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Obstacles to Mental Health

Obstacles are the things that get in the way of good mental health and inhibits people’s wellbeing.

These obstacles fall into six principal categories:

  1. Psychological
  2. Behavioural
  3. Biological
  4. Cognitive
  5. Sociocultural
  6. Physical

In addition to these 6 obstacles are context-specific obstacles that can only be considered at the individual, formulation stage of performance analysis.

We provide a fuller explanation for each category below.

Psychological Obstacles

Psychological obstacles are those problems that inhibit people from doing what they want to do and are generally due to adverse life experiences during earlier, formative years.

We regard all of the current ‘mental health’ problems as fitting into this category, many of which are culturally-specific.

You can see a full list of these mental health problems here.

Behavioural Obstacles

Behavioural obstacles are linked to psychological obstacles because they are often adopted as ways of coping with or mitigating emotional distress.

Unfortunately, many of these behaviours prevent people from solving problems, often making them much worse.

Behavioural obstacles include:

  • Safety behaviours
  • Avoidance strategies
  • Self-soothing (drink and drugs)

You can read more about Behavioural Obstacles here.

Biological Obstacles

Biological obstacles are…

  • Biological modelling of normal emotions (medicalisation)
  • Physical disabilities
  • Physical illness

You can read more about Biological Obstacles here.

Cognitive Obstacles

  • Cognitive tunneling of attentional resources
  • Visual dominance of the senses
  • Hard-wired responses (anxiety etc)

You can read more about Cognitive Obstacles here.

Sociocultural Obstacles

  • Societal inequalities
  • Culture-specific ideology
  • Individualism & collectivism

You can read more about Sociocultural Obstacles here.

Physical Obstacles

Physical obstacles are those things which are subject to the laws of physics as we currently understand them.

People cannot, for example:

  • Be in two places at the same time
  • Go backwards or forwards in time
  • Die and come back to life

You can read more about Physical Obstacles here.

Contact Paul

You can contact Paul on:

07434 776125

or by e-mail at:


Contact Joan

You can contact Joan on:

07434 776504

or by e-mail at:



Hypnotherapist Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP

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Lee Psychology, Maypole House, Yew Tree Court, Wombourne, South Staffordshire, WV5 9JB.

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