Curiosity may have brought you, the reader, to this article to become more familiar with the term holistic counseling. After all, there is holistic healing, health, thinking, medicine, ecology, and even holistic life. So why can’t the word holistic refer to counseling-and it does. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word as: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts. Holism is an important concept in the sciences and social sciences, and especially in medicine.
Holistic Counseling is an approach which helps clients to heal by taking the entire human being and their life experiences into consideration for assessment and treatment purposes. It is a type of counseling that assesses and treats from physical and spiritual contexts–as well as a psychological or mental ones.
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- Physical Aspects: An evaluation of how the physical body is involved and affected with the goal of facilitating a sense of physical well-being. Examples of this are: Reiki-based treatment, yoga instruction, energy healing, chiropractic techniques, massage therapies and applied acupuncture/acupressure.
- Spiritual Components: This dimension deals with taking control of consciousness; tapping into techniques of energy healing by eliminating negative self-talk, balancing chakras or creating forgiveness.
To commence your education in this field, a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology is a good choice for your undergraduate degree. Since psychology has been defined as the scientific study of the mind and behavior. The theories studied during a bachelor’s program will delve into a variety of topics due to the multi-faceted nature of psychology. One of them is humanism that emphasizes the examination of the whole person. This seems to parallel the holistic approach to counseling. It’s not imperative to chose psychology at the undergraduate level as there are numerous schools offering online and campus bachelor’s degrees in counseling.
Those who desire to make holistic counseling a career should strive for your master’s degree in one of the counseling disciplines.
Hence, there is the psychology route towards holistic counseling by directing your studies to humanistic or holistic psychology. Or the counseling route that offers the choice of specialization at the master’s level. There is a third option provided by Akamai University whose campus is situated in Hilo, Hawaii. This school offers an online Master of Science in Ecopsychology. This course teaches hands-on education, counseling and mental health skills that interlace our thoughts and feelings with the “higher power” wisdom of nature’s creation process. As prerequisites for acceptance to the Master’s degree, applicants should have completed the equivalent of a recognized baccalaureate degree in an appropriate field of study and have several years of meaningful career experience. The curriculum is designed for students interested in these counseling disciplines: pastoral, therapy, recovery, family, marriage and spiritual counseling.
Another consideration for an on-campus experience is Salve Regina University located in Newport, Rhode Island. This school offers a Master of Arts in Holistic Counseling in a curriculum that integrates body, mind and spirit. The program teaches that many of today’s mental, physical, and social challenges stem from a lack of integration, resulting in persons and systems dissociated from themselves, the community, and the environment.
Hopefully, through these examples, you have gained a better understanding of the myriad degree possibilities in the distinctive profession known as holistic counseling.