Contributed by Merrick Steffes

Have you ever tried to describe someone you know pretty well, a friend, a work buddy, or even your partner or spouse to someone who doesn’t know them? Oftentimes I find myself fumbling through a list of adjectives like; warm, kind, fun, intelligent, and so on. In theory these feel like they fit, but in practice they fall short. These descriptors seem to capture a part of this person yet I always end with “They are really great you will just have to meet them.” People are complex. They are both kind and sharp, both strategic and “go with the flow”, both understanding and a little dense at times.

I often find that the process of therapy echoes this dilemma, which poses a real problem.

How are we supposed to understand the many parts of ourselves, the many parts of our story, the joys and pains, and move through those processes in healthy and productive ways?

Many in our field have set out to answer this question through different modalities. Some focus on action and thoughts, like CBT, some focus on the tension itself, like DBT, and some focus on story. Of course, these are only a handful of the incredible approaches out there. While these are amazing theories and have incredible insight and tools to give us and our clients, we at Kinship Holistic Therapy have a more inclusive approach, we call this holistic therapy.

What is holistic therapy?

Holistic therapy incorporates the many different parts of you and your story, your brain, your body, your spirituality, your emotional world, and your relationships, knowing that moving forward means including the many important parts of you.

Holistic therapy means that the focus is on deep healing rather than symptom relief.

This is achieved by focusing on the four domains that impact your healing journey–cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Rather than building our camp in the cognitive and only focusing on thoughts, or conversely your emotional world, we tailor our interventions to include the many parts of you; tailoring to your world, your pain, and your healing.

Which interventions are these?

There is a lot of amazing research and theory established in our field so we are not reinventing the wheel here, however, we are fans of using the wheels that work. For example, we use some of the amazing tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, that our thought life is really important and majorly influences how we see and interact with the world. We also investigate how mindfulness, the art of paying attention, can enrich our client’s day to day and decrease anxiety. However, we also value the spiritual world of our clients, knowing that their experience here is deeply important to them. We incorporate the body and brain by utilizing what neuroscience teaches us about the effect of stress and trauma on our body, our amygdala, and how to move us into our prefrontal cortex so that we can be more rational when everything is going haywire. We also utilize somatic practice to help our clients be present in their bodies, pay attention to their breath, and feel comfy in their skin.

Finally, we are all emotion-focused, knowing that what we feel signals some really important things, is deeply valuable in itself, and reminds us that we are alive.

What can holistic therapy be used for?

Because holistic therapy is tailored to our clients, it can be used for, simply, you. Your treatment is going to look different than your neighbor’s because you are different and because context is important. So the specific interventions used, the pace, and the focus are different from person to person.

But know that our practitioners work with trauma, depression, anxiety, OCD, mood disorders, eating disorders, relationship issues, life changes, motherhood, and children and teens among many more.

If this sounds like something that fits you, give us a call and we’d be happy to come alongside you.