Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy, also sometimes referred to as holistic psychotherapy or body-centered psychotherapy, is an integrative type of therapy that incorporates both traditional and non-traditional treatments to help the individual as a whole.

Rather than focusing on a narrow problem, it considers mental, physical, and spiritual factors that influence a person’s well-being and seeks to help people heal and thrive on a deeper level.

What to Expect

During your first session, your therapist will evaluate your current state of functioning and work with you to develop goals for your treatment. Because holistic therapy is flexible, your needs can be evaluated, and your plan adapted as you progress through therapy based on your needs.

Frequently Ask Questions

Holistic psychotherapy is an umbrella term that can encompass several different types of treatments. Professionals who offer this type of treatment may refer to themselves as holistic therapists, but they may also refer to their practice as:

  • Eclectic or integrative therapy: An approach that draws on multiple traditions and techniques in order to best address a person’s needs.

 

  • Mind-body therapy: This refers to groups of techniques that focus on improving body functioning and inducing relaxation to improve health.

 

  • Somatic therapy: A body-centric approach that utilizes strategies such as breathwork, dance, and meditation to heal trauma, stress, and other mental health issues.

 

  • Spiritual therapy: An approach that incorporates belief systems and spiritual faith to explore problems that a person faces in their life.

Holistic therapy utilizes a range of techniques to help individuals understand their symptoms. In addition, such strategies are designed to foster a greater sense of self-awareness to better understand the connections between their body, mind, and relationships and how these elements play a role in mental health. 

Such techniques are often rooted in mindfulness and bodywork practices. These techniques may include techniques commonly used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that are designed to promote relaxation and help individuals better understand the connection between the body, mind, and spirit.  Some of these practices include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Breathwork
  • Guided imagery
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Reiki
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

 

In addition to these elements, therapists incorporate psychotherapy approaches including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, and person-centered therapy.

Holistic therapy may be helpful in the treatment of several different psychological conditions. Some of these include:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional difficulties
  • Family problems
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Work-related problems 

 

Since this type of therapy seeks to heal the whole person, it may be helpful for problems that do not have a single, definable cause or those that affect multiple areas of a person’s life. 

The wellness practices that are frequently utilized in holistic therapy are often used more generally to help deal with tension and stress and to promote overall well-being. 

One benefit of holistic therapy is that it is a whole-body approach that addresses mental, physical, and spiritual health. It often allows individuals to better see the connections between these different aspects of their lives and better understand how this affects their health and wellness.

Many holistic techniques are also strategies that people can practice and perform on their own outside of therapeutic sessions. This can be particularly helpful in daily life when are facing situations that can trigger stress, anxiety, or changes in mood.

By implementing tactics such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation, people can better manage the situations that are contributing to distress.

Holistic approaches are also often centered on prevention in addition to treatment. Rather than waiting until a problem emerges, learning to utilize holistic treatments may be helpful for preventing problems that can harm your emotional, physical, social, or spiritual well-being.

A wide variety of techniques and approaches are utilized in holistic therapy that often incorporate other empirically validated therapies such as CBT and brief dynamic psychotherapy.

Techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, and deep breathing have also been shown to be effective for many purposes.

Things to Consider

As with other types of therapy, it is essential to be willing to work with your therapist to deal with the emotional and mental conflicts you are facing. Holistic approaches require participation and are often very hands-on. 

Holistic therapy should not take the place of traditional medicine but can be used in conjunction with other treatments to help improve the healing process and overall well-being.

In some cases, your therapist may begin with more traditional, psychotherapeutic techniques before moving to other alternative therapies.

It is often helpful to approach treatment with an open mind in order to enjoy the full benefits of the process.