As we move into the future, more people than ever are looking for holistic approaches to living and the health issues they face, so it’s no surprise that people needing mental health care are opting for holistic psychiatry and the solutions it can provide.
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What Is Holistic Psychiatry?
First things first, just what is holistic psychiatry?
Holistic methods in psychiatry (or any practice) involve a whole mind-body approach.
In holistic psychiatry there is a heavy focus on natural methods of prevention and healing.
Many believe that the unhealthy aspects of our modern lifestyles have a huge impact on our mental health.
And while we can choose the medication route, this may not be the safest or most appropriate therapy for everyone.
In fact, some researchers and health care practitioners believe that natural approaches may be just as effective as drugs in certain situations.
And, even if a prescription is required, a mind-body approach will only increase the chances of treatment success in most cases.
Some people have reservations about commonly used practices, such as meditation and yoga, because they are often associated with New Age or Eastern philosophies.
While it’s true that these practices did originate from Eastern philosophies, they can be used with any spiritual or religious belief. The practices themselves do not have to be religious in nature or go against any belief system.
It is absolutely possible to meditate or enjoy yoga and not take on the spiritual belief of other philosophies.
Many who incorporate mind-body practices have found them to be very helpful and have experienced healing results in their mental well-being (as well as in their interpersonal relationships, careers, and more).
Different Aspects Of Holistic Psychiatry: A Mind, Body & Spirit Approach
As mentioned above, holistic psychiatry encompasses the entire mind, body, and spirit.
It can almost be looked at as an entire life makeover. But don’t get overwhelmed, very rarely does someone change everything at once!
These changes can be done slowly over time, as you feel comfortable.
The goal here is your mental health and well-being. So, don’t think you have to magically change your whole life overnight.
The best holistic psychiatrists will advise clients to start slow and celebrate small victories along the way
What Are Some Methods Used In Holistic Psychiatry?
Alternative mental health techniques (which aren’t so alternative anymore…) are being used more and more, whether alone or alongside traditional psychiatry.
Psychiatrists across the board will recommend that everyone engage in healthy behaviors. But holistic psychiatrists use mind-body methods as not just a complement to traditional methods and medication but as a basis for their treatment.
Here are a few examples of holistic mental health practices that a holistic psychiatrist may suggest for various mental health issues.
Proper Nutrition And Supplements
Diet is one of the most important aspects when it comes to overall health and well-being.
It seems that the old saying, “you are what you eat” is somewhat true.
The food you eat actually affects not only your health, weight, and functioning of your body- but it significantly affects your mind and emotions as well.
In addition to the food you eat, natural supplements can help to make sure you are getting the right nutrients and offer balance and support for overall health and wellness.
The use of supplements is increasing as a part of alternative mental health, just be sure to talk with your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns for your specific situation 😉
Meditation is gaining popularity these days because research has proven it is a very safe and effective method to calm both mind and body.
More and more people from all walks of life are touting it as a crucial part of their day and recommending it to
everyone they know.
And the interesting thing is that it doesn’t matter if you have an hour or just five minutes, meditation can help to reset your mind and mood.
Many mental health professionals are recommending meditation to clients in various types of treatment for their mental health conditions.
Journaling is another healthy way to address mental and emotional well-being.
It is well known to help individuals cope and deal with stress.
In fact, studies have shown journaling to help improve mental distress as well as levels of overall well-being.
Holistic psychiatry professionals often recommend journaling to their clients as one of the easiest ways to start this new journey of holistic well-being.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping
Tapping or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is gaining popularity with many holistic psychiatrists and their clients.
It is easy to learn, non-invasive, and can be used daily or even on the spot when needed.
EFT involves using pressure points on the body to help promote a soothing and calming effect.
What’s really great is that you can do this to yourself at any time.
Interested in learning more about EFT? Here is some info you’ll definitely want to read 😉
Massage is a great way to find relaxation and stress relief.
It may seem expensive to get professional massages regularly but, there are ways you can have that important bodywork done and save a little money.
First, check to see if there is a massage school in your area, some schools offer massages at discounted prices because the students are practicing. Don’t worry, though, you can still get a very nice massage.
Next, talk to your favorite massage therapist because some offer monthly specials or package deals that could make your appointments more affordable.
Not interested in having a massage by someone else, or really just do not have the funds?
No problem! You can learn self or partner massage techniques by watching videos online. It may not be professional, but it can still be very nice and quite effective at reducing stress, anxiety, and enhancing overall health and well-being.
Mind/Body Spiritual Retreat
There are a number of spiritual retreats all over the country and the world.
But, you don’t have to break the bank or even take a vacation to get the results you seek.
If a retreat isn’t possible for you, find an afternoon to escape to a park, take a hike in the woods, kayak in a nearby lake or river, or try some yoga and meditation in your back yard.
If that doesn’t speak to you, try soaking up art, culture, music, and great food with a friend and enjoy a peaceful day doing something out of the ordinary.
A spiritual retreat simply involves escaping “normal life” for a bit to do something that feeds and heals the soul.
* It’s important to put your health first, and almost all doctors will highly approve of healthy lifestyle
improvement, but be sure to talk with them before making any major dietary changes, supplements, significant changes in physical activity.
Since we have reviewed holistic psychiatry, let’s take a minute to contrast and compare it with methods commonly used in conventional psychiatry. That way you can be fully informed and make the best choices for your individual needs 😉
Common Treatment Methods Used In Conventional Psychiatry
Conventional psychiatry has made huge strides in the last century.
A focus on the well-being of the client has increased over time and better treatments have become available.
However, there are still many people that prefer to use conventional methods as a last resort and choose instead to begin with an approach that honors the mind-body connection as well as offering natural solutions when at all possible.
This is totally understandable, and many doctors and mental health professionals can help guide you along the way.
Some common methods used in conventional psychiatry are:
This is a very common method in conventional psychiatry. However, it can be a scary step for many patients since the side effects of some medications can be serious.
While definitely needed in some situations, if medication is offered it is essential that all aspects are thoroughly discussed before a final decision is made.
This is another one of the most common conventional methods in psychiatry.
Counselors of all kinds are accessible to people everywhere, from schools to jobs and even online!
Talk therapy can be very helpful to people and many find that having a non-judgmental person to help them see patterns, behaviors, and form a plan for the future can alleviate excessive stress, anxiety, depression, and help with other mental health issues too.
Peer support groups are often easily accessible and have the data to show their effectiveness.
Examples of peer support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon, groups for victims of domestic violence, Over Eaters Anonymous, and many more! If you can think of a mental health struggle, there is probably a group for peer support.
And with the use of the internet and social media, they are easier to find than ever.
Peer support groups can be a great addition to a conventional or holistic mental health plan.
Hospitalization or Inpatient Treatment
In extreme or severe cases inpatient treatment may be necessary. For many, inpatient treatment is temporary, and as soon as stability is achieved and a plan is made for the continuation of care (medications, outpatient therapy, etc.) the person is typically released.
Rehabilitation programs can be a great way to reset and restart by getting the hands-on intensive care needed at that time.
In Conclusion: Holistic Psychiatry as a Complementary and Integrative Therapy
It’s clear to see why so many people are moving towards holistic psychiatry and a mental health model that honors the mind-body connection.
Even conventional psychiatrists are taking a more holistic approach with their clients, knowing that a healthy
overall lifestyle can greatly help mental health and well-being.
If you are interested in holistic psychiatry and its potential benefits, then it might be time to start looking into health professionals in your area to help get you started.
Not sure where to start looking? Here are a few websites and directories that might help:
Best of luck to you on your journey to health and happiness!