What is the Scale (HSSF)?

A brief description of Heimler Scale of Social Functioning (HSSF); also known as the HSF scale


Potted History:

Heimler devised this HSF Scale early in the development of his method in the late 1960s. His personal history in the concentration camps of WWII and his process of recovery from that trauma, along with his work in London with unemployed people in the aftermath of the war highlighted some important factors that appeared to affect human health and well-being. He found that encouraging an individual to see themselves as a whole person with their positive experiences set alongside the more negative ones, (Satisfaction vs Frustration), that may be dragging them down, enabled them to gain a new perspective on their lives, make their own choices for their future and regain a sense of control and autonomy. As he worked alongside a GP, he noticed that particular issues recurred and he distilled these into 5 common areas where humans need satisfaction and later, in discussion with colleagues, 5 areas where frustration may be experienced. Later still, a final 5 questions were added that gave the opportunity for an existential overview. These 3 sections then make up the scale as we have it today.



This questionnaire is divided into three sections: Satisfaction, Frustration and Overall view of Life. Within each one, these, there are 5 broad areas each consisting of 5 questions. Within Satisfaction: Work, Finance, Friends, Family, Personal; while Frustration includes Energy, Health, Circumstances, Moods and Escape Routes. The last section has questions that relate to Ambition, Future, Life’s meaning, Self Expression and experienced Struggle.

An easy scoring method gives both a numerical value for these areas and a diagram represents the individual’s experience of Satisfaction and Frustration (Positives and Negatives) that enables them to ‘see’ their feeling experience. This feedback allows people to take control of their lives in a way that facilitates healthy decision making and can act as a reference point during the process of therapy.

Current HSSF Scale

Current HSSF Scale


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