What is Holistic Treatment?

What is Holistic Treatment?

Drug and Alcohol treatment varies depending on the person, the environment, and the belief system the individual involved in the treatment presently has. Over the years there have been changes to the treatment offered within the drug and alcohol community; a variety of therapeutic modalities (including gestalt therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, person centered, etc), medication assisted treatment, and 12 step focused, to name a few. Although these therapy approaches have different benefits and characteristics, the constant within the therapy and treatment of drug addiction is that the focus needs to be on the biological, physical, and mental effects the individual who is seeking treatment is going through. Certain treatments may not work for one individual compared to another individual.
Understanding that everyone has different treatment styles needs to be understood and applied to their treatment planning as well. As of the last decade a recent approach has included a holistic approach on counseling allowing for more of a natural approach to be included in the treatment process.
Beautiful woman holding her hands together during meditation in a colorful room

What is Holistic Therapy and How Does It Benefit Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, A holistic approach focuses on the relationship between mind, body, and spirit, attempting to understand and address how the concerns in one aspect of an individual can lead to concerns in other areas. Holistic treatment can be very effective as long as the sense of trust between the client and therapist is established. In order to obtain that it takes time and consistency. Understanding and truly listening to the individual’s concerns and goals. Holistic therapists attempt to get individuals in treatment to accept themselves in the moment as they are, where they are, and understand themselves on a deeper level. Once the individual is able to accept  themselves they have a better opportunity to release the concerns they are holding onto that are causing them distress.
Individuals who are in treatment for Drug and Alcohol understand that there are a combination of changes they are going to experience. These changes can include physical, behavioral, and emotional changes as well as the ability to work on their physical cravings. Understanding this allows the individual and professional to fully treat the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – as well as identify the root of the addiction.

What does Holistic therapy include?

Holistic Therapy provides a variety of approaches that can benefit the individual whether it’s through essential oils, exercise, breathing exercises, or hypnotherapy. Here are some of the most common Holistic Approaches;

Mindfulness Awareness and Meditation

This is the act of bringing their attention to their breathing in order to connect with what’s happening in the present moment. This can be very beneficial for those who experience an increase in anxiety or panic. Taking a few minutes out of their day to clear their mind and practice focusing on their breath can be very beneficial. Meditation may improve sleep, memory, and attention span; it also helps regulate your emotions. Best of all, it can be done at home, at any time. Depending on the meditation exercise the individual engages in it can take as little as 5 mins. Even better there are several apps you can download on your phone to help you with this (headspace app, calm app, and the Insight Timer app).


If the individual is looking for something a bit more physical, consider yoga. Like mindful meditation, this technique involves quieting their mind and focusing on breathing while they flow through a series of physical poses that build strength and flexibility.

Guided Imagery

This involves a process in which the individual is guided to focus on mental images that trigger peace and positivity. Through Guided imagery they have the ability to focus on a place that reminds them of safety and happiness. It involves using all their senses for example when they identify their “positive and happy place” they focus on what they see, hear, smell, and feel. It encourages the individual’s body to feel relaxed allowing the individual to have control over their stress and pain.


This involves the use of essential oils (naturally extracted plant materials) to balance, harmonize, and promote the health and healing of your body and mind.


Reiki is characterized as a spiritual energy form of therapy. This approach is designed to help calm the body allowing for a reduction in pain and anxiety. This may also allow their body to feel more calm and refreshed, reducing your fatigue symptoms at the same time.
These approaches again are only a few that are identified presently and can be useful. It is important to remember to follow up with a professional/therapist who is trained in Holistic therapy for proper guidance. Holistic Therapy may not be beneficial for everyone, treatment is patient centered however having an open mind and being willing to try to challenge yourself in your recovery process is the first step to a very successful recovery process.


National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Alternate Approaches to Drug Treatment (An American Addiction Center Resource) – Finding a Holistic Treatment Center – Holistic Treatment

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