Struggles with mental health have long been stigmatized but every new year brings progress that allows sufferers to get the treatment they deserve. Mental health’s emergence from the shadows has allowed several new therapies to pop up in the country – including holistic therapy. Holistic therapy is new to the western world but has been practiced in one form or another for hundreds of years. Let’s learn how the holistic approach is used today to treat a variety of conditions and what you can expect during treatment.
What is Holistic Therapy?
Holistic therapy sets itself apart from other therapies because it deals with the entire person – mind, body, and spirit. Traditional therapy for a condition like OCD or addiction may only deal with the symptoms of the immediate problem but holistic therapy focuses on both the immediate symptoms, and how the person is doing physically, mentally, and spiritually. By treating the entire individual and not one part, holistic therapy yields better results for a variety of illnesses and conditions.
Who Benefits from Holistic Therapy?
Because it seeks to treat all parts of a person, holistic therapy is useful for several conditions and mental health hiccups. Holistic therapy is currently used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, panic disorders, mood disorders, addiction, and a host of other conditions. Simply ask a holistic therapist if their therapy is right for your symptoms.
Differences in Traditional and Holistic Therapy
As stated earlier, the biggest difference in traditional and holistic therapies is what is being treated. If you go to a traditional therapist for relief for your PTSD the therapist will focus on what leads you to panic, where that panic came from, and what you can do about it. The therapist is treating the condition – but not necessarily the whole person.
If you go to a holistic therapist for your PTSD you will take part in traditional talk therapy and exercises for the symptoms, but the therapist may ask about your spirituality, how the condition is affecting your physical abilities, any other conditions that could be tied into your problems, and much more. You will utilize many more tools and techniques for holistic therapy than traditional.
Holistic Therapy Basics
The Holistic Therapist
The holistic therapist, also known as a holistic psychotherapist, will guide you through your holistic therapy program. Most therapists have at least a master’s in psychology and a secondary certification in holistic psychotherapy. Only deal with holistic therapists who are licensed and have demonstrated a high quality of care. A holistic therapist is both trained in traditional techniques like talk therapy but has received additional education and training on how to build and execute a holistic therapy plan.
Making the Connection
A major goal of holistic therapy is to help increase self-awareness and help the patient see the connection between their mind, body, and spirit. The more aware a person is of their self, the more easily they can control their thoughts, feelings, and actions on the way to a more stable life. Therapists use many techniques to achieve connection which we’ll get into below.
Holistic therapy doesn’t often use modern pharmaceuticals but a mixture of different physical therapies like acupuncture, massage, and stretches. Because all parts of a person are connected you must take care of the body in order to take care of the mind and spirit. What type of physical therapy your therapist uses depends on your preferences and afflictions.
What your therapist recommends for your spirituality largely depends on you. You will be encouraged to find the connections to your own inner spirit, but holistic therapy encourages extracurricular spiritual therapy outside the office. This could include going to church, going to a 12-step meeting, meditating, or hiking if you feel a spiritual connection while outdoors.
Hypnosis / Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis and deeper hypnotherapies are a common tool for holistic therapists. Your therapist may perform the hypnosis themselves or use a professional hypnotherapist. Light to medium hypnotic states are used to help a patient work through difficult situations while deeper hypnotherapies can be used to completely rework your thought processes. Hypnosis allows for deeper penetration into the mind without any negative side effects.
Mindfulness is bringing your attention to the present and is critical for making the connection of yourself to the world around you. Practicing mindfulness is easy on paper with tasks like enjoy the juices of the apple you’re eating, recognize the colors of the world around you, stop to smell the roses – but its benefits are surprising. Bringing your attention to everything around you including yourself helps create a deeper awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and action. You can’t expect to get through holistic therapy without practicing mindfulness.
Meditation / Breathing
Meditation and mindfulness go together, but you can think of meditation as a separate therapy since it involves breathing techniques and physiological practices to slow the mind down. Your holistic therapist will teach you breathing and self-regulation techniques to help control your emotions, negative thoughts, and how to slow things down to make the healthiest decisions.
Holistic therapy uses modern therapies like art therapy or gardening therapy to help you put pent-up emotions or negative feelings in their place. Creation is cathartic to most and can teach you how to get outside of your own head. Hands-on therapies include art therapy, gardening therapy, or anything else that makes you create something from nothing.
Old Becomes New Again
Holistic therapy conjures images of old faith healers and eastern medicine, but its use in the western world is becoming more popular every day. If you need to treat your addiction, panic disorder, depression, or any other mental illness, holistic therapy is the smart way to do it. Get in touch with a licensed and reputable holistic therapy clinic to start your own path to a happy, full, and aware life.