Holistic care refers to the practice of addressing the “whole” person on a spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional level. These same principles are applied to a branch of talk therapy called holistic therapy, which aims to help you develop a deeper awareness, and ultimately, understanding of yourself – on all these holistic levels.
Below, Zencare – a website that easily connects potential clients with their ideal therapists – shares an introduction to holistic therapy. Once you’ve got your tea fix with Blend Bee, read on for what you can expect in holistic therapy sessions, whether this therapy type might benefit you, and how to find a great holistic therapist!
Holistic care: What is it?
If you’ve ever felt a migraine dissipate after a neck massage, then you’ve already experienced the benefits of holistic care!
The fundamental principle of holistic medicine is that our bodies are comprised of interdependent sections – and if one is unbalanced, then the rest of them will be off, too. By addressing the body and mind as one, your holistic practitioner can help get your system back up and running.
Holistic therapy: How it works
Holistic therapy incorporates the above principle of holistic medicine into the framework of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. Here are some common questions about holistic therapy and how it works:
Is my acupuncturist a holistic therapist?
Not necessarily. Not all practitioners of holistic care are therapists – so you could see an herbalist, say, or a reiki practitioner who only focuses on bodywork, and isn’t a psychotherapist.
Holistic therapists, on the other hand, are certified by their state to practice psychotherapy; in therapy sessions, they incorporate elements of holistic healing. If you want psychotherapy to be part of your treatment, look for appropriate credentials, including LCSW for social workers, to PsyD and PhD for psychologists, and LMHC for mental health counselors.
What do sessions with a holistic therapist look like?
Holistic therapy sessions will depend on what elements of holistic care your therapist is trained in, as well as their areas of expertise. Some examples of holistic care that your therapist might incorporate include:
- Meditation and other mindfulness practices. Holistic therapy often includes a variety of meditation techniques and other mindfulness practices. Examples include guided meditation, visualization, journaling, and mindful eating.
- Breathwork. Breathwork is a common component of holistic therapy. It may be the main focus of the therapy, or a supplemental activity.
- Yoga and body-based exercises: It’s not uncommon for holistic therapists to incorporate elements of body-based holistic work into therapy sessions. They may teach you yoga poses or gentle grounding exercises to help you tap into your body’s inner wisdom.
- Acupressure and tapping. Similar to acupuncture — minus the needles — holistic therapists may help you learn about acupressure points and tapping techniques to help you apply pressure to certain meridian points that are thought to correspond to the body’s energetic fields. Because they combine physical and non-physical components, these techniques are often incorporated in holistic therapy.
- Discussion of nutrition: Additionally, your therapist may suggest natural supplements, like those found in herbal tea, to help or aid you along in your therapy journey.
There are also more traditional psychotherapy elements to holistic therapy, like:
- Exercises based on CBT. Some holistic therapists incorporate aspects of CBT, including spotting and correcting cognitive distortions and increasing positive self-talk.
What can holistic therapy help with?
Holistic therapy is understood to help with a wide variety of mental health concerns, including:
That said, you don’t need to have a mental health condition or symptoms to seek support from a holistic therapist. You might benefit from holistic therapy if you are simply interested in learning more about yourself, and curious as to how you can integrate the different aspects of your well-being.
What should I look for in a holistic therapist?
As mentioned above, your therapist should have credentials to practice therapy in your state. They should also be well-versed and trained in the area of therapy that you are specifically seeking. For example, if you’ve experienced (or suspect you’ve experienced) trauma, your therapist should have experience helping clients navigate the aftereffects of similar situations.
It’s also important that you feel comfortable and safe with your therapist. Developing a solid therapeutic alliance is key; you may have to schedule multiple calls before you find the right fit.
If you live in NYC, Rhode Island, Boston, or Chicago you can get started with your search for a holistic therapist on Zencare. When browsing the directory of vetted therapists, you can filter by cost or insurance, watch introductory videos, and book free initial calls to find a therapist you feel comfortable with.
Whether you’re looking to incorporate elements of holistic health into your current treatment plan, or learn about yourself on a deeper level, holistic therapy can help you gain insight, and empower you on your path to wellness!