Many people think of the holistic term as some new age trend, or a marketing gimmick and I can understand that, because the word holistic has been attached to many different things over the years. Some people who provide natural products call themselves holistic. Some massage therapist call themselves holistic, and even though they may affect your body, making you feel at peace and affecting your mind, that is still a little short of holistic.
If you research the holistic concept you will find that in fact the holistic philosophy originates all the way back to the Greek culture, all the way back to the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates himself. He, in fact used the four humors to express his holistic ideals, but the birth of a holistic philosophy was clearly there. He didn’t coin the phrase he only knew that the holistic concept was the answer to solving health issues.
The term holistic was actually coined by a doctor in South Africa somewhere back in the seventies, and was never meant to have a religious aspect, although many religious groups have utilized the holistic term to somehow imply a religious context. It is true there is a spiritual component to most religious holistic practices they too fall short of a full holistic experience. Unfortunately when the holistic idea was revived and identified as holistic, a true holistic modality did not exist here in North America. Which left it open to misinterpretation.
In many eastern and European cultures they have practiced a holistic philosophy of health care for generations and fully support a holistic approach to all health issues. Sadly, it is here in North America that we find the holistic approach foreign, misunderstood and somehow mystical.
Certainly, the holistic philosophy has been misused and incorrectly assigned many times over the years, but this does not exclude it from being applied in the manner it was originally intended. In fact, if we are going to adopt a holistic philosophy we must apply it in a manner that respects the original concept because that is not only easier to defend, but also more logical. It is much easier to say I am holistic when I am actually applying the holistic philosophy in the way it was intended.
Taking this approach and applying it to counseling obviously means that holistic counselors need to have a skill set that encompasses a holistic philosophy and the holistic and natural therapies that apply. Applying counseling principles in a holistic manner means insuring that we take the body mind and spirit into account when dealing with primarily emotional issues. We need to determine if the emotional issues are being effected by diet, or some physical discomfort. Or whether the emotional issues are causing somatic symptoms that must be addressed to truly cure the client of their emotional problems.
To do this we must join forces with other natural therapies and practitioners who can support us in our quest. If we understand where the other therapies fit into our clients well-being we can insure they get the best treatment for their issues. This is the very cornerstone of holistic counseling. To provide a natural, complete path to peace of mind.