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Holistic Therapy Approaches

   During my tour of duty in the USAF and subsequent college experience, my medical training gave me a glimpse into the vicissitudes of human suffering – about the relationship between human illness and mental health and wellness. So, when I entered graduate school, I had a natural curiosity for and intrinsic interest in a "holistic" approach to understanding human behavior and learning about treatments that considered the person as a whole – mind, body, and spirit.


   According to Wikipedia, the term "…Holism is from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire" and is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts."


   Holistic theory then, is "… the theory that the parts of any whole cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relation to the whole; "holism holds that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"; "holistic theory has been applied to ecology and language and mental states."…..[it is] a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses."


   While the American Psychological Association (APA), does not have a formal definition of "holistic psychology" as such, it asserts that "….. [an] integrative or holistic therapy [approach] can be defined as blend[ing] elements from different approaches [to] tailor their treatment according to each client's needs." With this definition in mind,, it is easy to see how medical psychology and "holistic theory" would go hand-in-hand.


    Believing that this philosophy is fundamental to understanding human behavior and dis-ease, and wanting to ethically provide treatment interventions that encompass mind, body, and spirit, I sought to obtain the necessary credentials in the field of integrative medicine to augment my licensure as a psychologist.  In fact, I was one of the first psychologists to be awarded Fellow Status by the American Association of Integrative Medicine (AAIM) and have operated my practice according to the guiding principles of the AAIM and within the scope of practice as a licensed psychologist in the State of Florida since that time.


    When appropriate, I regularly refer to: allopathic physicians, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals when there is a question about medical symptoms that may account for current psychological problems and/or that may warrant prescription medication and for Medical Food implementation; Naturopaths for guidance about nutrition and supplementation; practitioners of Chinese Medicine about herbal remedies and acupuncture;  Qigong and Reiki practitioners or Massage Therapists for Stress management; Clergy and religious experts (according to a patient's belief system) to address spiritual matters; and or Chiropractors who are also trained to treat persons as a whole. 


   Many people are disenchanted with managed care practitioners and come seeking alternatives to "conventional" modes of treatment. Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) can also provide an array of alternatives to assist in the promotion of overall WELLNESS. This website provides information about the benefits and pitfalls about CAM.


    To minimize the health risks of a CAM approach to treatment, they recommend discussing all CAM options (treatment protocols) with your primary care physician because they may have obscure side effects and/or interact with other medicines. They also encourage you to find out what the research says about these alternatives and to make sure you inform all practitioners involved with your CAM team about the treatment regimen you have decided upon. Finally, make sure to do your homework and check the credentials of the CAM specialist before you decide on any course of CAM practices.


    If you are unsatisfied with your prescription medication, there may be alternatives for you. Likewise, if you want to continue your prescription medication but are looking to evaluate your mental health problems from a Medical Psychology perspective (which is described in the dropdown menu of this website) and augment your therapy process with some of the above-mentioned holistic techniques, feel free to schedule an appointment (954-779-2855) to explore your options. Rest assured, we will devise a treatment plan that makes the most sense for your needs and will confer with your medical doctor (or with your allied health professional) to insure the best possible treatment outcome for your individual situation.

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