Why a Holistic Approach to Therapy Matters?

"You do not need fixing. You are not broken. What we all are in need of is healing. Healing that helps us forgive the past and unearth our own brilliance. Healing so that we can reawaken and connect more fully to a vibrant body, a loving heart, a creative mind, and connected to life itself." - Jacqueline Mendez Founder & Clinical Director, Center for Relationship & Intimacy Well-Being

Have you ever felt like traditional approaches to mental health don’t really feel like a good fit for you? 

Healing doesn’t just happen in the brain. It takes your whole person – mind, heart, body, and spirit. We are more than just our brains and bodies; often, our healthcare options make us decide between supporting the brain or the body instead of allowing for both. Holistic therapy is a way to take the whole person and their experiences into account as a path to healing. 

The same type of therapy won’t be effective for everyone. Some people work for years in therapy and still find that they’re not making the progress they hope for. This is because many traditional therapy approaches don’t consider the entire person – their mind, of course, but also their body, heart, and spirit – everything that makes you you. 

We are made up of so much more than just a brain and a body, and mental healthcare that prioritizes the whole person, like holistic therapy, can often be life-changing. 

What is holistic therapy?

Holistic therapy is an individualized form of therapy that takes into account the whole person, 

and not just the mental health issues that bring them to therapy. 

It doesn’t just stay in one area of your life when you’re struggling with something. It has an impact on everything. We’re not just our brains – our body, heart, and spirit influence our experiences, and it can be helpful to consider these when doing healing work. 

When we look at our mental health without taking these other factors, it’s easy to miss essential pieces contributing to our feelings. Holistic therapy takes the whole person into account during the healing process. We are all impacted by the world around us and the meaning we make from those experiences. Holistic therapy honors the history you bring to the therapy room, your experiences, and the meaning you have made from those experiences. 

Healing in holistic therapy doesn’t mean that you never have another problem in your life. It means you have the resources and skills to support yourself even when tough things arise. Why is a holistic approach to therapy necessary?

We hold more wisdom than we realize. Our brains have a lot of information, but our bodies also play an essential role. When we experience something traumatic, our bodies remember what that feels like. On an unconscious level, we do anything to avoid experiencing it again.  

Often, this looks like a fight, freeze, or fight response where we’re constantly preparing for a threat. We might shut down or dissociate to protect ourselves because we’ve learned that it feels better than doing nothing. The problem is that anything that reminds us of those uncomfortable experiences can feel like it’s happening all over again. Our brains and bodies go into that protective mode to help us feel safe. 

Being constantly on the alert for danger is not just stressful; it’s exhausting. Our bodies weren’t meant to be on high alert at all times, and being in that state for extended periods can have serious health consequences. Long-term stress can lead to heart disease, mental health, sleep, and hormone issues.

Holistic therapy looks at the whole picture and helps us identify patterns. Once we can recognize what’s going on, it’s easier to make changes in a compassionate way. 

Self-compassion is an integral part of holistic therapy. Working with a holistic therapist can help us understand our current coping skills and be compassionate towards ourselves for using them while also teaching us new, more supportive ways to cope. 

It doesn’t do us any good to beat ourselves up for coping in ways that weren’t supportive. We are all doing the best we can, and we all need to cope somehow. Many of us don’t learn about practical, supportive coping skills until we go to therapy and explore healthier options. It’s okay to be sad that you didn’t know better at the time, but try not to be mean to yourself for using the coping skills you had.

How is holistic therapy different from regular therapy?

We know that therapy can be life-changing. That’s why we do what we do! We also know that many therapists don’t receive nearly enough training to incorporate the whole person. So many therapy modalities take a neck-up approach to mental health, focusing entirely on the mind. There are certainly valuable tools in these modalities, but we have found that our clients are looking for an approach that considers their bodies, their relationships, and their spirituality. 

Our approach to mental health is different at the Center for Relationship & Intimacy Well-Being. With our holistic approach, we incorporate experiential work that can facilitate change in a way that talk therapy may not. Integrating movement, mindfulness, and embodiment practices in therapy can help us utilize our bodies’ wisdom.

Holistic therapy can look different for each client because we are all different. Holistic therapy may include: 

  • Breathing techniques
  • Movement, like dance or yoga
  • Music
  • Art
  • Practicing acceptance
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Spiritual support 
  • Self-compassion practice

Incorporating these practices into therapy can help us learn more about ourselves and view our reactions with compassion instead of judgment. Holistic therapy can help connect you to your sensuality and help you practice embodiment so you can be more fully present in your relationship with yourself and others.  

We Offer Holistic Therapy in California

If you’re looking for holistic therapy in California, we offer a therapeutic approach that honors and celebrates the whole person at the Center for Relationship Intimacy and Well-Being. We are proud to honor every client’s unique story and offer proven techniques to facilitate healing. Get in touch with our office today to learn more about holistic therapy or to schedule an appointment.