in medical records, greater access to health care, and more research.

While all of these factors are important, they distract us from recognizing and addressing the very psychosocial causes that ultimately limit human health and well being – causes that could be addressed directly and immediately and that would significantly reduce dysfunction, disorder, and disease, and promote human health and well being.

We are infatuated with the physical. We pursue reductionism endlessly, going from limb, to organ, to cell, to gene, to atom and molecular space. All of these pursuits are warranted for they have helped illuminate the substrates and structures of illness. But they cannot in and of themselves address the tolls on human health and well being that are exacted within the psychosocial contexts of our lives. For example, can anyone deny that a reduction in poverty would limit scores of illnesses associated with the deprivations of poverty?

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When U.S. Humanitarian Aid Becomes “Irregular Warfare”

Anne Anderson

basraPsychologists for Social Responsibility has traditionally supported U.S. government policies that focus on the use of diplomacy, development aid, and psychosocially appropriate humanitarian assistance to support communities striving to sustain themselves. However, these days, it is difficult for the U.S. to pursue those kinds of policies even when we want to. The U.S. government over the years has dismantled its capacity to deliver such services through any civilian agency and is left, by default or by design, with using military forces to provide them.

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