Holistic Approach to Mental Health
People misuse the word, “holistic.” Note, we can also write “holistic” as “wholistic,” even though your spell checker may not agree. The alternative spelling gives us a much better clue as to the meaning of this misunderstood word and how it relates to mental health issues.
Holism is where the idea of a holistic approach comes from in the first place. Holism is a philosophy that states that the parts that make up a whole are interdependent and contribute to the whole in a way that is more valuable than the individual parts. How the parts connect becomes an important question with regards to a holistic approach to mental health. The relationship between the parts.
The Need for a Holistic Approach
Keep in mind, we cannot understand each part separately from the whole. All parts are interrelated thus all parts must be considered. For example, a person reports they have shortness of breath. His general practitioner sends him to a pulmonary specialist. The lung doctor sees that an inflamed liver is pushing on the lungs. Since he is not a liver doctor, he refers his patient to a liver specialist. The liver specialist then discovers that excessive alcohol consumption is inflaming the liver. He then refers the patient to a substance abuse specialist who discovers that the reason the patient drinks alcohol excessively is that he is severely depressed. So, he refers him to a depression specialist. And so on and so on, the drudgery lumbers forward. A holistic treatment method for this issue would consider all these factors and contributing forces simultaneously.
A Series of Chain Reactions
Each issue creates a chain reaction that creates another series of chain reactions. How these chain reactions communicate and relate to one another is what wholistic care is all about. If we isolate a component and only fixate on that singular component it is like giving a free house to a homeless person. As you wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for “fixing” the issue of homelessness, you cannot help but realize that there is still a potential learning disability, trauma, mental illness, addiction and or a host of other issues that contribute and overlap to the overall identified problem, which is homelessness. Buying them a house does not remedy the issue. Only by looking at each issue and how it relates to the next can we gain the insight that necessitates and supports true healing and change.
A Holistic View
Chinese Herbal Medicine is a holistic science aimed at treating mental health for a myriad of issues. I would encourage all staff to think about what special skill or area of expertise you most enjoy and represent and offer that as your contribution to the whole. Each staff member is a master at a particular group of things, present this in group. Maybe cognitive therapy is of interest to you. Or perhaps Gestalt therapy is your bag. Maybe you use music as a way to heal and connect with the social and spiritual. Whatever shape this takes, please consider how your specialty connects, blends and compliments many others. Find the connections.
Barn Life Recovery is the first mental health facility in the state of California licensed to treat mental health illness on an out-patient community based level. We offer treatments for depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and many other types of mental health issues through a holistic approach.