Also known as CAM (complementary and alternative medicine), holistic therapy takes on an integrative approach. This form of therapy is based on psychosynthesis and attempts at treating the whole person as opposed to the symptoms. That is, considering and treating the physical, mental and spiritual states of an individual’s wellbeing.
This holistic approach avoids separating a health issue into many components. Instead, it works to help the individuals struggling with a mental issue better understand themselves and treat the issue’s root cause. And in turn, it helps bring the body’s original natural and energy balance to normalcy.
The goal? To restore one’s health and improve one’s life.
What Does Holistic Therapy Helps Treat?
Holistic therapy is helpful in four main areas:
- Treating mental health issues including anxiety and substance abuse
- Those looking to have a better understanding of themselves
- Treating physiological symptoms including digestion problems and chronic stress
- Physical symptoms such as pain and aches
How Does Holistic Therapy Work?
Yes, this form of therapy does shy away from focusing on an individual’s symptoms. But holistic psychotherapists will use those symptoms to bring awareness to the person under treatment. This awareness is then garnered to promote self-acceptance, which should then eliminate any resistance.
With resistance out of the way, the person should abandon their fears and enter a state of relaxation. Besides helping move the process along, the therapist is there to offer as much support as necessary.
Once this is done, the therapist assists the patient see the connections between their emotions, mental health, and physical health. Understanding that these components are interconnected and working together will change how one approaches their health.
That is, neglecting your physical health can have an impact on your emotional or mental health. For instance, exercising can help keep you in shape and improve your mood. This awareness will help one experience a heightened sense of acceptance and self-esteem.
Now, when it comes to treating an individual suffering from substance abuse, how does this look? With the use of carefully considered holistic techniques, therapists use them to achieve three things:
- Identify the symptoms of addiction and make them known to the patient
- Alleviate the addictive behaviors address the issues that led to the addiction in the first place
Once the three have been established and brought to the user’s awareness, they can work towards recovery. That is, improving the person’s wellbeing while treating the addiction itself. With techniques such as mindfulness, the person in addiction recovery will be taught how to deal with triggers.
Does Holistic Therapy Work?
Holistic therapy has been a hotly debated topic and will likely continue to be in the medical community. Even in the scientific community, this therapy and its approach remain controversial. But when it all boils down to it, people want to know if this approach is practical or not.
Well, research does suggest that specific holistic therapy techniques work. However, they are known to work only on several mental, physical, and emotional conditions. For instance, Reiki has been found to help relieve pain and emotional distress in cancer patients.
Ultimately, this approach wouldn’t have stood the test of time if its approach weren’t practical. In cases where the approach is not 100% effective, doctors tend to combine medicine and other treatments.
Notably, the approach borrows from other types of therapy to improve effectiveness. They include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Hypnotherapy, etc
Types of Holistic Therapies
The different types of holistic therapy techniques all fall under three categories. They include:
- Complementary and alternative therapies
- Patient education
- Western Medicine
Below is a more comprehensive look at each category.
Complementary and alternative therapies
- Massage therapy
- Chiropractic care
Patient education focuses on helping the patient change their lifestyle decisions. By promoting self-care, this type of education goes a step further in promoting self-esteem, health, and wellness. The therapy types that fall under this category include:
- Proper diet or nutrition
- Spiritual counseling
- Relationship counseling
- Art therapy
The holistic approach strives to be as non-medical as possible. However, some instances involve holistic therapy working alongside western medicine. The result is each approach should complement the other and improve the patient’s progress.
How Are Holistic Therapy Sessions Structured?
The therapy sessions usually start with the individual touching base with the therapist. During this initial process, you should be ready to open up about your emotional, physical and mental state.
This information allows the therapist to better understand your struggle and what you’re dealing with. It also equips the counselor with the knowledge to help curate and identify suitable holistic techniques for you.
The subsequent follow-up sessions will be primarily evaluating your progress. That is, how the previous therapy sessions have helped or impacted you as the patient. This will then serve as a doorway to start you off on some physical and psychological exercises.
Be prepared for the sessions to take an educational approach as well. Therapists are geared to advising you on a diet change that may help improve your physical and mental state. Art therapy and meditation will help you practice mindfulness. Concerning individuals suffering from substance abuse, this is very important in reducing the chances of a relapse.
In conclusion, before diving into the world of holistic therapy treatment, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor will be able to map out whether such an approach would work for you. If he gives you the green light, you want to work with a certified and experienced holistic therapist.
Always ask to see the credentials of the therapist you’re considering. Also, try and see if you can get your friends and family to recommend one they trust. And if your doctor can recommend one to you, even better.