The word “holistic” simply means addressing the whole person. This includes a person’s physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and financial health. Addressing the whole person in mind-body-spirit can bring out the healthiest, happiest version of ourselves.
At Holistic Wellness Practice, therapists help clients by getting to know them as a whole, complete person. A client’s problem might not be obvious and insight can be found through consideration of the whole person, utilizing all of these components.
The Six Components
Our physical health is what most people think about when they think of health. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, hormones, physical education, and addiction are all fundamental to our wellness. In addition, external and environmental factors can impact our overall health. Therapists incorporate all these aspects of physical health when helping clients and can even serve as an accountability partner for optimal physical health.
Emotional health refers to our daily moods and emotions. Emotional health is a huge part of counseling, bringing more awareness to our emotions and how they affect our decisions, relationships, and lives. Counselors can also impact clients’ emotional health by teaching mindfulness and providing stress reduction strategies.
Mental health focuses on our cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions and has a big influence on the other aspects of wellness. Simply put, it’s about understanding how and why our brain works the way that it does. There are genetic and environmental components of mental health to look at. Diving into how someone learns, problem solves, and behaves are critical aspects of mental health to look at in counseling.
Research has shown that the happiest people on earth have deep connections with their friends, family, and community. One way a holistic therapist acknowledges and encourages healthy connections is by educating on what healthy boundaries are, how to incorporate these into their current relationships, and offering effective ways to communicate (and not communicate) with others.
A person’s spiritual health focuses on how they are connecting with their inner soul and the greater world around them. Spiritual health often utilizes a person’s faith and religion, but also incorporates nature, meditation, and service. Experiencing peace within oneself can be crucial to overall wellness and is important to address in holistic counseling.
A huge stressor in our society involves money. It would be a disservice to clients not to include financial health when assessing a client’s goals and needs. Finances can influence a person’s self-esteem, relationships, and physical well-being. Counselors can offer budgeting strategies, serve as an accountability partner, and explore emotional reasons behind spending and saving habits.
Holistic Therapeutic Practices
Here are five important therapeutic practices common in holistic therapy. Obviously, there are many more but here are some worth highlighting.
1. Take a step back.
When a counselor begins working with a client, it’s important to understand the whole situation. Discovering the root cause of conflict may not be the most obvious reason. It’s important to remain open, look at the entire person through all six components to consider solutions that haven’t been tried or thought about yet.
2. Make no assumptions.
Assumptions aren’t always correct. Not only that, but making wrong assumptions can damage the therapeutic process. They often bring about defensiveness, walls, conflict, and discouragement, which are obviously barriers to growth. Not making assumptions, remaining neutrality, and using I statements are critical components of therapy.
3. Use a diversity of modalities from a broad range of practices.
It’s important that holistic counselors use a wide variety of tools and approaches to help someone. We are all unique individuals with unique problems and personalities. Focusing on the whole person helps counselors to tailor treatment for that specific person.
4. Engage in active listening.
The client is the ultimate expert on their lives. Sometimes a therapist’s primary role is to be a good listener, picking up on subtle signs that the client may not see yet, asking important questions, and looking at things from a different perspective. It’s amazing what can be found when you’re really listening.
5. Coordinate with the client’s team.
With the client’s consent, a counselor can coordinate care between family members, doctors, and other healthcare workers. For example, if a depressed client comes in for counseling, the therapist can encourage seeking out medication with their doctor and be a part of that process. At Holistic Wellness Practice, individual, couples, and family counseling are all provided.