Healing Wheel

wheelSynopsis of Healing Wheel

Throughout my journey I have learned that healing encompasses many dimensions and points of intersection. Systems theory is one theoretical approach in my profession--social work-- as it provides a holistic view of a person in his/her environment. I, like all of you, am comprised of many individual parts that make up my own personal system. I interact with these systems on a daily basis and I influence and am influenced by each of them--everything is connected. There is power in knowing that it is possible to strengthen any aspect of the system and have a positive effect on the whole system.

The Healing Wheel includes 3 categories that I believe are at the core of healing-Physical, Emotional, and Passion. These categories are broad and encompass ANYTHING that impacts your healing process--positively or negatively. The point of this Healing Wheel is to demonstrate how healing is not just one part--it is many! Knowing which parts comprise your own Healing Wheel while exploring new parts to expand your Healing Wheel, is an important step towards health.


physicalWe are most accustomed, as a society and through traditional medical models, to focus on the Physical category. This includes our symptoms, experience of pain or discomfort, organs and body parts, and the types of information you might discuss with your physician or healer. This is similar to the outer layer of the onion--it is what most of us can see, touch, or easily describe. For many of us, we are most comfortable talking about and exploring this category--there is a tangible quality to it (less confusing or abstract). Television programs, magazines, and social media are rich in physical content--the "how to" lists most of us have scanned from time-to-time

The Physical category includes:

  • What is autoimmune disease?
  • Physical symptoms that accompany autoimmune disease
  • Perspectives on the cause of autoimmune disease and illness in general
  • Approaches that help reduce physical symptoms
  • Lifestyle (diet, stress, exercise)
  • The impact of trauma and injury on health
  • Education and knowledge-understanding and knowing how to apply information to your own body is critical to healing
  • Environmental influences: poverty, economic background (rural versus metropolitan)
  • Family history
  • Support systems-peers, family, sense of belonging to a group or community
  • Child Development


emotionalThe Emotional category is much more invisible or "behind the scenes of illness." Unless one is outwardly crying, yelling, or laughing, it is not as obvious. The Emotional category is all about our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and sensations. It includes our self-perception, self-esteem, views of the world, and a sense of who we are (do I fit in? Do I like myself?). Our physical health and emotional health are intricately connected--our emotions can worsen or improve physical symptoms. Emotions can even CAUSE physical symptoms.

The Emotional category includes:

  • What is it like on a day-to-day basis to live with autoimmune disease?
  • How is your experience different or the same as others?
  • How does stress influence your mood?
  • Anxiety, fear, anger, peacefulness and hundreds of other emotions
  • What are your beliefs about illness? What do you believe caused it? What makes it better, or worse?
  • What do you not share or show to others about illness? Is there shame, guilt, disgust?
  • How does illness serve your life in a positive way? What is its purpose?
  • How are mood and emotions influenced by the environment and people in your life?
  • What gives you hope? Joy?
  • Memories and sensations and feelings associated with them? Pleasant and unpleasant?
  • What are some things you don't want to think about or choose to forget?
  • Do you feel supported with your illness? What makes you feel supported?
  • Treatment options focused on addressing the impact of emotions/trauma on health-this includes traditional psychotherapy and alternative approaches


passionThis category is the deepest layer of what makes you who you are. It includes all of the things that give you joy, hope, purpose, and zest. It includes aspects of life that might present barriers to healing such as addictions, unhealthy relationships, toxic environmental influences, and limiting beliefs. Spirituality, religion, cultural values and tradition fall into this category.

The Passion category includes:

  • Hobbies and extracurricular activities
  • Pets
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Art
  • Creative inspirations
  • Things you want to do more of even if they aren't best for your healing
  • Things that comfort you
  • Ways to optimize inner peace (meditation, yoga, movement)
  • Volunteer activities
  • Time spent with those you cherish
  • Learning and growing
  • The quest for self-purpose
  • Spirituality and religion
  • Hopes, wishes, dreams...

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