At Wisdom from Within Counselling, we subscribe to a holistic approach to therapy. However, you may not be aware of what this really means, or how you could personally benefit from this approach. If you are curious about what holistic psychotherapy can do for you, read on, and contact us to schedule an appointment.
What is Holistic Therapy?
Holistic therapy is an integrative approach that is focused on the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. Unlike traditional Western medicine, which focuses on specific symptoms within one area of your body, holistic methods focus on how all aspects of your health are related. Holistic therapy views the patient has a whole person, addressing how certain issues in one aspect of your life can lead to concerns in another. The idea is to help the patient become more aware of themselves in their entirety to help them better accept themselves.
The History of Holistic Therapy
The term “holistic” in terms of health care can be traced back 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates, a physician in Ancient Greece whose influence still remains today, emphasized the importance of viewing the patient as a whole being whose various parts work together in tandem, introducing the concept of holistic medicine.
In the 20th century, the focus of healthcare shifted to medical care for specific symptoms using one intervention. While mental problems were addressed with counseling, problems with the body were addressed with drugs and surgery. Doctors viewed the mind and body as separate and unrelated entities.
Then, in the 1970s, medical and healthcare professionals began to feel that addressing only certain symptoms would only manage certain issues, and that to improve overall quality of life, one needed to focus on the overall person. In 1975, the first national holistic health conference was held, beginning a movement towards alternative medicines. From this movement came holistic therapy, drawing from several forms of therapy, including psychoanalysis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, and breathwork.
Theory of Holistic Therapy
The theory of holistic therapy is that consciousness does not exist in one single part of the body, but is a sum of the mind, body, and spirit. The concentration of a holistic therapy practitioner is to focus on the person as a whole and to collaborate with them to help them understand the connection between their thoughts, emotions, spiritual life, and physical experiences. By teaching people that these different aspects of their life are interconnected, they can learn how to support themselves in their daily lives. A deeper understanding of themselves often leads to greater self-acceptance, awareness, and esteem. The focus of holistic therapy is not on eliminating symptoms, but to use these symptoms to bring a higher awareness. It is less about changing themselves and more about accepting themselves as they are in the present moment. Once the patient accepts themselves as they are, they can relax and release any pent-up anxieties. One of the most important goals of the therapist is to facilitate a patient’s acceptance and relaxation.
Holistic Therapy Exercises
Exercises from the world of holistic therapy are focused on intervening on three levels: the body, the emotions, and the mind and soul. Initially, holistic therapy is often focused on physically relieving tension in the body, often through bodywork and breathwork. It is believed that physical tension in the body is a manifestation of repressed emotion. As the therapist and patient begin to establish trust, the patient learns to release this tension, allowing them to open their minds up to identifying and addressing repressed emotions.
From this level, the focus of the therapy shifts to processing these repressed emotions that have come to the surface. Together, the therapist and individual explore how these emotions have shaped the patient’s life. The aim of talking about these emotions is to empower the patient to take control of these emotions. Many people respond by avoidance, wishing to not take responsibility for the role they play in their emotions, but once the patient breaks through and accepts what they can control, work is continue. The goal is to reintegrate the cast-off emotions back into the whole of the person.
The last level, focused on the mind and soul, is the most difficult. The goal of this level is to connect the individual to the world, understanding existence on a deeper level. This is often focused on education surrounding meditation and philosophy.
What is Treated by Holistic Therapy?
Holistic therapy can be helpful to a diverse range of people who are facing many different types of challenges. Holistic therapy is often used to treat:
- Emotional Regulation
- Psychosomatic symptoms
If you are curious about how holistic therapy could help you, contact Wisdom from Within Counselling. We offer holistic therapy in South Surrey to individuals who wish to be treated as a whole being. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.