I often get the question from potential clients, “What is holistic psychotherapy, anyway?”
My New York aunt insists that in New York, the word ‘holistic’ would not get me very far – there’s this perception that the translation of ‘holistic’ equals California crunchy-oat-bread-with-sprouts-and-avocado-eating, Birkenstocks-wearing, lefty-communist protesters… Or some such comparison. Maybe they think we’re all driving around in ’68 VW Bugs hugging trees and singing Kumbaya.
Really and truly, all ‘holistic’ means is that you, as a whole person, is taken into account. In the past, psychotherapy and talk therapy have been very cerebral – making intellectual sense of behaviors, feelings, and patterns. However, the mind is just one pathway to the psyche. Our bodies (movements, voice, sensations, etc.) are another vehicle, as is our spiritual orientation (the way we experience the Universe).
So, if the purpose of psychotherapy is to uncover and discover the Self, the information needed to do that is coming in through different channels. I like to think about it like a radio (and I think this analogy is courtesy of Marsha). There are many different radio stations that deliver information to us: thoughts, memories, physical sensations, movement patterns, feelings, dreams, intuition, instincts, behaviors, etc. The holistic psychotherapist’s job is to inquire into these various stations to see what’s there. If we only focus on thoughts and feelings, we might miss the body piece. If we only focus on the body and mind, we might miss the spiritual piece.
Lastly, the holistic modality affirms that everyone is born whole, perfect, and complete. Through life experiences, we lose sight of that wholeness, perfection, and completeness. But through psychotherapy, we uncover one’s true self. Therefore, holistic therapists don’t see any human being as “broken,” “lacking,” “damaged,” “inadequate,” “unfinished,” “imperfect,” or any other similar synonym. You do not need to be fixed – everything that you need is within you right now. It’s our journey together that brings clarity and discovery back to your unadulterated whole self.
Sign up for our free newsletter