Human Flourishing

5 point model of flourishing created by Louise Younie 

(Artist @Camilleaubrymakes)


Our inner life has seasons, is affected by the soil we grow on, the weather that is coming our way


Wellbeing of 'what is' rather than do better (run, eat, sleep)... This is when we build trust and can share challenges e.g. our sense of uncertainty or imposter syndrome...we haven't changed the external situation but we are re-humanised through sharing and realising we are not alone.

Shared meaning making

Drawing on Aristotle's eudaimonia, (purpose, growth, meaning), creating rich meaning making spaces whether in the learning space (student-doctor, or student-patient) or the clinical space (doctor-patient). 


Compassion for the other and self-compassion are necessarily linked. Kindness is needed for our own humanity and inevitable flaws as well as those of others. 

Shadow work

Drawing on Jungian thinking, Shadow work is choosing to engage with and be present to ourselves and our situations that may be uncomfortable or difficult. 


I vividly recall being astounded at the support and warmth with which my peers approached my contribution, and this gave me a feeling of solidarity and acceptance that I had not yet felt during my experience of online medical school, and which boosted my confidence to contribute further in later discussion… (Creative arts SSC, medical student, 2021)

Resilience has been held up as the new panacea to address our ‘wellness crisis’ in the field of medicine and is used to describe the ability to remain positive and ‘bounce back’. It draws on the Latin root ‘resilire’ to ‘spring back’ or ‘rebound’ and points to the toughness of an individual. Resilience training may have a role but has been found wanting in terms of addressing the burnout crisis in the health professions.

Flourishing is a concept rarely articulated within medical education but which is timely, especially as we face up to COVID-19. Philosophically flourishing has been approximated with Aristotle’s term ‘eudaimonia’ which is wellbeing through meaning making, finding purpose, mastery and personal growth. Metaphorically flourishing connects us with images of trees, flowers, gardens and the space to explore loss, growth, interconnectedness and context.

Advance HE funding bid on creative enquiry and human flourishing

For more on Flourishing: Podcasts

younie jhh When I say flourishing in medical education.pdf

When I say flourishing in medical education

JHH 18.1 spring 2021 flourishing through creative enquiry.pdf

Flourishing through creative enquiry: humanising the medical experience

JHH LY chapter summer 2021 flourishing copy.pdf

Humanising medicine through co-creative self-care

humanising med ed younie JHH Autum 2021.pdf

Humanising medical education

In 2020 we ran our first virtual ‘Flourishing in Medicine’ symposium in recognition of the burnout epidemic and mental health crisis reported amongst doctors and students in reports by the BMA, GMC and HEE in 2019 and in recognition of the battering health professionals were receiving through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The interactive symposium saw over 40 attendees crossing hierarchies including medical students, clinicians, professors; crossing disciplines from arts, human geography, education, psychology, medicine, medical education and crossing continents, USA and UK. Through creative enquiry processes we explored the concept of flourishing together, and engaged with creative enquiry processes and submitted texts. We thought together about how to create systems with vulnerable leadership, engagement with intersubjectivity and lived experience as well as witnessing clinician and student joys and challenges in our current climate of perfectionism and heroism.

Flourishing symposium Camille Aubry, Graphic artist

Important papers

Word cloud - in one word what does flourishing mean to you?

(Flourishing symposium, 2020)

Word cloud - in one word what does flourishing mean to you?

(Creative arts SSC - medical students, 2021)