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The SOC model includes three primary foci:
* Comprehensibility – the extent to which both internal, or psychological, stimuli and external, or environmental, stimuli make sense.
* Manageability – the extent to which available resources are adequate.
* Meaningfulness – the extent to which challenging events are seen as worthy of being engaged emotionally (Levin).

In integrative health coaching, the coach has the opportunity to increase coherence and predictability by facilitating life experiences that support consistency and participation in shaping outcome. Without significant control over life’s circumstances, the SOC model postulates that a healthy balance of stress in one can, to a degree, support experiences that are predictable and rewarding. In other words, there can be positive value for some measure of frustration and punishment. When faced with challenges, barring individual or community issues of survival, activation of individual defense mechanisms foster an increase in overall resilience and an increase in resistance to illness.

Rather than focusing on reducing stressors or stress, the salutogenic model accepts stressful stimuli as ongoing elements in life experiences. Stressors repeatedly put tension on the organism. These tensions can mobilize both general and specific resources in order to resolve the tension and overcome the stressor, thus generating an increased SOC. Individuals with a strong SOC integrate stressors as a means for stimulating health and healing.

In Antovosky’s model, the three functions of these coping responses are 1) to modify situations, 2) to engage meaningfully in the situations, or 3) to control the stress. By resolving these tensions, we learn consistency and increase our participation in successful outcomes, strengthening our SOC. As an approach differentiated from conventional biomedicine, coaching utilizes these coping responses to support positive change; increase healing resources; decrease physical, emotional and mental illness or limitation; and support increased wellness.

One of the key techniques for engaging salutogenesis is through the healing narrative. As discussed in previous blogs, the healing narrative offers an individual the opportunity to meaningfully engage in the salutogenic process. Using storytelling, we can distinguish and comprehend subtler dimensions of our healing resources. In this way, our story facilitates narrative healing. One of the most direct ways to truly understand how story provides meaning is to directly work with the salutogenic properties of healing.

This article was originally published on the ICF Blog.

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