A health and wellness article on alternative medicine defines holistic psychology as "a means of perceiving wellness in the whole person, which includes mind, body, and spirit." The goal of attaining wholeness in these three areas may be reached in a number of ways; holistic psychology is just one of many paths.
Holistic psychologists are different from their traditional counterparts because they focus on more than just the mind. The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) states that holistic health encourages balance and integration of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves; respectful relationships with others and the environment; wellness-oriented lifestyle choices; and active participation in health decisions and healing processes. If you embrace these principles and wish to help clients achieve mental and emotional harmony through the practice of holistic psychology, consider this new and exciting field.
According to YourFamilyClinic.com, standard psychology alone does not consider all the possibilities for healing. The term holistic psychology was developed to broaden the science to include a view of the entire spectrum of behavior and to consider areas that thus far have been overlooked or perhaps deemed beyond the sphere of scientific inquiry for psychology. With this in mind, the practice of holistic psychology weaves the current knowledge of traditional psychology with the hypothetical aspects that have been labeled as outside the mainstream of scientific study.
If you are interested in holistic psychology, it does not mean that scientific inquiry or methods of practice are not welcome. Instead, holistic psychologists seek to bring the best of both worlds together as they evaluate the whole person for treatment. Holistic psychologists are encouraged to seek creative approaches that integrate multiple methods and consider the interrelationships impacting a person's mental and emotional well-being.
Practicing Holistic Psychology
Holistic psychologists use a number of methods in treating clients: individual/group counseling, testing, educational programs, relaxation/assertiveness training, polarity therapy, massage therapy or body release work, and dietary counseling, to name a few.
As with other holistic careers, the length of time spent in training to pursue a career in holistic psychology varies; some programs last a few months, others may last a few years. Many programs lead to licensure, others may lead to a master's degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics affirms the rapid growth of alternative health careers like holistic psychology: a total of 580,000 establishments make up the health care industry, nearly 77 percent of which are offices of physicians, dentists, or other health practitioners (holistic health practitioners of all types fall under this category). Another positive indicator of this industry's stability: seven of the 20 fastest-growing occupations are health care related. Finally, health care will generate three million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry, so if you want to be a holistic psychologist, the prospects are good.
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