Content reviewed by Karen Rubenstein, LMFT
Traditional therapy methods are rarely enough to build the foundation for a successful recovery. With that realization established, many mental health and addiction recovery facilities have incorporated therapy treatment programs that complement the traditional psychotherapy treatment experience. Holistic therapy is one of many treatment approaches that do just that.
Holistic therapy is a whole-person approach to healing. It compliments psychotherapy because it targets all mental, physical and spiritual factors of a person that influences their thinking and behavior. In general, holistic therapy recognizes that individuals need to experience the influence of several resources that work together to effectively heal them from trauma and distress, especially related to mental health and substance use disorders.
The Purpose of Holistic Therapy
Holistic therapies are integrative, meaning that they intend to unify all factors that play into an individual’s health and wellness. Instead of just tuning into emotional distress often associated with mental health or substance use disorders, holistic therapies also tend to physical and psychological needs.
In general, holistic therapies treat the whole person and their overall well-being rather than just treating specific symptoms or behaviors. Instead of trying to change addictive behaviors, holistic therapies address all circumstances and factors that play a role in how the addictive behaviors developed in the first place.
The Benefits of Holistic Therapy
It is essential to recognize that holistic therapy is most effective when combined with traditional treatment. When used in addition to conventional therapy, its benefits include:
- Addressing the critical connections between mental, physical and spiritual health that most often are not identified in traditional treatment settings
- Encouraging patients to take responsibility for their health and wellness
- Fostering an individual’s ability to practice and perform holistic techniques independently outside of the treatment setting as they are receiving treatment
- Teaching patients to look inward and associate deeper meaning with their life experiences
- Empowering patients to understand their innate ability to heal and persevere beyond life’s adversity
- Emphasizing the importance of actively preventing relapse by promoting self-awareness strategies and encouraging healthier coping mechanisms
In general, holistic therapy helps patients better understand all factors that play into an individual’s subjective health and wellness. Through various treatment options, patients will learn healthier coping skills and methods of stress reduction, which is essential in securing sobriety and preventing future relapse. One of the most notable factors of holistic therapy is that it works to increase a patient’s sense of self-esteem and identity, which can open new avenues for healing and growth.
Types of Holistic Therapy in Addiction Recovery
Holistic therapy is an umbrella term for a broad and diverse range of treatment therapy methods. Every treatment serves a unique purpose in complementing the treatment experience. Some examples of holistic therapies include:
Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness meditation encourages patients to clear and calm their minds and bodies. In the treatment setting, mindfulness meditation is practiced every morning and throughout the day as needed. It involves sitting in a quiet space, focusing on your breath and setting aside time just to be. Addiction fosters intrusive thoughts, whereas mindfulness meditation works to quiet those thoughts and train the mind to focus on more positive things. Mindfulness can be tricky at first but is a vital recovery skill that can be strengthened with patience and practice.
Yoga: Many treatment centers also offer yoga as a holistic therapy. Yoga allows a person to focus on their physical body through the flow of different postures along with the flow of the breath. Yoga encourages setting intentions before beginning a session, which can be as simple as being as present as possible.
Exercise Therapy: Another form of holistic therapy is exercise therapy. This treatment approach encourages patients to stay active and moving throughout their day. Exercise therapy may include taking walks around the community, hiking or dancing.
Recreation Therapy: Recreation therapy offers individuals valuable opportunities to practice skills they learned from treatment outside the treatment center. Recreation therapy encourages forming relationships with peers who are also on their healing and recovery journies. Examples of recreation therapy outings might include going to the movies, visiting parks, walking on hiking trails and checking out a museum.
Art Therapy: Art therapy allows patients to explore their emotions creatively. It encompasses all forms of creativity, including, but not limited to, drawing, writing, painting and sculpting. After patients complete their artwork, they are encouraged to explain and describe their finished pieces to the best of their ability by connecting their psychological state of mind and their work.
Holistic therapies are becoming increasingly popular for achieving and sustaining long-term recovery. At Authentic Recovery Center, we offer and encourage patients to utilize holistic therapies in their treatment experience. To get started on your healing and recovery journey, give us a call today at (866) 786-1376.