What is Holistic Counseling?
Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. offers counseling and therapy in Reston, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland.
When people hear the term counseling, they often envision a counselor asking, “How does that make you feel?” While this might happen during a counseling session, in holistic counseling there is much more than recognizing how you feel.
Holistic psychotherapy explores the connections between how our feelings and the ways that we think, behave, and deal with stress in our lives, and how that can be expressed physically in our bodies. Feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, or depression, for example, can contribute to maladaptive relationships, loss of self-worth, stress, and illness. Instead of isolating the issues of the mind, holistic psychotherapy integrates thoughts, emotions, and behaviors with physical symptoms that may also be present. This form of treatment helps us to better connect with ourselves, and to make the physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral changes we need in order to enhance our wellbeing. Through holistic therapy, individuals are also taught and guided in self-awareness, and are able to forge their own paths toward self-discovery and healing.
So, how exactly does holistic therapy work? The first step is for the therapist to get to know the individual. For some people, trust will have to be built before the therapist will be able to truly help them discover the root of what is troubling them. This generally happens through talk therapy, where the individual is asked questions regarding their childhood, past trauma, family members, past and current relationships, and anything else that could provide the therapist with insight into the person’s life. A course of treatment is then developed to determine the therapy approach best suited for the person. Often, this course of treatment is determined with significant input from the individual, and the therapist may help guide the client to determine the best approach.
Here are several holistic counseling methods, which can be combined or used as individual approaches.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Gestalt Therapy
- Mind-Body Psychotherapy
- Body-Centered Psychotherapy
- Family Therapy
- Integrative Psychotherapy
- Assertiveness Training
- Anxiety and Depression Management
- Life Skills Enhancement
In addition, other methods include meditation, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, journal keeping, art therapy, etc.
People who elect to work with a holistic psychotherapist embark on a path of constructive self-exploration. With the help of a counselor, they learn to recognize the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that set off and prolong physical symptoms, and other problems that may be hindering their well-being. They use the approaches they have learned to enhance their strengths, set goals, and to develop new skills for effectively dealing with life challenges.
Individuals are more likely to be interested and keep up with their treatment plan if they are engaged and interested in what they are doing. This is one of the biggest ways in which holistic therapy differs from traditional therapy. Holistic therapists believe that whenever possible, it is beneficial to work on more than one aspect of a person’s life in an integrative way, so that different aspects of a person’s life are improved.
Holistic psychotherapy is individual-focused, and as such, it is up to the individual to decide when they no longer need counseling.
If you are looking for holistic psychotherapy in Bethesda, MD and Reston, VA, contact Dr. Durana at A Caring Approach. With his methods and training, you’ll become more self-aware and mindful. You’ll develop the skills you need to increase your overall well-being, and to help you become more successful in life, relationships, work, and physical health.