A superpower? An educational initiative? Or something else …

Anthony Kessel (Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK)
Michael Neill (Los Angeles, USA)
Elizabeth Marmur (Los Angeles, USA)
Rifat Malik (King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Publication date: 18 December 2017



The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of an understanding of “how the mind works” that has been gaining considerable traction in the coaching world and, increasingly, in the health education sphere.


A brief review of the “Three Principles” understanding of how the mind works (including definitions of the principles of thought, consciousness and mind), and an assessment of the strengths and challenges of this understanding.


Examples are provided of how this approach (labelled an educational initiative rather than a therapy) is being used professionally and how this understanding of how the mind works can make stress, anxiety and work-related problems appear different; recommendations include the establishment of a professional body, and the need for more research around the effectiveness of the approach.


Despite the need for greater professionalisation and more research evidence, the “Three Principles” understanding has huge potential to transform people’s lives – whether at work or home, for individuals with (or without) common mental health problems, and for those with chronic long-term conditions.



Kessel, A., Neill, M., Marmur, E. and Malik, R. (2017), "A superpower? An educational initiative? Or something else …", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 169-171. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-08-2017-0031

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