Holistic Approach to Treatment: Treating the Whole Being


I.  of or relating to holism

II. relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts. holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the and holistic energy views humans and the environment as a single system.

What is it?

Holistic approaches to treatment consider the whole individuals being; body, mind, spirit, and emotions. It is through this lens that one attempts to gain a further understanding or addresses the ways in which issues in one area of an individual’s life may directly affect another. Holistic treatment providers do not discount traditional medicine, rather they use it in addition to alternative methods. In conjunction with psychotherapy, medication management, mindfulness, and other treatment methods individuals may find a more effective path to overall wellness. Holistic approaches to treatment emphasize that individuals can take charge of their own well-being. Through the use of a variety of techniques, every person has the potential to better themselves.


The term ‘holistic’ dates back over 2500 years ago to the times of Hippocrates. The philosopher spoke to the ineffectiveness of focusing on one aspect of a person and emphasized the significance in seeking symmetry within individuals. It was Hippocrates who began to consider an individual as a whole of which was made up of various working parts in connection with one another.

In the 20th century, the mind and body were widely seen as being two separate entities. It is during this time that health care concerns became widely medically focused; treatment was often condensed to one form of intervention. Symptoms associated with the mind or emotions were often treated with talk therapy, while those associated with the body were treated with medication and surgeries.

Beginning in the 1970’s people within the medical and healthcare fields began to notice that this model was no longer working. It became apparent that treating only one or a few symptoms resulted in the management of certain issues; however, did not always improve individuals overall wellness.

Today, many medical and healthcare professionals have recognized that in the pursuit for overall wellness, the best approach is one in which all areas of an individuals life are considered. This approach recognizes that traditional medicine may not be the only solution, rather the most effective treatment is a combination of alternative methods.


  • Innate healing powers are present in all individuals.
  • Individuals are viewed as people rather than as a disease.
  • Unconditional support and encouragement are powerful healers.
  • All aspects of an individual’s life are important to the healing process.
  • A team approach is emphasized.
  • Treatment is not merely to alleviate symptoms, rather it involves alleviating the cause of the condition.


  • Improvement of overall general health.
  • Further acceptance of the need for a well-balanced lifestyle.
  • Use of more natural resources to aid in symptom relief such as; nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness.
  • While traditional therapies are still a foundation, it allows for a variety of additional treatment techniques.
  • Lifestyle change, rather than a quick fix.

“Body, mind, and spirit are not separate parts. Instead, they are more like lenses, or ways of focusing. The awareness of oneness, and the peace it brings, can be nurtured by anyone who is interested.” – Marcey Shapiro

Author: Stephanie Ballard, LPC, CADC – Footprints to Recovery

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