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Treating the Whole Person: Why are Holistic Approaches to Therapy Effective?

Addiction shatters us into tiny fragments. Once addiction takes hold, our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves are no longer in alignment. 

A holistic approach to therapy aims to unite the physical, emotional, and spiritual self, and treat each individual as a whole. 

According to Rebecca Buzek, LPC-S, Executive Director, Garden Oaks, Positive Recovery Centers, holistic therapy does more than simply address the symptoms of addiction, it gets into the root reasons behind why the addiction occurred in the first place. And that’s the beauty of holistic therapy.

“Holistic therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction. Holistic therapy aims to heal the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person, and to help them achieve a balance and harmony in their life,”

Rebecca Buzek, LPC-S, Executive Director, Garden Oaks, Positive Recovery

Moreover, a holistic approach is beneficial for addiction therapy in other ways too. That’s because, again, “holistic” means treating the individual as a whole. Therefore, the holistic approach looks at all of the physical and emotional symptoms a person is experiencing and aims to address them. 

Buzek says, “Holistic therapy is beneficial for addiction treatment because it can help address trauma which is often an underlying cause of addiction. It can also help reduce the negative

effects of addiction on the body and mind, such as pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia,

or withdrawal symptoms.” 

Preventing Relapse & Much More 

Additionally, holistic therapy acts as a safeguard against relapse because it fosters a positive perspective, instills a sense of purpose, and promotes self and interpersonal connection. 

This approach to therapy comes in a variety of methods, including conventional talk therapy, mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional guidance, and spiritual counseling.

Autonomous Being 

Regardless of the specific therapeutic approach, holistic therapy is based on acknowledging each individual as an autonomous being with self-awareness. 

At Positive Recovery Centers, the emphasis on self-connection is introduced in the early stages of treatment. Right from the start, clients undergo a 24 character strength assessment and are encouraged to embrace their own strengths.

According to Ellen Plaze, Executive Director, Positive Recovery Centers, “We remain curious as to what drives them and create a collaborative relationship. Clients feel they have agency over their recovery which helps build back their self-esteem.” 

Self Determination Theory

According to Dr. Jason Z. Powers, humans have a need to be autonomous and make their own decisions. When therapy treats individuals as holistic, unique beings, their autonomy and decision-making abilities take the forefront. 

This concept aligns with Self-determination Theory, which emphasizes three crucial psychological needs—mastery, autonomy, and connection. 

This theory highlights that intrinsic goals that fulfill these needs contribute to happiness, healthy relationships, and improved self-esteem. 

“Self-determination theory holds that intrinsic goals are the best types of goals—these are the optimal types that fulfill our psychological needs, lead to happiness and healthy relationships, and improve self-esteem – thus positively impacting chances for sustained recovery.”

Dr. Jason Z. Powers, Chief Medical Officer, Positive Recovery Centers

However, Dr Powers further explains that much of our behavior is influenced by external factors like family, friends, work, or societal responsibilities. 

Rather than feeling weighed down by these external pressures, individuals who can reframe these obligations as meaningful duties often experience an improved sense of well-being and achieve greater accomplishments. 

For instance, an external demand such as ‘paying rent’ or ‘fulfilling job responsibilities’ can be transformed into a positive affirmation: ‘I am providing for my family’ and ‘making a positive contribution to my job.’

When obligations are reframed as meaningful duties, individuals are more inclined to fulfill them, because they perceive these obligations in a positive light with a beneficial impact. In essence, these actions take on a purpose-driven nature. 

By adopting this perspective, you attribute significance to tasks that may have initially seemed mundane. This is the power of holistic therapy – or looking at the individual as autonomous and whole.

The Role of Hope 

Dr Powers emphasizes the significance of hope, not just within addiction treatment, but across all aspects of life, particularly in achieving goals. 

He says, “Hope isn’t limited to recovery from addiction – finding and nurturing hope is a key to recovery from a wide array of physical and psychological illnesses. People who learn how to create goals that maximize hope are best prepared to persist.”

Furthermore, Dr Powers describes the duality of hope as both a stable personality trait and a temporary mental state that reflects our capacity to envision and define goals, devise pathways to attain them, and maintain steadfast determination. 

He underscores how hope is intricately woven into the process of planning and taking action – and that hope plays a big role in shaping human behaviors and even outcomes.

He says, “Beliefs about intelligence, capabilities, and personality matter! Beliefs shape motivation, behavior, learning style, and performance. These beliefs can facilitate or hinder growth and change in our clients. Think about it—life-long, stable recovery is one BIG goal!” 

Dr. Powers’ perspective highlights the universal significance of hope, not only within addiction treatment but across all of life, as a driving force in achieving meaningful goals. 

This resonates strongly with holistic therapy. Hope plays a big role in creating resilience, guiding personal growth, and aligning with the principles of treating each individual as a complete being.

By focusing on autonomy and autonomous growth, holistic therapy is excellent at bridging the gap between hope and accomplishment. 

Addiction Treatment Services in Texas

If you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment, look no further than Positive Recovery Centers. PRC is committed to providing comprehensive care that addresses your addiction and mental health needs. Across Texas, several conveniently located treatment centers offer various services, from Medical Detox to Long Term treatment in Texas. Please visit or call us at (877) 697-1383 to speak with a team member today! Together, let’s break the cycle of addiction and create a future filled with hope, healing, and resilience. You are not alone in your journey.