14 Minutes

The term “holistic” has been used in health practice since Hippocrates, nearly 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates recognized the value of establishing equilibrium among humans, believing that focusing on just one component of a person was insufficient. He saw a person as a composite of many aspects functioning together harmoniously. As the treatment of specific symptoms was simplified to a single component, health care in the twentieth century became more medically focused. A typical treatment method was ‘talk therapy’ to address mental health issues and medication or surgery to treat physical symptoms. Historically, the mind and body were treated as distinct things.

The medical and health care industries did not realize that treating few symptoms served to manage specific concerns and did not always succeed in helping individuals improve their overall quality of life until the 1970s. In 1975, the first national conference on holistic health was held, and it started a trend in medicine and among therapists for alternative types of therapy.

The use of this treatment method is not only meant for the treatment of symptoms. Instead, in this therapy, the symptoms are seen as a method for a person’s consciousness to draw their attention to a higher level of awareness. When it comes to holistic therapy, practitioners focus less on helping people to make changes to their health and more on helping them accept themselves and their current situation as they see it. Therapists help their patients accept what’s going on inside them as part of the therapeutic process. Once this acceptance is accomplished, people may be able to let go of their own resistance, allowing them to relax and release any worries they may have. This therapy emphasizes self-acceptance and relaxation.

Holistic therapy often referred to as body-centered or holistic psychotherapy, is an interdisciplinary style of therapy that integrates both conventional and non-conventional treatments to heal the individual as a whole. Rather than focusing on a limited problem, it considers physical, emotional,  and spiritual factors that determine a person’s well-being and attempts to help people recover and grow on a deeper level.

Therapies to Treat Phobias

Holistic treatment includes components of standard psychotherapy and non-traditional techniques, including meditation, breath therapy, and hypnosis. Holistic psychotherapists work with their patients to help them gain awareness of the links between their physical experiences, emotions, spiritual understandings, and thoughts. They think that seeing each person as a whole being is the first step in delivering care. Therapists can assist patients in seeing that all of these aspects operate in concert to support their day-to-day activities. Greater self-esteem, acceptance, and self-awareness can often result from gaining a better appreciation of the whole self.

The term “holistic counseling” refers to counseling that considers the whole person. Rather than just focusing on the mind, holistic counseling also takes into account the body and the spirit as well as their interrelationships. Over the years, this holistic approach to counseling has helped people discover their inner selves, empower, and grow, as well as heal and develop inner wisdom in their life.

No two holistic therapists are the same, as each holistic counselor brings their own unique approach and therapeutic abilities to the counseling process, as is the case with more traditional approaches to therapy. However, holistic treatment and counseling go deeper and seek to find underlying causes and patterns or beliefs, as opposed to standard counseling therapy, which focuses on psychological symptoms only.

Note that there is a distinction between a licensed counselor who uses holistic techniques and someone who only “counsels” or “coaches” the clients. Professionals who meet the criteria for the former must have completed at least a Master’s Degree in Counseling/Therapy/Social Work from a recognized college or university, as well as all internship and licensure requirements set forth by their respective states. When they are granted licensure, they began using therapy approaches that are holistic by nature. Those that fall into the second category may or may not have attended college and obtained certification or specialized credentials in the disciplines in which they provide assistance.  Some identify themselves as Holistic or Spiritual Counselors, while others would give themselves the title of Life Coach. The ingredients of holistic counseling include:

Physical Aspects: Holistic counselors assess a patient’s presenting symptoms and medical concerns, and evaluates the mechanism of how the physical body is involved and affected in order to facilitate a sense of physical well-being. Counselors are licensed professionals and specialize in a variety of fields, including Reiki-based treatment, yoga training, energy healing, chiropractic treatments, massage therapies, and applied acupuncture. Numerous practitioners assist their patients with food and weight control, vitamin and mineral supplementation, exercise, and the development of proactive health measures.

Spiritual Components: The holistic counselor recognizes the vital role of the human spirit in the total healing of a person – body, mind, and soul. While some are dogmatically committed to one religion or another, an increasing number opt to embrace a spiritual dimension in a much broader sense. However, some holistic counselors prefer to allow the client to assert and superimpose their personal orientation on the spiritual work being done in the therapeutic setting.

Psychological or Mental Components: The holistic counselor is aware of the patient’s mental state and is empathetic to them. Standardized qualifications, knowledge, and experience in the field of counseling allow the practitioners to sort through symptoms and behaviors in order to identify problems and formulate plans of action. The holistic counselor does not abandon traditional methods; rather, they include them into their supplementary observations based on a patient’s physiological and spiritual assessment.

There are numerous processes by which holistic therapies are supposed to function. Psychological and physiological processes are frequently integrated into holistic therapy. In other words, it investigates if a physical result (persistent pain) has a psychological cause (stress at work). It’s possible that a holistic therapist will suggest a physical treatment like exercise to alleviate an emotional problem like anxiety. Energy work, which aims to address abnormalities and blockages in the body’s natural energy flow, is sometimes used in holistic therapies. Holistic therapies like reiki and acupuncture utilize energy work. 

What is EMDR Therapy?

The frequency of Holistic therapy sessions might vary widely. There are a variety of therapy options available, some need to be done weekly and others more or less frequently. Numerous holistic therapies, including massage therapy and breathing exercises, are available as drop-in sessions. A holistic therapist may also suggest a mix of treatments that take place at various times throughout the day. In other words, you might arrange one weekly psychotherapy appointment, two weekly yoga sessions, and one monthly dietary consultation.

Holistic therapy has no definitive endpoint. The patients and their therapist will set treatment goals early on in therapy, just as in any other kind of treatment modality. This counseling should also cover how you may track your development in relation to your personal objectives. Regular treatment is usually desired until certain symptoms are cured, unless you have learned enough to continue using holistic techniques on your own, or until you have resolved the concerns that brought you to therapy.

Given the diversity of holistic therapy, many people continue to practice it for many years or even a lifetime, even when symptoms are no more evident. Holistic treatment like other wellness activities including regular exercise and a healthy diet has no endpoint. In the long run, what matters is that you continue to see the value in what you are doing.

Initial sessions of holistic therapy frequently begin with a formal history taking of physical and emotional symptoms and a discussion on the goals you desire to achieve with Holistic therapy. Sharing personal information in a group setting is optional, but it can help the members to work together, to support one another, and address the needs of everyone. Certain programs of holistic therapy have a greater emphasis on psychological activities (such as meditation or talk therapy), while others place a greater emphasis on physical exercises (such as massage or yoga). Many of them include a combination of the two.

Additionally, holistic therapy sessions are frequently educational in nature. For instance, the therapist treating your muscular soreness may educate you on the physiology involved and suggest that you focus on specific stretches in between sessions.

Holistic therapy employs a wide range of techniques and approaches, making it difficult to assess its effectiveness. In addition to Cognitive Behavior Therapy and brief dynamic psychotherapy, it frequently integrates other empirically approved techniques of alternative medicine. Acupuncture, yoga, and deep breathing are just a few of the many techniques that have proven successful in the past. Integrated, holistic care may have significant advantages over conventional medicine, according to certain studies.

Neurofeedback to Treat Mental Illnesses

There is some evidence to support the idea that holistic treatments are effective in treating physical and mental health issues and cost-effective compared to the conventional allopathic methods of treatment. Research data has shown that mindfulness and meditation are effective in lowering anxiety and stress, and they can be used for a variety of objectives.  It is possible that guided imagery, a technique used in holistic medicine, can aid with sleep, mood, stress, and relaxation.

Deep breathing techniques have been found to reduce stress and increase relaxation, which can have a positive impact on one’s mental and physical health.

Some advantages of a holistic approach to mental wellbeing include the following:

  1. Holistic approaches help the mind in developing into a healing resource. By preparing your mind to reconfigure a given scenario or to respond differently to a provoking event, it can just be as effective as psychiatric medications at easing symptoms.
  2. Each component of a mental condition is addressed in, which includes the following: Psychiatric concerns, medicinal social and spiritual issues.
  3. Stress management through holistic treatments is essential for advancing down the path to wellbeing since stress exacerbates mental health concerns.
  4. Increasing physical activity and eating a balanced diet can be immensely helpful in alleviating anxiety, depression, and mood swings, as well as improving sleep quality.

Holistic therapy is broadly classified into four types of treatments: 

Physical holistic mental health treatments include Cardio exercise, yoga, massage, acupuncture, a healthy diet, and changing your environment.

Mindful holistic mental health treatments include meditation and breathing exercises.

Emotional holistic health treatments include talk therapy and music therapy.

Spiritual mental health treatments include praying.

The techniques used by holistic counselors differ significantly because they come from diverse backgrounds, have studied a variety of therapeutic modalities, and they would even alter their methods based on the client’s needs. Holistic therapists commonly use a variety of methods, including the following:

  1. Psychotherapy: Treatments for various mental health disorders are included under the term “psychotherapy,” which is an umbrella word for many different complementary therapies. As part of a comprehensive approach to counseling, a holistic psychotherapist may use a systematic framework of various techniques. Behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and acceptance therapy are just a few approaches used by holistic psychotherapists to help their clients understand the subconscious and unconscious components of their personalities.
  2. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a meditation activity that enables a person to compassionately observe their thoughts and behavior. Clients who seek holistic counseling may benefit from instruction in mindfulness meditation as part of their treatment plan. Focusing is a structured technique that draws the subject’s attention to a specific body sensation and to understand its meaning. Similar body-awareness techniques under different names are utilized by practitioners to enhance mindfulness.
  3. Hypnosis: With the help of hypnosis, people can delve deeper into their subconscious minds, uncovering long-buried memories and flashbacks.
  1. Art: Therapeutic uses of art include the enhancement of creativity, as well as the exploration of one’s subconscious and unconscious mind. When traumatic events or experiences can’t be expressed verbally, art therapy might help. When emotions are released through colors and visuals, it helps patients in treating the cause and they feel better physically while also reducing their emotional toll.

Whether we are aware of it or not, the interaction between our thoughts, emotions, and physical state is a continual and critical component of our complete well-being. Ancient therapeutic methods have long recognized the interdependence of mind, body, and spirit; during the last several decades, the modern scientific community has followed the methods of holistic therapy, validating the benefits of an integrated approach to health through evidence-based study.

Holistic treatment can be used to address a wide variety of medical and psychological conditions in a variety of individuals. A holistic approach may be effective in the treatment of conditions like Depression, Addiction, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar disorder, issues pertaining to mood management, Somatic illnesses, Stress and Traumas such as physical and sexual, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The concepts of holistic therapy are widely applied in fields of preventive medicine, sometimes known as wellness practices. Holistic treatment is a term that refers to a variety of alternative techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and yoga. Additionally, a wellness-oriented therapist will generally help people in striking a balance between mind, body, and spirit. This frequently entails encouraging people to engage in physical activities, discover their spirituality (for those who display a spiritual tendency), or maintain positive communication with their loved ones.

Various methods of holistic therapy are employed to improve mental health. Acupuncture and massage promote relaxation, pain relief, mood enhancement, and the body’s natural healing capacities. Fitness and nutrition sessions are highly customized, allowing patients to exercise prevention, establish healthy living habits, and address specific concerns with energy, immunity, sleep, and mood. Yoga and meditation both increase awareness of the mind and body and provide practitioners with techniques for more effective stress management.

A holistic therapist gives alternative or complementary treatment to a person who may be dealing with a variety of diseases, both physical or mental. Holistic therapists can work from home, establish their own private office, or rent space in an established practice or health club.

A holistic therapist is someone who has received formal training in the practice of holistic treatment. Holistic therapy is a method of treating a patient as a whole, rather than as a collection of isolated elements of medical and psychological conditions. The holistic therapist treats the individual’s physical, psychological and spiritual elements to achieve mental well-being. The holistic therapist is frequently involved with patients who are simultaneously receiving traditional medical treatment, such as those who are taking pharmaceutical medicines for a medical illness or undergoing therapy for a mental issue.

Acupuncture, Chinese remedies, homeopathy, reflexology, polarity therapy, crystal healing, and spiritual response therapy are just a few of the treatments that fall under the expertise of the holistic therapist. Numerous such treatments date back thousands of years and the most are based on scientific theory. However, several alternative treatments, such as spiritual response therapy, appear to have no scientific basis and have thus been regarded with suspicion by medical authorities.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of holistic therapists are female. Therapists must be empathetic and able to listen to their patients’ issues, which may explain why more women have historically been encouraged to pursue such a vocation. However, there are no compelling reasons why males should not pursue careers as holistic therapists. The holistic therapy is usually at the dead-end of medical management, as most people would visit holistic therapists after being disappointed with the results from their conventional treatments. Cancer patients and other terminally ill individuals who suffer from long-term physical and mental pain should be dealt with with the highest level of sensitivity by the physical therapist. The role of the holistic therapist can be that of a savior for people who have lost all hope and struggling with their psychological and systemic illnesses.

Among the primary responsibilities of holistic therapists are the following:

  1. Listening to the patient’s needs and determining the treatment that would be most beneficial to them
  2. Advising and recommending alternative treatments
  3. Recognize the patient’s present medical status to avoid exposing them to potentially dangerous therapies.
  4. Discussing treatment plans with the client and, if required, modifying them
  5. Individualize treatment by providing a variety of options
  6. Constantly assessing the client’s comfort level with the treatment being delivered
  7. Assessing the session with the customer following the conclusion of the therapy Investing time in advertising and attempting to establish a client base
  8. Reading research on new medicines and staying current on medical advancements


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