As we approach 2019, “Holistic” is kind of on the list of buzzwords. It may even warrant an eye-roll. I get it. That’s okay, go ahead and get it out. As an indivdiual who has personally engaged in multi-faceted avenues of healing, I believe in a holistic approach. But it has taken me years of my own personal experience, studying, learning, and working with others to come to know and understand the power of a holistic approach. I’m just not a one size fits all kinda girl. As a practicing licensed therapist and yoga teacher, I also believe in a client-centered holistic approach. Within this system, I also value, consider, and believe in evidence based research and science. Since this is what I do and wholeheartedly believe in for a living, I thought I would take the time to answer the question of “What is holistic therapy anyway?”, which is something I often to get asked.
As human beings, we each have a unique lens in which we see and interact with the world based off of our experiences, values, and beliefs. You may have often heard the phrase “mind, body, spirit”; I lean towards “mind, body, heart”. Each of these parts works together in regards to our overall well-being. When we are out of alignment, or one of our parts that makes up the whole of who we are and how we function is off, we can feel this in a variety of ways. It doesn’t at all mean we are broken, it just means our circumstances, struggles, or pain may be fogging up our ability to see, feel, or function in a way that feels clear, or helpful to who we are and where we are.
When we look at the definition of the word “holistic” (from dictionary.com), it is described as being characterized by “comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” In short, you are more than your symptoms, diagnoses, physical body, knowledge, etc. You are composed of an intricate web of interrelated parts that make you who you are. Each person who walks into my office is seen as an individual human being, not as a set of symptoms, and certainly not as a diagnosis. Because of this, we spend time exploring the many different areas of your life and experiences — we work together to discover various ways and therapeutic methods to best support you. We may consider questions such as:
What kind of support do you have in your life?
What are your spiritual or religious practices, if any?
What do you currently do that you would consider self-care?
What does your relationship with food look like?
What does a typical day look like for you?
How do you spend your down time?
Relationship with exercise and movement and any routines?
What is your relationship with/to alcohol and other drugs?
Patterns that are no longer helpful to you?
Our work together won’t be rigid and one-sided, so we might pull from a variety of modalities including but not limited to different eastern and western approaches such as: cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, breath work, brainspotting, and more experiential types such as: art therapy, journaling, role playing, movement, etc.
Because we consider different aspects of life and well-being in our work together, we may discover that other methods besides talk therapy, yoga therapy, or brain-body therapeutics are required. If this is ever the case, I use trusted, professional referrals to practitioners who are appropriate to work with you in said areas outside of our time in psychotherapy.
Self-awareness is often painted in a warm, light and fluffy light, but the truth is it can be an uncomfortable process; and not all positive changes feel positive at first. We do the hard work of digging, understanding, observing, staying curious, and experiencing individually in our own ways in order to connect to the inherit wisdom of our bodies, sense of knowing, intuition, and cultivate a deeper awareness of the self. Understanding is simply a prerequisite for change; and often times we are seeking therapy because something isn’t working for us and needs to change. This leads to a more enriching life so we can show up for ourselves and others in confident, authentic ways. So why holistic? Because it involves your entire being. As individuals, I believe we all can benefit from a holistic approach to our understanding of ourselves, our world, and ultimately, our healing.
If you or someone you know may be interested in working together, have any questions, or would like more links to resources, please feel free to contact me via my “contact” page to talk further!