A Public Health Approach to Wellness

PHCFocusing International fosters social change by supporting community wellness and psychosocial wellness using a public health approach.

One of the best description of the public health approach comes from The Public Health Agency of Canada, which describes this approach as follows:

“Important values in public health include a commitment to equitysocial justice and sustainable development, recognition of the importance of the health of the community as well as the individual, and respect for diversity, self-determination, empowerment and community participation.”

Focusing International is committed to supporting Community Wellness as a way of helping people empower themselves by blending Focusing practice with local culture. We want people in difficult, unjust, or overwhelming situations to work together to develop and spread resiliency.  Though the practice of Focusing first developed in the relationship of therapist to client, we have seen its power and relevance in many other professions and areas of life. By shifting the focus from the individual to the community, we can infuse local wisdom and practices with Focusing-oriented support.

In Community Wellness projects, we ask a few simple questions:

  • How do people experience wellness here? 
  • What language and symbols provide comfort and meaning to people in distress?
  • What qualities do people feel help them to be resilient? Who here has those qualities?

We define resilience as the capacity to master problems and difficulties, even disasters, in a way that supports mental wellness, and maintains social and emotional connections. As Focusers, we know that each of us has an inner knowing that can guide us — and Focusing International knows that communities hold the keys (tools) that members need in order to be resilient. By partnering with community members, shaping education and training to meld with local meaning and truth, we bring forward the healing power of the community itself. We believe that the community’s inherent expertise — rather than any professional insights or fixes we might impose — leads to empowerment and true purpose in life.

When we say that our work is collaborative, we mean: We want to be a part of a team, be it working with Focusers to design new community wellness projects, or supporting local people to bring their fellow community members to the power of bodily intelligence in a simple and direct a way as they incorporate local language and customs. 

We want to serve as a liaison with funders, such as Foundations and individual donors, who want to support this work throughout the world.  We want to help you design fundable projects, and succeed in facilitating community wellness.

In past and current projects, we have seen exciting results of Community Wellness in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, and in many other places.  Our natural allies are aid workers (both local and international), public health workers, social workers…anyone committed to working with communities to help them find and sustain resources leading to wellness in villages, neighborhoods, groups, families, and individuals.

This initiative's Team

Anna Willman
Annika Frohböse
Fida Muhammad
Georgia Kaltsidou
Haqmal Daudzai
Hunter Keller
Jerry Conway
Nasir Khan
Nazia Jamshed Khan
Nina Joy Lawrence
Ocen Daniel Osako
Pat Omidian
Wajid Syed

Reaching Resilience: A Training Manual for Community Wellness