Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
Holistic therapies are approaches to healing that strive for balance of the:
Emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual.
Holistic methods complement each other
Holistic methods recognize interconnectedness of all working elements
This is in contrast to Western medicine which targets separate body areas and promotes the use of pharmaceuticals as a first resort.
Varma - Siddha – massage - naturopathy are holistic therapies that you're already familiar with. However, I doubt you've ever thought of counseling as holistic.
There's a reason for this.
Although virtually any type of counseling could be applied holistically, certain forms of counseling are better suited than others. They are classified as holistic because they address the person "as a whole", in all her aspects.
They are also characterized by the use of right-brain-based strategies especially those that emphasize the interpersonal, therapeutic relationship aspect of the work. Examples include mind-body psychotherapy, body psychotherapy and mindfulness psychotherapies.
I like holistic therapies because...
...they're based on the idea that we can reach beyond our limitations, that we can expand our lives and be bigger than we are today.
The medical model and counseling
Some counseling methods follow the medical model. These therapies are good for narrowly-targeted symptom reduction. They are usually short-term without emphasizing the relational aspect of the work--although most therapies require establishing a good connection with the client.
Therapists following the medical model are not likely to suggest holistic alternatives to medication. They’re often more inclined to present themselves as the "expert" and less as a partner in a collaborative You'll find information on this site that helps both groups, but my emphasis is on holistic treatment models and techniques.