Origins of the 6 Dimensional Model
of Wellness created in 1976 by Bill Hettler
Many people have asked me to describe the basis or sources that assisted me in creating the 6 dimensional model of wellness.
would be tempting to claim "natural creative genius" as the origin of
the now familiar hexagonal model,
nothing could be further from the truth. Humans have always focused their time
and writings on the six dimensions. My undergraduate explorations, through
a minor in religion and philosophy at
If you read
the original works of Luther Halsey Gulich, MD, and
Brian Furnass, MD, you will find descriptions of the
dimensions of wellness and the idea of a merged "holistic" evolution
of the mature human. More on Gulich
below. Certainly the works of Maslow, Selye,
Allen, Robbins, Travis, Ardell, and Furnass added to
my clarity in understanding the synthesis of the 6 dimensions. I
wanted to emphasize the multidimensional quality of human growth and
development, without overwhelming people with too many divisions. Gulich made this very simple when he created the now famous
YMCA Triangle - BODY, MIND and
James Albertson, who was a president of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point before my arrival had also written about the important dimensions of being human. He also had the belief that a university should not only teach the academic offerings, but should also help people learn how to live their lives successfully. I have attached a convocation address written by Dr. Albertson in 1964.
The model of wellness I had envisioned was one designed for humans, focused on behavioral choices people could make to enhance their useful longevity. Even though there are hundreds of programs thoughout the world who have copied my original hexagonal model, many more have added their own modifications or subtracted elements from the hexagonal model.
You can find the following images by doing a Google "Image" search on bill hettler:
Some people (me included) have actually argued and debated as to which model is the best. My long time friend and colleague Robert F. Allen appropriately chastised such foolishness by reminding us all that the "TRULY BEST MODEL" is the "ONE YOU ACTUALLY USE"
One of the common modifications to my original hexagonal model is a seven dimensional model in which the environmental focus, which was always part of the social dimension, has been added to the original six as a separate dimension.
Years ago, I proposed that the environment is so important to the survival of all species that we should really create a six dimensional model focused on the environmental wellness of the planet.
I suggest that the six dimensions of personal wellness are of lesser importance than the wellness of the world. Check out this page: http://hettler.com/MEEC2007/index.htm
At this time in the evolution of this planet there is substantial evidence that humans may be destroying the very environment that is necessary for human survival. The following graphic was created to show the six dimensions of environmental wellness, the wellness of the world.
GULICH MATERIAL, below this point.
Luther Halsey Gulick , 1865-1918, American pioneer in physical education, b.
Bibliography: See biography by E. J. Dorgan (1934, repr. 1973).