Holistic Model

Balance and Harmony Holistic Model®, developed by Susan Kaplan.

By integrating the levels of your body, mind, heart, and soul, you can create greater balance and harmony for yourself and those around you.

Body - actions:
how we move through space, care of our body and how hard we push ourself, how we relate to others, how we set up and care for our physical space.

Mind - thinking:
our history, knowledge, opinions, left brain, inner dialogue communication styles, strategies we use in daily life, how we organize the details of our life.

Heart - emotions:
expression and reciptivity, passions, right brain, connection to self, heart directing our mind, healthy expression of range of emotions, creativity.

Soul - connectedness:
connected to something greater than one self, hope, awe and wonder, religion & spirituality, empathy and compassion, sense of place, sense of connectedness.


Metaphors of Balance and Connection
Think of a circle, ladder or table to understand the importance and inter-connection of each level. Balance, Harmony and Peace become an active process, not just a static goal.

A circle: each level is a point on a circle. If one level is weaker, then the circle is broken. When the circle is connected and complete, the circle is strong. Some like to think of a circle of elders and the importance of representing all experiences and aspects to sustain a strong community.

A ladder: each level is a point or step ascending upwards. In order to move towards completion, each level is important in growth. If one step is missed, one can not move higher. Some like to think of the developmental theories, with body the lowest step, mind and heart middle steps, and soul at the top.

A table: each level is a leg on a table. When the legs are equal and firm, the table is very strong, solid, centered and dependable. When one leg is weakened or is shorter, then the table wobbles. We all wobble. Some like to think of our life journey as a process of imbalance and wobbling and the mindful process of bringing ourselves back to a place of quiet, centeredness and strength.

Some are more fortunate to have resources to help develop and suport a life in balance.  Work for this balance in your own life and in the lives of others.

Levels Within the Individual

Each of us has an active, internal system, which integrates the levels of our body, mind, heart, and soul. Each distinctive level is important to nurture and develop.  When all of these levels are engaged, one can create a sense of wholeness. When an individual has the resources and opportunities to grow each level, a rich and meaningful internal life is created.


Levels Within Our Relationships
There is also a system of levels present in our external relational life - in our relationships with others and the world around us. These inter-dependent interactions extend from our more intimate relationships with spouses, friends, companions, family, and children -- to the groups
in our communal lives (extended family, schools, congregations, neighborhood) -- to the greater relationships within our world (cultural groups, countries, peoples of the world & ecosystems).

We depend on each other to fully develop these levels within ourselves and our relationships. There is a circle of connection - each person is part of the whole, as the whole is part of each person. Systems theory confirms that we are indeed connected to each other in both subtle and obvious ways.


Global perspective

We can act as guardians of the earth and create a healthy planet for all. By repairing our world and helping all people to develop these levels, we can create a peaceful and just world for all.


1998 © Susan Kaplan, M.S.W., M.P.A. Please request permission to use this model.

Please respect my life work and these materials. If you would like to use any of these materials, please have a conversation with me. I would love to hear how you might use this model. I would appreciate respect and credit for my work. Thank you.