Holistic Psychotherapy


What Is Holistic Psychotherapy?

Traditionally, mental health professionals have been taught clinical skills which focus on reducing symptoms and the field continues to develop these skills with training and practice in the ever expanding domains of psychotherapy, diagnostic criteria and psychopharmacology.  But what ancient wisdom and now quantum physics tell us is that what we pay attention to grows stronger, becoming more “real”.

The key to effective and lasting psychological, emotional and spiritual healing lies in the uncovering of our innate intelligence and power.  Empowerment requires recovering and reclaiming the true self.  The body, mind and spirit are constantly seeking the states of harmony and balance.  When continual conflicts, stress, dis-ease, fatigue, self-doubt, depression, anxiety and feelings of victimization occur, it is because we have not listened to our own internal voice.  The truth is that we have within us the capacity to be fully joyful, living in abundance and respectful relationship with ourselves and with others.  Embracing the holistic, natural order is the heart of true empowerment and it is distinctly different from merely working to reduce symptoms and complaints.

Modern medicine is a wonderful and useful body of knowledge.  Let us be cautious, however, when examining our health through this paradigm.  Western medical ideas have traditionally little to do with health and “life-generating” practices.  They focus instead on illness or symptom-reduction.  They seek “cures” from disease, not increased vitality and a stronger immune system.  There is an empowering model, which can complement the body of modern medical knowledge.  In this model, health is not seen as a static or fixed state, but rather as the body’s continuous capacity to cleanse, nurture, and regenerate.  This is the power to heal.  In this model “symptoms” are seen as an invitation to seek out the root source, the flaws in the foundation calling for attention.  This system’s approach of balance and harmony takes into account the interrelationship of all internal and external factors which influence our vitality.

Holistic psychotherapy recognizes the profound interconnection of body-mind, the body’s innate healing capabilities, and the role of self-responsibility in the healing process.  Holistic psychotherapy complements traditional treatment methods and incorporates a wide range of non-intrusive modalities such as imagery, hypnotherapy, meditation, art therapy, dance and movement therapy, music therapy, metaphor and poetry therapy, animal assisted therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), breath therapy, inner child work, journaling, and nutrition. 

Holistic psychotherapy encompasses the following principles:

  1. Individual uniqueness.  Even if two people have the same symptoms, their paths to recovery may be different

  2. Chronic stress and lack of balance as contributors to illness.

  3. Self-responsibility for healing. The client is an active partner in all stages of treatment, rather than a passive recipient of intervention.  By becoming actively involved in self-healing, rather than passively receiving intervention, one shifts from the feelings of hopelessness, which have been shown to increase depression and the risk of death, to a sense of control.

  4. The body’s innate healing capacities.  The body has a natural, biological tendency to move toward health and balance.

  5. The importance of the client-therapist relationship.  Research has demonstrated that the relationship between the client and the therapist may be the single most important factor in the healing process.

  6. A systems approach.  Human lives are influenced by many interrelated factors, including genetic, familial, and socioeconomic background, diet, exercise, social support, risk-taking behaviors, attitudes and spiritual practices. 

  7. The energy field perspective.  Each person has various fields of energy which can be measured by scientific instruments.  These energy fields are continuously affected by changes in physical or psychological health and they can even by influenced by the energy fields of others.

  8. Illness as a message, not an enemy.  Illness is seen as a communication from the body, mind or spirit, a warning signal that something needs attention.