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What are Holistic Treatments, and How Do They Address Mental Health?

According to an article from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than one in five, or 57.8 million adults in the United States have a mental health disorder. Despite how many people in the U.S. are impacted by mental health conditions, there are still numerous misconceptions about what having and living with a mental health disorder looks like. Mental health disorders can lead to challenges with daily functioning and relationships. However, things like stigma act as barriers to information that can impede your access to support resources like holistic treatments.

When you have difficulties with mental health conditions, it can be difficult to imagine a life where you feel good or able to manage your day-to-day life. Some days or every day might make you feel like you will feel overwhelmed by your symptoms forever. The distress you feel from the symptoms of your mental health disorder may lead to misconceptions about recovery. Thus, the thought of recovery may seem like an impossibility or like a magical cure-all for a perceived sense of normalcy.

When you think about mental health recovery, your first thought might lead you to hope for the elimination of your disorder. However, mental health recovery is an opportunity not for elimination, but healing for your long-term well-being. At The Guest House, we believe holistic treatments can support healing the whole person in mind, body, and spirit. Through whole-person healing, you can build the tools to deepen your awareness and understanding of your disorder. Moreover, holistic treatments could support you in uncovering the roots of your mental health disorder. Therefore, support tools like holistic treatments can help you build a productive and meaningful life.

Barriers to Mental Health Support

An article from World Psychiatry notes that mental health stigma is a twofold issue that robs people of opportunities for quality lives. The two major sides of mental health stigma are public stigma and self-stigma. Public stigma is the negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors the general public has toward mental health and people with mental health disorders. On the other hand, self-stigma is the negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors a person with a mental health disorder applies to themselves. At the core of public stigma and self-stigma are stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.

Moreover, the three components of public stigma and self-stigma can be defined:

  • Public stigma:
    • Stereotype
      • Negative thoughts about a group of people
      • The general public perceives people with mental health conditions as
        • Scary and dangerous
        • Incompetent
        • Lazy
        • Fakers
        • Weak character
        • Burdens
    • Prejudice:
      • Agreement with a harmful belief
      • A negative emotional reaction to people they think represent that harmful belief
        • The general public may react to people with
          • Fear
          • Anger
          • Disgust
          • Aggression
          • Pity
    • Discrimination:
      • The general public will have a harmful behavioral response based on their prejudiced beliefs
        • Avoidance
        • Violence
        • Withhold support
        • Refuse to give employment, housing, and educational opportunities
  • Self-stigma:
    • Stereotype:
      • You hold negative beliefs about yourself
        • Weak
        • Incompetent
        • A burden
        • Lazy
    • Prejudice:
      • You agree with the harmful beliefs about people with mental health disorders
      • Negative emotional reaction to yourself
        • Low self-esteem
        • Poor self-worth
        • Low self-efficacy
    • Discrimination:
      • A harmful behavioral response to prejudiced beliefs about yourself
        • You do not seek support resources and services
        • Failure to pursue employment, education, and housing opportunities

While being aware of stereotypes does not always result in prejudice, prejudice more often than not turns into discrimination. Thus, looking at the stereotypes, prejudices, and actions of discrimination that come from stigma, highlights how negative cognitive processes can harm people. The prevalence of stigma about mental health and mental health disorders reflects a lack of knowledge and education on an area of health that impacts everyone. However, stigma is not only a person-to-person issue but is deeply ingrained in the social structures of society.

Stigma about mental health conditions permeates laws, the justice system, social services, and the healthcare system among others. Therefore, you may have experiences with prejudice and discrimination in healthcare settings that have impeded your access to supportive resources like holistic treatments. Moreover, your experiences with stigma in healthcare settings understandably can discourage you from seeking the support and opportunities you deserve to lead a fulfilling life.

Thinking about stigma as something that permeates all areas of society may feel daunting. You may question how you can find support, healing, and recovery for your lifelong well-being when stigma seems so much bigger than yourself. While you alone cannot dismantle mental health stigma, self-advocacy is an important tool in your toolbox to support your needs and long-term recovery. As noted in an article from the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), self-advocacy gives you the knowledge and chance to participate in the decision-making for your life. Through self-advocacy, you learn how to:

  • Speak up for yourself
  • Make decisions about your own life
  • Develop self-determination
  • Learn how to find information to help you understand your needs and wants
  • Recognize your rights and responsibilities
  • Find support on your recovery journey
  • Problem-solve, listen, and learn
  • Reach out to others for support

Furthermore, as stated in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, mental health advocacy helps promote your rights and reduce stigma and discrimination. When you make your voice heard, you raise awareness while increasing your access to quality mental health services. What you are doing right now is self-advocating for your well-being through the sharing of information and knowledge. Now that you are in the process of seeking more tools for your long-term recovery, you may wonder what are holistic treatments. How can holistic treatments support your journey toward recovery?

What Are Holistic Treatments?

Holistic treatments are part of a holistic approach to care. As the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) notes, a holistic approach to care focuses on whole health as in treating the whole person. Through holistic treatments, healthcare professionals consider how every aspect of your life impacts your health. Holistic treatments consider your values, goals, self-care, health, and well-being as interconnected elements that impact each other.

On the other hand, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that conventional medicine and mainstream approaches to care tend to focus on treating symptoms and conditions. Conventional medicine typically utilizes things like medication, rehabilitation, and psychotherapy. However, many holistic approaches to care incorporate conventional and mainstream approaches to fully address the specific needs of each person.

Notably, the VA breaks whole health into several aspects of your life as it interconnects to your health:

  • Moving your body
    • Provides energy and flexibility
  • Your surroundings
    • Impacts physical and emotional wellness
  • Personal and work life
    • Increases personal development
      • Self-awareness
      • Skills
      • Self-esteem
      • Setting and achieving goals
  • Eating well and hydration
    • Nutritious and energy fueling
  • Recharge your mind
    • Sleep
    • Resting to refresh
  • Relationships contribute to your sense of belonging
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Co-workers
  • Connecting with your spirituality
    • Growth
    • Connecting with others
    • Forgiveness
    • Coping
  • Mind-body connection
    • Mood and thinking patterns
    • Mindfulness
    • Relaxation
    • Healing

Your overall wellness is an intricate part of holistic treatments as it acknowledges that people are not a collection of easily categorized symptoms. There is no one-size-fits-all box or treatment plan that can be used to give everyone the best care for their needs. Thus, understanding the relationship between wellness and holistic treatments can provide insight into how holistic care can support your mental wellness.

The Relationship Between Holistic Care and Wellness

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), wellness is a vital holistic approach to health. Wellness provides an avenue for you to take control of your life and make meaningful lifestyle changes. Moreover, as a holistic approach to care, wellness does not ignore the symptoms and challenges of your disorder. Rather than ignoring the difficulties and distress your mental health disorder causes, wellness acts as a means for a positive purpose, happiness, and healthiness in your life, work, and relationships.

Further, the holistic nature of wellness is highlighted in the eight dimensions of wellness as each dimension influences the other and impacts your health and quality of life. Listed below are the eight dimensions of wellness:

#1. Emotional Wellness

Ability to cope effectively with the stressors of life and build satisfying relationships

#2. Social Wellness

  • Ability to develop a sense of connection and belonging
  • Fosters a healthy support system

#3. Spiritual Wellness

  • Expands your sense of purpose and meaning in life

#4. Intellectual Wellness

  • You are able to recognize your creative abilities and use them to find ways to expand your knowledge and skills

#5. Financial Wellness

  • You can make and manage your financial resources
  • Satisfied with your current and future financial situation

#6. Occupational Wellness

  • You find personal satisfaction and enrichment in your work

#7. Environmental Wellness

  • Your surroundings are pleasant and stimulating
  • Access to healthy environments improves your physical and psychological well-being

8. Physical Wellness

  • Able to recognize the importance of your physical well-being
  • You participate in physical activities, eat nutritious foods, and get plenty of sleep

Moreover, the dimensions of wellness showcase that the quality of your well-being is a deeply personal process. Each individual dimension of your life is interconnected to your goals, beliefs, values, culture, personality, preferences, and life experiences. Therefore, holistic treatments can be particularly valuable in helping you discover what treatments are best suited to support you in building a life in long-term recovery. With holistic treatments, you have access to a wide variety of integrative interventions to support your individual needs.

Types of Holistic Treatments

According to the NCCIH, holistic treatments can be classified by the way the therapy is taken or delivered. While there are three main classifications for holistic treatments, they can be combined with each other to support your specific needs. Listed below are the three categories of holistic treatments:

  • Nutritional:
    • Probiotics:
      • Good bacteria to support a healthy immune response
        • Most fermented foods and drinks
          • Yogurt
          • Kombucha
          • Kefir
          • Kimchi
          • Tempeh
          • Miso soup
          • Sauerkraut
          • Pickles
          • Sourdough bread
          • Certain soft cheeses
    • Prebiotics:
      • A food ingredient that promotes the growth and or activity of healthy bacteria in the intestines for gut health
        • Soybeans
        • Beans
        • Peas
        • Wheat
        • Honey
        • Bananas
        • Garlic
        • Seaweed
        • Asparagus
        • Tomatoes
        • Human and cow’s milk
    • Dietary supplements
    • Special diets
    • Herbs
  • Psychological:
    • Mindfulness
    • Psychotherapy
    • Spiritual practices
  • Physical:
    • Massage therapy
    • Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation
      • Spine manipulation

Additionally, here are some examples of holistic treatments often used in tandem with conventional or traditional treatments:

  • Combination of holistic treatments:
    • Psychological and nutritional
      • Mindful eating
    • Physical and psychological
      • Meditation
      • Breathing and relaxation techniques
        • Guided imagery
      • Yoga
      • Pilates
      • Tai Chi
      • Qigong
      • Movement education
      • Acupuncture
      • Art therapy
      • Music therapy
      • Dance therapy
  • Additional approaches to care:
    • Ayurvedic medicine
    • Traditional Chinese medicine

Moreover, the variety and ability to combine interventions showcase the importance of holistic treatments as an integrative approach to whole-person healing. One of the major values of holistic treatments is its willingness to see the bigger picture behind health, well-being, and healing. The concept of a box in which only one method of care is utilized leaves little room for individual experience.

Whereas, holistic care seeks the benefits of a partnership between you and your clinician to work in tandem to build a treatment plan with a path toward healing that makes sense for you. The commitment to individualized care and the opportunity for growth and lifelong healing is a foundational piece of The Guest House’s approach to care.

Holistic Modalities at the Guest House

At The Guest House, we believe in meeting you where you are on your life and recovery journey. Through a wide range of diverse holistic treatments, you are offered the space you need to discover what healing and mental health recovery means to you. Listed below are some of the holistic treatments offered at The Guest House in collaboration with evidence-based therapies:

  • Meditation¬†
    • Helps you relax and refocus your mind
    • Learn to naturally release tension
    • Supports a healthier response to stressful situations
    • Helps you process emotional distress
    • Supports mindfulness
  • Yoga
    • Incorporates the mindful introspection of meditation with body movement
    • Increases physical strength and flexibility
    • Improves posture, balance, joint pain, and muscle pain
    • Increase muscle tone
    • Improves mental and metabolic stability
    • With regular practice, you may feel more confident and energetic
    • Supports mindfulness
  • Conscious connected breathwork
    • Perceives the breath as a conscious and unconscious action
    • Creates a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind
      • Allows you to access and connect the body, mind, spirit, and emotions
        • Helps you address dysfunction, as well as self-defeating behaviors, and beliefs
    • Supports a shift in consciousness as you release old thought patterns
      • Improves emotional balance and awareness
        • Dissolves physical, emotional, and mental blocks
    • Allows you to live more consciously in your daily life
  • Art therapy
    • Presents ways to share difficult-to-express thoughts and stories
    • Fosters an emotional outlet for psychological distress
      • Allows space to express and let go of emotional weights
    • Provides a sense of accomplishment in a product you made yourself
      • Can be saved for continued reflection throughout your life
  • Music therapy
    • Can help you unlock emotionally distressing memories for processing and healing
    • Improve mood
    • Calming
    • Increase motivation and engagement
    • Provides another form of self-expression
    • Can be utilized as an emotional outlet throughout your life
  • Equine therapy
    • Helps discover and nurture your capacity for love, trust, and care
    • Support your ability to rebuild and form healthy interpersonal bonds
  • Adventure therapy
    • Encourages teamwork through physical challenges
      • Build a healthy support system
      • Learn how to be accountable for your actions
    • Support trust building, cooperation, problem-solving, and evaluating risk
    • Improves ability to maintain healthy relationships
    • Helps you connect with nature
    • Improve interpersonal skills
      • Communication
      • Trust
      • Setting boundaries
    • Motivate you to be an active participant in your relationships and life
  • Somatic therapy
    • Focuses on disengaging pent-up emotional tension in the body
      • Utilizes massage, movement, stretching, exercise, and skin treatments
    • Recognizes the interconnected relationship between physical and mental health
      • Encourages you to eat well and exercise
        • Increases confidence, positivity, and perceived happiness
    • Works on improving your physical well-being to support your mental health
  • Spirit2Spirit Healing
    • A five-day intensive retreat for self-exploration
    • Focused on helping you get to the root of your difficulties
    • Increases self-awareness and self-understanding
    • Integrates multiple therapies to encourage healing of the mind, body, and spirit
      • Nature-based therapies
      • Group activities
      • Spiritual reflection

The variety of holistic treatments we offer at The Guest House highlights the value of self-understanding as a tool for change. When you are able to connect to and reflect on the inner workings of yourself, you can truly start building the tools for lifelong healing. Thus, holistic treatments offer highly personalized therapies and interventions that give you the space for healing through the practice of mindfulness, introspection, and reflection that you can carry with you throughout your life.

At The Guest House, we believe everyone deserves the chance to build a fulfilling and purposeful life in recovery. With holistic healing, you are not hopeless, you are not less than. In fact, you are more than your symptoms, you are loved, and you are worthy of healing.

Mental health disorders can impede your daily functioning and relationships. Moreover, stigma increases barriers to information, knowledge, and access to quality care for mental health disorders. However, self-advocacy can help you improve your awareness of support services like holistic treatments. Holistic treatments present an opportunity for mental health recovery that focuses on healing the whole person. Through a holistic approach to healing, you can use a wide range of interventions to support your individual needs for recovery. At The Guest House, we know there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for healing. Therefore, we are committed to providing holistic treatments that meet you where you are on your recovery journey. Call us at (855) 483-7800 to learn more.