Holistic psychology refers to the therapies that attempt to treat an individual as a whole person, rather than someone who is just physically sick or who has psychological issues. As such, there is an attempt to address the individual’s needs by taking their body, mind, and spirit into account during treatment.
Practitioners of holistic psychology believe viewing a person as a whole being is the essential first step in providing the care they need. By helping them to gain awareness of the connections between their thoughts, emotions, spiritual understandings, and physical experiences, it is hoped the individual will gain a deeper understanding of their whole self. This often leads to higher levels of self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.
People with any number of challenges can benefit from this form of therapy. It is often beneficial for those people dealing with depression, anxiety, somatic ailments, severe traumas (such as sexual assault), and stress.
The therapist will attempt to get individuals to accept themselves ‘in the moment’ – who they are, where they are – through techniques that help them to understand themselves on a deeper level. When they have achieved an acceptance of themselves, individuals will often experience some release from the issues that have been causing them distress.
However, holistic psychology is not only for people suffering from mental health issues, those with physical ailments can also benefit from this approach as a therapist will deal with the emotional and spiritual aspects of a physical illness or disability. Using the holistic approach, the therapist will consider all the ways the person is affected by their illness, beyond their physical pain, and will help them manage their mental and spiritual relationship with it during the treatment process. The therapist will help the individual to overcome the anxiety and depression that is intertwined with physical pain, for example.
Treatment consists of exercises that support the individual on three levels: the body, the emotions, and the mind and soul. Initially, massage and bodywork techniques are used to help the individual focus on areas of tension that exist within their body. In the holistic approach, it is believed that these areas of tension are manifestations of repressed emotions. When bodily tensions are released, work continues to help the person understand the emotions that caused these tensions to exist.
Verbal forms of psychotherapy are used to help the person explore their emotions. Some of these will be deeply repressed but the therapist will seek to coax these out during a number of talking exercises. When this has been achieved, the therapist will move into exercises exploring the mind and soul. Through existential exercises, including meditation and education on philosophy, the person will be connected to their deeper meaning in the world.
The RESET program covers some areas related to holistic psychology. It is a comprehensive and evidence-based online programme that is designed to improve health, mindset and wellbeing. As a collaborative course created by highly qualified psychologists, trainers and instructors, you will improve all aspects of your life within a holistic framework. Browse our website to learn more about what our program has to offer.
In this blog we are going to highlight 4 areas of physical wellbeing that we consider to be particularly important.