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What is holistic counselling

At Integrated Health Specialists, we have developed a holistic wellness model for holistic therapists & counsellors to utilise when working with clients. The model illustrates that health is based upon seven fundamental levels: psychological, expression, connection, vocational, emotional, physical, and spiritual. From a holistic therapy point of view, chemical, physical, and psychological irritations create functional imbalances in the body which, if not treated, can lead to disease.

What is holistic therapy?

Holistic therapy, refers to a school of thought in counselling that aims to address a person as a whole, integrated individual, rather than looking at their health or psychological concerns as separate issues. Holistic health addresses a person in terms of their mind, body, and spirit, in unison. From a counselling point of view, holistic therapy takes into account the whole individual – mind, body, and spirit – to tackle health (both mental and physical) concerns on a deeper and more all-encompassing way, to ensure that not only are the superficial aspects treated, but the underlying imbalances.

How can holistic therapy help you?

In applying the term ‘holistic’ to the concept of wellbeing, we aim to achieve and maintain good health by considering much more than just the physical body. Likewise, attaining good mental health means much more than just the mind. Holistic therapy, like holistic health, expands upon traditional medical care to encompass a broad spectrum of therapies. Here are Integrated Health Specialists, we have carefully curated a range of therapeutic techniques that complement one another to bring about true and lasting wellbeing for our clients. Our focus is not simply on the ‘disease’ – such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor fitness, binge-eating – but on the whole person.

If you suffer with a chronic condition, you will know that often, no matter how many doctors or therapists you see, your symptoms continue. This is because modern medicine is more focused on treating symptoms than on treating their underlying causes, and as such, symptoms continue to arise. In a holistic approach, your therapist understands that you as the client or ‘patient’ are at the centre of your own health journey. Rather than prescribe external solutions (which are often temporary at best, or harmful at worst), a holistic therapist puts you in control, giving you the tools and the guidance to solve the puzzle that is your own wellbeing. Here’s how:

Addressing the physical aspects of health

Holistic health professionals understand that the body as a whole can control how a person feels on a mental level, and vice versa. This means that depression or anxiety, for example, may be best treated by addressing not only mental and emotional imbalances, but physical treatment options. These treatments will vary depending on the individual, but may include:

Diet: As modern medicine develops, we are only just tapping the surface of the effect of diet on the mind and spirit, as well as the body. As research develops, scientists are beginning to understand the link between gut health and mental health, for example. Your holistic counsellor will look at your diet to determine positive changes that can help to reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your wellbeing on not only a physical, but an emotional and mental health level as well.

Exercise: We have all heard about how good exercise can be for mental health. Holistic therapists have understood this for decades. Not only can exercise fill you with endorphins, or ‘happy hormones’, but improving your physical health can have incredibly positive effects on your overall mental and emotional well-being.

Addressing the spiritual aspects of wellbeing

Another important aspect of well-being in holistic therapy is the spiritual side of an individual. Often, modern medicine completely disregards this aspect, and forces opinions, values, and beliefs onto an individual. A holistic therapist believes, fundamentally, that the client’s values and beliefs are central elements to their healing. By tapping into those values and beliefs, a skilled holistic counsellor can guide their client towards their goals, without imposing their own worldview onto them.

The psychological components of good health

In holistic therapy, traditional counselling techniques such as ‘talking therapy’ are used, alongside holistic counselling techniques to address the psychological components of wellbeing. Just as good physical health can support good mental health, so too can robust psychological well-being support and improve physical health. At Integrated Health Specialists, our suite of therapies is designed to be tailored to give you the tools for wellbeing – for life. Of course, different treatments work for different people, and every person has different needs from holistic counselling. From hypnotherapy to Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR), Nutritional Psychology, and more. Our therapies form a holistic therapy approach to achieve true, whole-person well-being, that not only helps our clients to function better on a day-to-day level, but that lasts a lifetime.

At Integrated Health Specialists, we believe that people have the resources to facilitate their own healing. That is why the course of healing always begins with our clients, not with the therapist. Our holistic counselling approach gives you the tools to understand the obstacles to your health and overcome them, with techniques we will guide you through, for long-lasting health, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and psychically.


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Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen