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Holistic Approach in Mental Health Treatment

Discover how a holistic approach in mental health can improve well-being and treatment outcomes here.

What Is a Holistic Approach?

Holistic treatment is a whole-person approach to medical and mental health treatment. The idea behind holistic medicine is that one can achieve optimal health by balancing all aspects of their life—physical, spiritual, social, and emotional—rather than their specific diagnosis.

When treatment providers use a holistic approach in mental health, they develop their therapy plans based on the unique treatment needs of the person. Holistic therapy plans focus on healing the individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health instead of only addressing one aspect of their needs. 

Research has indicated this method’s success in improving many adverse health symptoms and life situations, such as psychological distress, pain, physical health, medication adherence, and family outcomes.1

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Types of Holistic Treatments​

Holistic mental health treatment providers use different tools and techniques to help those wanting to put mental and physical health challenges in the past. 

Depending on the practice and the providers training, examples include:

  • Education on using self-care and lifestyle changes to promote health and wellness. These may include exercise, dietary changes, counseling, and other self-care tools.
  • Western medicine tools, surgical procedures, and pharmaceutical interventions.
  • Alternative and complementary therapies, such as massage, naturopathy, acupuncture, and others.

What Symptoms Are Engaged in Mental Health Holistic Approach Treatment?​

Mental health holistic approaches to treatment can address many different illness symptoms. Therapy with a holistic care approach considers all aspects of one’s treatment needs and goals as part of the care planning process. 

This is because it addresses a wide variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Psychiatric (mental health) symptoms

  • Medical symptoms, such as chronic pain

  • Social difficulties, such as social anxiety disorder

  • Spiritual symptoms

  • Behavioral symptoms

Alternative Holistic Approach Therapy Options​

The list of holistic healing therapies is long. There is a wide range of treatment approaches, and each holistic medicine option can address many treatment needs. 

It is important to remember that holistic (alternative) medicine, as part of a mental health treatment program, is not a substitute for evidence-based care. The most effective treatment programs combine evidence-based therapy models with holistic therapies to provide a whole-person approach to healing.

Yoga Therapy​

Yoga therapy involves using physical and spiritual practices to increase self-awareness. Examples include sound, visualization, breathing exercises, meditation, and posture work. 

Breathing exercises, specifically diaphragmatic breathing, are empirically supported, with research indicating that diaphragmatic breathing can improve attention, reduce stress, and promote mental function.2

Mindfulness Meditation​

Mindfulness meditation is a specific meditation tool. It is designed to help calm the mind and refocus on the present without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is a holistic approach in mental health that aims to improve one’s ability to cope with thoughts and feelings and foster a sense of self-awareness. One study found that mindfulness and meditation practice can complement other treatments as well as reduce anxiety for a wide variety of patients.3

Art and Music Therapies​

Art and music therapies encourage using creative expression to improve communication, self-expression, and healing. Various creative therapies include painting, drawing, dancing, role-playing, playing musical instruments, writing, and listening to music. 

Various studies conducted in hospitals found that patients who engaged in art therapy had better vitals and improved sleep quality.4

Equine Therapy​

Equine therapy uses horses as part of the therapy process. Individuals engage with the horses by feeding, leading, and grooming them. These activities help improve self-confidence, emotional regulation, and responsibility. 

Similar holistic treatment approaches, also called animal-assisted therapies, involve using other animals in the therapeutic process, such as dogs, birds, goats, and cats.


The practice of hypnotherapy involves a trained practitioner helping the patient enter a deep state of relaxation. There are different types of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. This tool can help manage symptoms of various mental health concerns, including stress, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and phobias.5

Choosing a Holistic Approach: Some Tips to Keep in Mind​

When choosing a holistic approach in mental health, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Choose the Service Provider Carefully​

Not all treatment providers include holistic medicine or holistic therapy for mental health in their treatment models. Also, some holistic approaches require specialized training to safely and effectively administer. When researching holistic therapy practitioners, consider their credentials, licensing, and availability.

Treatment Options​

When choosing a provider for holistic therapy, it is also important to inquire about the treatment options available to you. As noted above, there are many types of mental health holistic care, but not all options are ideal for everyone or all situations.

For example, a practice that utilizes animal-assisted therapy may not be a comfortable option if dogs or horses make you uncomfortable or uneasy. It is essential to choose a service provider that offers holistic options that may be of interest to you on top of evidence-based treatments to ensure your needs are properly met.

Do Your Homework​

Before choosing a treatment location, research their services, treatment options, therapy models, certifications, and licensing. You will also want to know more about how treatment services with a provider work. 

For example:

  • How are your needs, goals, and feelings about therapy incorporated into treatment planning?

  • What are treatment sessions like?

  • What time of day and how often are appointments available?

  • Is someone available around the clock if you need support?

  • Do they provide individualized treatment planning?

Asking these questions of a potential service provider can help you understand how their practice will help you as you begin and progress in your healing recovery.

Benefits of Holistic Approach in Mental Health​

A holistic treatment approach has many benefits for those with mental (and even physical) health conditions.

Diet and Physical Activity Improvement​

Holistic healthcare encourages eating a balanced, nutritious diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Both of these habits promote a healthier lifestyle and improve the sense of positive well-being. Remaining physically active also reduces the effects of physical ailments and the risk of developing illnesses.

Managing Stress​

Holistic activities like journaling, meditation, and yoga can improve stress levels and reduce anxiety. Regularly engaging in calming activities can help improve mindfulness, self-awareness, and relaxation, lessening stress and anxiety.

Helping the Mind Become a Healing Tool

Holistic medicine and holistic therapy approaches allow the body and mind to call upon their natural healing abilities to manage symptoms of illness. Using these approaches, rather than pharmaceutical interventions, teaches long-term coping strategies one can use when facing future challenges.

Other Benefits of Holistic Activities​

Other benefits of holistic activities include healthy lifestyle improvements, reduced substance use and self-medication, and increased well-being.

Holistic Approach in Mental Health Treatment at Ripple Ranch Recovery​

Ripple Ranch Recovery offers support and care using clinically proven, evidence-based treatment tools and a holistic approach in mental health. Our qualified and experienced team follows a patient-centered approach that includes mindfulness practices and a variety of holistic therapy options to help you focus on healing and achieving lasting recovery.

Our treatment plans are designed around your specific needs to help you begin taking steps forward toward achieving your emotional health goals. We are always ready and willing to provide you with information and answers to any questions you may have regarding admissions, treatment, and everything in between. 

Contact us at Ripple Ranch Recovery today to get started.