What Is Holistic Therapy?

Recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health disorders is a process that requires strengthening an individual’s self-awareness. Gaining self-awareness can be a tricky thing, however, because it involves learning how past traumas have contributed to an individual’s cognitive dysfunction. Traditional therapies, such as talk therapies, are often insufficient to help individuals stay engaged with the treatment process. In this way, holistic therapies become a valuable resource for lasting healing.

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Treatment

Substance abuse wreaks havoc on an individual’s entire life. In recovery, ceasing substance abuse is not enough to achieve lasting sobriety. The path to SUD recovery requires an individual to address and overcome any underlying factors that may have contributed to their substance abuse. Likewise, it involves learning essential relapse prevention techniques to minimize the risk of future relapse.

In the same way, recovery from mental health disorders does not involve merely stopping uncomfortable symptoms. Instead, it requires addressing and overcoming similar factors that may have contributed to developing their mental health problems. This decreases an individual’s risk of self-medicating with alcohol and other drugs in the future. It also helps them be better equipped to manage hardships when they surface in the future appropriately.

Effective treatment programs do not define a person by their condition or symptoms. Instead, they acknowledge that an individual needs professional support and guidance to establish and achieve lasting recovery. When treatment programs use holistic therapies, individuals can feel empowered to heal from their SUD or mental illness and grow into the person they want to become.

Holistic Therapy: Addressing the Mind, Body, and Spirit

12 South Recovery defines holistic therapy as “an approach to therapy that considers the whole person; mind, body and spirit.” Rather than focusing on one symptom, holistic therapies focus on establishing a proper balance of the whole person to achieve lasting recovery from SUD and other mental health concerns.

According to Hu Li Za Zhi, The Journal of Nursing, the body relates to physical health, the mind relates to psychological health, and the spirit relates to spiritual health. The abstract of the article explains:

Physical health is sustained through proper nutrition, physical relaxation, and harmonized breathing; psychological well-being helps maintain inner peace and harmony in interpersonal relationships; and spiritual well-being helps develop an optimistic and meaningful life.

Physical, psychological, and spiritual health are all intertwined. When working to establish sobriety or manage a mental health disorder, an individual will not succeed by focusing on just one aspect of health. Holistic therapies allow a person to heal all aspects of being.

Examples of Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies help individuals gain a better understanding of their entire selves. Using various techniques, these therapies can improve a client’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-acceptance. Some examples of holistic therapies include the following:

Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation refers to many practices that restore an individual’s mind-body connection. These practices calm the mind and body and enhance a person’s overall well-being. Some specific practices of meditation include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Focused-attention meditation
  • Open monitoring meditation
  • Loving-kindness meditation

Every type of meditation offers unique benefits to an individual’s healing journey. Some of these practices may be taught in treatment as a form of coping, while others may be combined with other therapies and activities. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are becoming more popular in addiction and mental health treatment facilities that help strengthen an individual’s mindfulness-related skills. These skills include but are not limited to self-awareness, nonjudgment, objectivity, gratitude, and emotional regulation.

Yoga and Movement

Many treatment facilities offer Yoga as a form of holistic therapy. This practice may relieve stress, support healthy habits, and improve an individual’s overall sense of balance.

Similar to meditation, there are many different types of yoga. Some types are gentle on the body, while others are incredibly physically demanding. Yoga vinyasa flows are often the most beginner friendly.

Art Therapy

Like most creative therapies, art therapy allows individuals to work through distressing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors without words. This therapy can foster self-expression in a way that traditional therapies often cannot. Individuals in art therapy may engage in drawing, painting, sculpting, and more to promote emotional, spiritual, and creative growth. Art therapy has shown effectiveness in treating various conditions when used with traditional therapies.

Additional Holistic Therapies

Other examples of holistic therapies include:

  • Nutritional therapy
  • Reiki
  • Breathwork
  • Massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Acupuncture

These can be used with traditional therapies to offer the best healing.

The Benefits of Holistic Therapy for Recovery

There are endless benefits that holistic therapies can have for individuals in recovery. These therapies are often low in cost but highly effective. Additionally, it offers strengthened self-awareness and mindfulness skills. Other benefits of holistic therapies include:

  • Reducing the intensity of mental health symptoms, such as anxiety
  • Restoring imbalances that may have contributed to disruptions in an individual’s overall health
  • Helping to realign a client’s energy, resources, and priorities
  • Improving a client’s quality of life
  • Offering valuable stress-management techniques necessary for preventing relapse
  • Practicing mindfulness-related skills throughout one’s entire recovery journey

Holistic therapies consider the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. A lasting recovery from addiction or mental health disorders requires self-awareness, a central goal of holistic therapies. Holistic practices can be utilized throughout treatment and long-term recovery to prevent relapse and foster personal healing. 12 South Recovery offers holistic therapies in addition to traditional therapies, group therapies, and more. We are an addiction and mental health treatment facility that utilizes a client-centered philosophy. This means we cater to your unique needs. We provide partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient programming. If you or a loved one is seeking recovery, we can help. Call us today at 866-839-6876.

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