What Is a 'Holistic' Approach to Wellness?

When recovering from substance abuse, we must look at the big picture. Recovery should include the entirety of a person, not just the addiction. The term “holistic” has become a bit of a buzzword. Still, this approach to recovery has proven its validity in the community as more treatment centers have included this form of therapy in their programming.

What Does ‘Holistic’ Mean?

Commonly used when referring to medicine, a holistic approach to wellness focuses on the “whole” being, not just the specific issue at hand. Holistic medicine treats the ailment through “nontraditional” methods by examining a person’s psychological health and social influences.

While medicine can be a helpful tool to help with conditions like depression and anxiety, a holistic approach can be another great tool regarding mental health. Physical activities like hiking or yoga are often used as holistic treatments. Visual arts and creative writing also fall under the category of a holistic approach to wellness and recovery.

How Does Holistic Therapy Relate to Recovery?

When clients enter a treatment facility, they are met with countless hours of therapy, including group therapy, individualized therapy, or outdoor therapy. At the moment, it might feel a little overwhelming all the time spent talking about feelings and past traumas. These sessions, however, are what help heal us over time.

With a holistic approach to wellness and the more traditional psychological approach, we begin to get to the root cause of our ailments. For example, an art therapist works with individuals to process thoughts, feelings, and experiences through various mediums. Sometimes it’s easier to show how we feel than using words.

With a visual representation of a client’s inner thoughts, an art therapist can lead a discussion on what the art represents for the client and how it resonates with their emotions. Art therapy is considered a holistic therapeutic approach because it enhances one’s mental, emotional, and physical wellness.

What Does ‘Holistic Therapy’ Look Like?

Addiction is not what makes us who we are; it’s not our entire personality. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other conditions we may possess do not define who we are as people. These are conditions that can be treated in hopes of leading us back to who we were before they had such a profound impact on our lives.

Things like medication and talk therapy can be helpful tools when dealing with such conditions, but those don’t necessarily focus on the whole person. Exploring practices like meditation or yoga bring together the mind and body, allowing the flow of endorphins through movement and increased dopamine through intentional meditation.

Exploring oneself through creativity, mindful movement, and socialization are holistic practices that help in the healing process and allow the discovery of new coping skills and healthier activities outside of substance use.

Incorporating therapies that spark creativity and gentle movement allows clients to form a deeper connection with themselves and understand their recovery goals. A life of sobriety isn’t just about quitting substance use; it’s about our overall wellness and what we do to maintain it.

Additional Holistic Approaches

It’s a bit of a stretch, but the program of Alcoholics Anonymous could be considered a holistic approach to recovery based on the focus of the Twelve Steps. The steps challenge you to rebuild yourself through sobriety.

The Twelve Steps address spirituality, encouraging one to form a relationship with something greater than themselves. A 12-Step program forces “rigorous honesty” with yourself and others, listing your resentments and finding where you played your part in the process. It calls for selflessness and acts of service to others struggling with addiction, calling us to help where we’re needed and to put others first.

A 12-Step program of any kind forces us to let go of our egos to start living a more honest and recovered life. Disregarding that the program is for alcoholics seeking a life outside of drinking, the program itself is holistic at its base. It’s not just about substance use; it’s about changing deep within.

Why Incorporate a Holistic Approach to Recovery?

Vanity Wellness Center makes it very clear in our mission statement that we are “committed to treating the whole person” underneath substance abuse and psychological disorders. Through this approach, it is clear that each client is cared for as a person experiencing hardships, not just another case of poor mental health and battles with addiction.

Addiction does not discriminate in who it ensnares. Nor do we freely choose to live a life trapped in the cycle of substance use. Whatever led us to where we are now, caught in addiction, struggling to make our way through recovery, we are all worthy of finding inner peace. We are worth being known and loved for who we are, and we deserve a chance to find wellness.

It may feel impossible at times, but living a life of recovery is within reach. A holistic approach to recovery not only helps with issues of addiction and substance use but it encourages us to find our way back to who we once were. It challenges us to find new leisurely activities in our sobriety and allows for better coping skills outside substance use. At Vanity Wellness, we believe that activities like visual arts, creative writing, and mindful movement are all wonderful modalities for helping us recover. Sobriety isn’t just about fighting the addiction but the overall wellness of an individual. If you or a loved one are struggling to live a recovered life, we can help show you the way. For more information on addiction recovery and available programs, reach out to us today and call (866) 587-1737. Sobriety is possible.

Categories: Vanity NewsTags: , By Published On: May 26th, 2022

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