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What is a Holistic Treatment Approach?

Writing in sand that says "Mind, Body and Soul" stacked on each other

A holistic treatment approach considers the whole person rather than just their illness or disorder. A person is made up of different parts that can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or environmental. Addressing all of these different angles can restore balance and bring about wellness, making treatment more successful.

Holistic therapy is comprehensive and focuses on both the mind and body. While health is traditionally treated by reducing symptoms, a holistic approach considers multiple factors to help find the root cause of the issue.

Holistic Treatment Approach: Principles

Holistic therapy believes that people can take charge of their own well-being. Here are a few more important principles of holistic treatment:

  • Unconditional love and support promote healing
  • Each person should be treated as a person, not as their disorder
  • Treatment should fix the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms
  • Everyone is capable of bettering themselves
  • There should be a collaborative approach between client and health care provider/therapist to solve issues together

Holistic Treatment Techniques

There are a variety of different techniques that can be used with a holistic treatment approach. Integrative Life Center offers several holistic treatment options.


While yoga is an excellent form of exercise for the body, it is also a meditative and spiritual practice. Yoga therapy helps to release trauma that is stored in the body. Clients learn to have more control over their thoughts and feelings through this centering, grounding practice. 

It is an excellent way to work on the connection between mind, body, and spirit. 

Nutrition Therapy

Many people already struggle with getting proper nutrition in our busy society, and those with a mental health issue can struggle even more than others. Nutrition therapy can help to improve nutrition and learn healthy eating habits for the future. 

Good nutrition keeps the body healthy and contributes to mental health. Food also brings people together, allowing them to connect with one another through cooking, sharing, and trying new foods. 

A white woman in a blue shirt paints at an easel. She is in a line of other artists on either side.

Art Therapy

Clients can explore thoughts and feelings in a creative way through the use of art therapy. Through the art-making process, a person can explore and process their emotions, gain personal insight and self-awareness, and connect with others. 

Art therapy encourages self-efficacy, empowerment, and shame reduction. A variety of creative techniques such as painting, drawing, and collage are used in sessions. While the goal of an artist is to make beautiful art, the goal in art therapy is the process of making art.

Music Therapy

A goal of music therapists help clients to feel empowered, reach their goals, and feel self-confident through the use of music. Music therapy can include playing an instrument, listening to music, and moving to music. Goals in different areas of life can be addressed, including physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual domains. 

This type of treatment can help to improve relationships, learn healthy coping skills, and increase emotional expression.

Equine Therapy

Equine therapy allows clients to interact with horses in ways that foster self-confidence, teamwork, and build problem-solving skills. An equine therapist helps the client to identify maladaptive patterns of behavior and process their emotions. 

Horses are non-judgmental by nature. The relationship built between the client and the animal can help the person learn how to connect and form healthy relationships in the future with other people. 


Mindfulness therapy combines cognitive therapy with meditative practices to create an awareness of feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. It teaches clients to pay attention to their feelings without passing judgment on them and to be present in the moment. 

Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery are used to learn how to control how you respond to other people and events in your life.

two yoga mats rolled up in the foreground, one yellow and one magenta. A female is in the blurry background crossed legged and practicing mindfulness

Benefits of a Holistic Treatment Approach

A holistic treatment approach is beneficial because it considers the whole person; their physical health, mental health, social relationships, spiritual views, environmental factors, and more. It also looks for the root of the cause when problems arise, rather than only treating symptoms. 

Holistic practitioners try to be as non-invasive as possible, looking for natural remedies and alternative approaches before considering medication. 

This is especially helpful when dealing with mental health issues that may not be fully resolved with a prescription alone. For example, many doctors prescribe antidepressant medication to patients experiencing symptoms of depression. In the short term, they may feel better, but if they do not explore the cause of the depression through psychotherapy, they will continue to have issues with depression in the future until they deal with the cause of the symptoms. 

A holistic treatment approach also gives more control to the client and can be more cost-effective.

How a Holistic Treatment Approach Complements Traditional Treatment

While evidence-based treatments remain the most effective when treating mental health disorders as well as physical illnesses, there are many holistic options that complement these tried and true techniques. 

Using a holistic treatment approach can enhance treatment and help a person feel better faster. It can also ensure that the person receives treatment that is tailored to their individual needs. Because no two people are alike, considering the whole, unique individual is crucial in caring for their health.

It is also important to make sure a person gets complete care rather than just symptom reduction. While it is valuable to use techniques that reduce symptoms quickly so the person begins to feel better, the real cause needs to be identified so they can heal completely.

At Integrative Life Center, we apply a holistic treatment approach to all that we treat. If you are living with a substance use disorder, mental health disorder, eating disorder, or others – we can help. Contact us to learn more about our treatment philosophy and programs. 

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