Holistic counseling is an approach to counseling that focuses on the whole person and not just their thoughts or behaviors. This type of counseling considers a person’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of these areas and the importance of addressing them all to achieve optimal health and wellness. This article will explore holistic counseling, how it differs from traditional counseling, and the benefits it can provide.
What is Holistic Counseling?
Holistic counseling is a type of counseling that views individuals as a whole rather than just addressing specific problems or symptoms. This approach considers a person’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, recognizing that these areas are interconnected and impact one another. Holistic counselors believe that individuals can achieve greater balance, health, and well-being by addressing these areas.
Holistic counseling often incorporates techniques and modalities, such as mindfulness, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and somatic experiencing. It also tends to take a more collaborative approach, with the counselor and client working together as partners in the healing process.
How Does Holistic Counseling Differ from Traditional Counseling?
While traditional counseling may focus on a specific problem or symptom, such as anxiety or depression, holistic counseling takes a more comprehensive approach. Rather than simply treating the symptom, a holistic counselor seeks to identify and address the root cause of the issue, taking into account all aspects of the individual’s well-being.
Traditional counseling often focuses on talk therapy, where clients discuss their thoughts and feelings with the counselor. While this can be helpful, holistic counseling incorporates various techniques and modalities to help individuals achieve greater well-being. These may include techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and somatic experiencing, which can help individuals develop self-awareness and manage their emotions more effectively.
Additionally, traditional counseling often takes a more hierarchical approach, with the counselor as the expert and the client as the passive treatment recipient. On the other hand, holistic counseling tends to take a more collaborative approach, with the counselor and client working together as partners in the healing process. This partnership can create a more empowering experience for the client, as they are more actively involved in their healing process.
Benefits of Holistic Counseling
Holistic counseling can provide many benefits for individuals seeking greater health and well-being. Here are some of the potential benefits:
- Improved Self-Awareness: Holistic counseling can help individuals better understand themselves and their emotions. Individuals can better manage their emotions and make more informed decisions by becoming more aware of their thoughts and feelings.
- Greater Balance and Well-Being: By addressing all aspects of an individual’s health and well-being, holistic counseling can help individuals achieve greater balance and overall well-being.
- Improved Physical Health: Holistic counseling can help individuals address physical health concerns like chronic pain or illness. By taking a whole-person approach, individuals may be able to identify and address underlying issues that contribute to their physical health concerns.
- Greater Resilience: Holistic counseling can help individuals develop greater resilience and coping skills to manage stress and adversity better.
- Enhanced Spiritual Growth: For individuals interested in spiritual growth, holistic counseling can allow them to explore their beliefs and values and develop a deeper appreciation of meaning and purpose.
Overall, holistic counseling can be a powerful tool for individuals seeking greater health, well-being, and personal growth. Holistic counseling can help individuals achieve greater balance, resilience, and overall fulfillment by taking a whole-person approach and incorporating various techniques and modalities.
NourishDoc: Good morning, everyone. Why do we need individual counseling for a holistic approach? Well, that’s the question we’re going to discuss with Maya Petrova; Maya Petrova is a certified holistic coach who uses an integrative approach to functional medicine and Chinese medicine in her practice. I am Amita from NourishDoc, a global platform for natural and holistic therapies; I’d like to introduce all of you to Maya Petrova, who’s joining us live from London now; welcome, Maya.
Holistic Coach Maya: Thank you very much. Nice to speak to you, and hello to everyone who is also listening and joining us tonight.
Functional Medicine & TCM Combo
NourishDoc: Great. So I was reading that you combine Chinese medicine and functional medicine, so can you describe the process a little bit?
Holistic Coach Maya: Yes, of course. So the reason why I combined these approaches is that I believe the body, the mind, and the soul they’re all connected. So oftentimes, a disease in the body is just the body not being at ease and the body is not being at ease about a particular emotion, for example, maybe a choice that we are making currently in our life or maybe something that is just not working in a relationship or maybe even a belief that we have and I’ve seen it many times in my practice that when the body starts manifesting these physical symptoms or the physical illness.
Sometimes it is because the body is trying to draw our attention to something internal it’s just the body’s way to help us pay attention to the way we’re living our life and that is why I started using chinese medicine in my practice as a way to look for the deeper meaning behind the issues my clients were facing and as probably many of you know, chinese medicine is some a great way to examine the body examine the energies of the body because chinese medicine sees the body as a combination of male and female energies.
We have the yin and the yang and this approach of chinese medicine is what helps me see what’s out of balance in the body, which energy is out of balance and to help us identify what’s going on. Maybe we’re not giving ourselves enough time for reflection, enough me time, maybe we’re not communicating with our true self with our inner voice higher self intuition maybe the body is sending some sort of signs and we’re just not hearing these signs and then the body creates a symptom or creates a disease something physical as a louder message for us to pay attention and find out what’s going on in our life and this is why I use chinese medicine.
For example, Chinese medicine helps us see the emotions behind the organs, or the different Chinese meridians can help us see which energies in the body the balance; maybe a woman is using too much of her masculine energy or vice versa, a man hasn’t tapped in into his intuition his female energy.
So this is the sort of more holistic approach. I usually start almost every client I see with a more analytical approach. I use the allopathic approach, to begin with, so I can find out the person’s health history, their current health challenges what they want to achieve in the future; then, depending on the situation, I might prescribe additional blood work, hormonal testing, or an assessment of the client’s good health and then while we are waiting for the results of all these tests to come and of course depending on the readiness of the client I might make them aware of these energetic imbalances that Chinese medicine is giving me or the imbalances that are coming as a result of their symptoms or vice versa. Sometimes the client’s emotional issues are the drivers of the physical symptoms.
Then if that’s what happens here, if it’s appropriate for the client, we might use NLP, coaching techniques, even astrology, and human design; these are some great systems that I found very insightful for my clients, even for myself, so it just depends. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen many different approaches to health, and having all these tools helped me personalize my approach, so overall; it just depends on the person where the client is on their journey what I’m guided to do as a practitioner for this particular client what feels right for me and of course the readiness of the client to what they’re ready to work on right now. So I use all these different approaches because I genuinely believe true well-being is a process; it’s a journey, and this journey is filled with ups and downs, many adventures with many discoveries about oneself and without a different stage on that journey.
Getting on the right path
So with my clients, I see myself as someone’s well-being guide on that journey; as a guide, I might be able to take you to the end of your journey, or maybe I’ll pull you in a different direction so I can help you get on the right path for you or maybe help you meet someone right for you or maybe do the things that are right for you or maybe I’ll be the person who can point you to the right direction or introduce you to someone else who can help you just all depends so for me it’s all very very personalized.
NourishDoc: I think that makes complete sense. Earlier, nobody used to pay attention to the emotional issues and correlation of the physical I mean, I’m talking like a few years back, and we would all be in the habit of popping a pill. So, the balance of mind, body, and soul is essential. Let’s talk about your prescription on this particular subject.
Self-love, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance
Holistic Coach Maya: Yes, so for me, the prescription, it’s different for everyone, but at the core of the prescription, it all starts with self-love, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance; the reason why I believe these ingredients are at the core of my prescription are the core of the balance of mind body and soul is because what I see today is this enormous challenge of people facing this avalanche of information and health experts everywhere and there’s just so much one can do at the moment to improve their health, and often people feel lost and don’t know what to choose because there’s so much information out there. For example, at the moment, meditation is a huge thing, and everyone thinks that must be the thing that must be the holy grail.
We have superfoods, then we have CBD oil, the keto diet fasting, we have the affirmation tools manifestation of all these different techniques that people can use to improve their well-being, and for me, from all my experience throughout the years, all these are just paths leading to the same destination and the destination is wellness and self-love. So the question is, which one do we choose? Which is the path we choose? So here, I think it’s important to remember that we’re all programmed from birth to be in a certain way, to think in a certain way, and to behave with different beliefs and values. Still, these beliefs and values may not be ours at all, or maybe these beliefs and values resonate with us at the moment.
Still, they’re incorrect for us; maybe they’re not for the highest good. So for me, it’s that every person is here on earth to leave their energy imprint; we all have a purpose in our lives, and only by knowing yourself can you fulfill your true potential; nerf, at least, this is what motivates me this is what’s most important for me to truly fulfill my potential to fulfill the thing that I’m here to do genuinely and it’s not just work-related.
Using Energy For Direction
So we must remember here that we’re all energy, so we’re energy beings, and on an energy level, if we’re not doing or thinking or believing what’s correct for us, this is when it’s most likely that the disease will strike and various health issues will manifest all these imbalances in our life in our psyche in the way we’re thinking and behaving and I’m speaking from very personal experience here because this is the way it’s been for me throughout years there was a point in my life for where I found myself searching for that unique formula that would give me happiness mind body and soul balance and that one thing which would be the answer.
So I traveled a lot. I spent a couple of months in Thailand. I was alone. I meditated and did all these courses working on myself as others told me to, but my life wasn’t particularly improving; it wasn’t like the miracles you read about in the books. So then I realized that what works for one person may not work for another. Here I can tell you that certain things work for me. They work for me at this point in my life. Still, we as human beings are forever changing; we’re all work in progress, so my current formula might change in the future. Still, what should always be the same it’s the core of this formula, and that’s what I said at the beginning self-love, self-compassion being able to communicate with your true self, knowing your truth, other people call it intuition, your gut instinct for me that’s my inner higher self.
Find Your Truth
So find your truth; maybe some people find it through traveling meditation; you have to find it yourself. For me, this was the human design system because, at the moment, I find this is the most personalized way a person can work and learn about themselves from something in the external environment, but it just depends. I was lucky enough afterward, after I discovered the system, to find the right teachers, the right coaches around me to ask me the right questions so then you can become that coach for myself; you can become your teacher, and yes, healthy eating is essential exercising sleeping well eating good quality food these are all very very important. But I believe without knowing and loving yourself; you can’t have that long-term sustainable well-being; you can’t have the balance of mind, body, and soul. So yes, improve your diet and lifestyle; these are all great ways to start with, but it’s just that it just starts there’s a lot more to wellness afterward.
NourishDoc: So I think we’ve all heard about the stress and how it can add to the extra weight. So let’s talk a little about how to balance stress or if there is any correlation; what’s your advice on that?
Holistic Coach Maya: Stress is the modern pandemic; we can call that stress. Here, we need to understand that stress can be in different forms; stress can be emotional, nutritional, chemical, psychological, and hormonal, and of course, here we’re talking about excess weight. So numerous studies have shown that when you lower your stress levels when you manage your cortisol levels, you can reduce body fat levels and lower your blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, balance your blood sugar, control appetite, and therefore reduce the risk of developing any disease.
As I said at the beginning, there are many forms of stress. It’s just impossible to avoid them all, so here it’s important to identify the forms of stress that you can control in your life and then take charge, take responsibility, make the changes and, of course, work on the diet and lifestyle modifications to support and reduce that stress load on the system. So then here I can give you some of my best advice on the different techniques and ways to start reducing your stress load; you can see on the next slide as well if we move on to it the different ways so we can really help our body manage. Stress for me, managing your time is significant, so of course, planning your meals, planning your day, so you don’t stress about the different tasks you have to do; so here, when you when your limits, you can manage your time better; very important is gratitude.
So when you’re present and grateful for the things you have in your life, you can be more positive rather than focusing on what’s wrong; focus on what’s working because we are working on progress, so always remember that it’s not perfection; it’s progress. Of course, here, we can reframe the situation. So if let’s say you are arguing with someone; see it from a different perspective from a third person perspective, or maybe if something’s not working in your life right now, see the bigger picture, how the problem the challenge is helping your future, improving you to get to that goal you want to achieve so be realistic rather than as we know with many of these new age techniques you can sometimes become too positive. So it’s about being realistic when your boundaries when your limits; you can be realistic and not be a perfectionist, and here we can practice acceptance.
So it’s not just about accepting yourself and the other person for who they are, so if you’re in a love relationship, rather than trying to change the person, accept them for who they are and love them for who they are. Then they can change because they want to change, not because you want them to change in this regard; of course, cultivate empathy; empathy is being compassionate towards yourself and your challenges and helping others understand their perspective; as we often say, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
So these suggestions can help you manage your relationships and interactions with others. Still, we have your time and how you manage your internal world. Here for me, it’s essential always tell my clients to prioritize their time; some time is time you spend doing things that bring you joy, bring you happiness; it doesn’t matter what it is; it’s not supposed to be something to improve; your life it’s supposed to be something which brings you joy and inner peace so simple things like reading, walking in nature, playing with your pet hang out with friends listen to music watch tv series which are positive hopeful that make you happy of course learn to say no. I see it often with my female clients they don’t know their boundaries they don’t know when to say yes and when to say no so again when yourself and love yourself when enough is enough, and you can say no and of course avoid people who stress you out, the so-called toxic relationships and especially nowadays turn over the news because there’s so much fear going on so I would add that as well to the list yes and often because of what we see on the news because of our upbringing our limiting beliefs the things I mentioned at the beginning the way we’ve been programmed to be, we get into these pointless arguments so give pointless arguments critical to have this inner awareness of the present moment when it’s just no way of being in that conflict anymore maybe revisit the issue later.
There are many things in life we cannot control. Still, we can control our to-do list, so be more organized with your day with what you’re doing, and then, of course, we have to mention the healthy lifestyle and the things we can do with our diet. So here, for me, number one is to balance out the blood sugar your blood sugar eat every three to four hours significant to have meals that have the right amount of carbs, fat, and protein for you for your metabolic type, especially for women with the keto diet is not for everyone, fasting is not for everyone so balancing your blood sugar, especially the stress is very important.
I am a big fan of food-based supplements to support the body, especially during stress, and here, of course, to avoid sweets, sugar-processed foods, and sweetened beverages; when you do all these things, you’re also taking responsibility for yourself and for your life which is again part of my tips. When you take responsibility, you don’t let other people determine your values and manage your life because you are in charge of your life.
Then moving to exercise, of course, if you were exercised daily, you don’t have to overtrain and go to the gym every day; the body needs as much as just 30 minutes a day to get the body pumping and get the lymph system moving especially when you combine it with nature even better sleep for me that’s just almost like number one for everything because good quality sleep will help you manage your stress levels better the hormones you need for stress management will be able to get produced with good quality sleep ideally at 10 p.m. or at least be before midnight; sun exposure as I said earlier me time to have fun enjoying your life and of course I think we’ve removed the next slide we’ll see the usual cases I have in my practice and to summarize I know the previous question with stress levels you have to pick one or just a few practices that can help you. As you’ve seen in the previous slides, there are many things you can do and many things you’re going to read about on the internet. Still, they don’t work for everyone, so pick one, pick a few that work for you and stay consistent with them.
NourishDoc: Okay, so I think you talked about the imbalance, and most of your patients have imbalance issues, whether they’re hormonal or even gut health, and they’re all interconnected with the stress with all the lifestyle that we’re leading. So how do you uncover the problems and the imbalances. ?
Holistic Coach Maya: Yes, that’s true. Most of my clients have adrenal fatigue, especially females. I see vata females with hormonal imbalances and polycystic ovarian syndrome with women having issues conceiving, so I work with many women trying to get pregnant and, of course, good health issues; that’s one of my specialty dealing with parasites candida leaky gut food intolerances. So depending on the case, I will always start by taking the patient’s health history. Then whenever it’s necessary, we’re going to do appropriate testing. I work with some of the best labs in the world for parasite testing and checking for leaky gut, so we’re going to do all the necessary assessments. I use hormonal assessment as well via saliva; I have my due diligence to do the proper testing for everyone when it’s appropriate; in many cases, I do DNA testing, especially when we have female hormonal imbalances or women trying to conceive DNA is essential I mean for me DNA testing is perfect for everyone because when your genes and the things that can turn them on in the environment you can take better care of yourself, you know your weaknesses and what you can do to manage these weaknesses. So for me, DNA testing is just for everyone. Still, again it depends on the client. Then, as I said at the beginning depending on the readiness of the client, depending on the case, we can move to the non-traditional methods like Chinese medicine, NLP human design, or I can refer the client to someone else I’ve got a great network of other therapists depends on the person so for me it’s all very personalized I like to work with others. It’s all about the actual well-being of the client at the end of the day.
NourishDoc: That’s great. I think that’s fantastic work that you’re doing that you’re combining the human element with the scientific testing and bringing it all together and making it personalize prevention health care. I think that’s good; I’m not an expert; I’m not a health professional, but having interviewed so many health professionals, I think that’s the right thing to do, making it personalized based on the scientific as well as the human element. So that’s great what you’re trying to do. Thank you so much for being with us today and educating us about how we all should consider the individual approach to our health. Anything else you’d like to add, Maya, before I wrap up?
Holistic Coach Maya: Thank you very much for your time; thank everyone who joined or will be joining later. I hope I’ve helped you, and of course, if anyone has any questions feel free to reach out; everyone is different. I’ve been there, had my health issues, and been on the journey, and I’ll be happy to help.
NourishDoc: Thank you, and we are having Maya come back for a more detailed presentation in a couple of weeks or so. Please help us share these sessions; these sessions are meant to show the efficacy of natural therapies and educational sessions. Please help us share these sessions to increase awareness of natural health. Thank you so much for signing off; now this is Amita bye.