Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D., LMFT
San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy
(408) 264-3082

We are astoundingly resilient beings. The body can heal itself; from the smallest cut to life-threatening illness. Our mental health can be healed in the same manner. But just as we sometimes need the help of a health care professional for our physical ailments, we often need help to heal the ...We are astoundingly resilient beings. The body can heal itself; from the smallest cut to life-threatening illness. Our mental health can be healed in the same manner. But just as we sometimes need the help of a health care professional for our physical ailments, we often need help to heal the broken areas of our
emotional self as well. When it comes to emotional healing, there are a myriad of approaches, from traditional methods like psychotherapy to less conventional ones, like nutrition.

In this modern era, there are as many treatment alternatives for psychiatric disorders as there are for medical problems. Yet, the question of whether to use standard, complementary or alternative therapies is often a matter of what is available. For example, if you’re experiencing depression in Europe, you’ll have a much easier time finding a medical doctor to prescribe the herb St. John’s wort than you will if you live in the United States. This is because herbal medicine is considered the first standard of care among many European medical doctors, whereas drug therapy is generally the first choice of U.S. physicians. This is not to imply that drugs are bad, but limited options do translate into a limited standard of care when methods that may be the most beneficial are not available in some instances.

In order to understand the significance of combining psychotherapy with complementary and alternative therapies (CATS), it’s useful to have a little background on both.
Most people are familiar with the practitioner terms "therapist," "psychotherapist" or "marriage family therapist." All of these titles help differentiate the counseling mental health professional from other types of therapists, such as a massage or physical therapist.

What exactly does a psychotherapist do? It varies widely depending on theoretical background and personal preference. Generally speaking, psychotherapists counsel individuals, families and groups about psychological well-being. As you can imagine, this can cover a broad amount of subject matter since all the aspects of our lives - physical, emotional, and spiritual - affect us psychologically.

A psychotherapist theoretical approach has a lot to do with the school he or she attends. Other influences include special trainings, and certifications and, of course, the person with whom the therapist is working.

A psychotherapist apt to combine natural methods of healing, such as naturopathy and nutrition, would be holistic in nature. Holistic psychotherapists use any of a wide variety of techniques, such as somatic methods of healing that involve touch. When treating a patient, the holistic psychotherapist considers the whole person; mind, body and spirit.
There are many different approaches to psychotherapy, but all effective therapy shares common elements, such as helping the client to process life events and improve overall functioning. As to which type of psychotherapy works best, there is no simple answer. Just as people respond differently to various foods and drugs, the same therapeutic approach won't work for everyone. Many people find that a blended approach - one that draws on elements of different schools of psychotherapy - works best.

When we put the fate of our health in the hands of others, we’re apt to be disappointed. Ultimately, we must take responsibility for own health and become educated. A growing body of evidence has demonstrated the powerful effect that complementary and alternative therapies—like nutrition and lifestyle—have on our psychological well-being.

To learn more, visit http://healingandwholeness.org.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. is the author of Healing and Wholeness: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health and Fasting: An Exceptional Human Experience. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and accreditations as a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Hypnotherapist, and Registered Addiction Specialist. She provides counseling and psychotherapy in San Jose, California. To learn about her private practice, visit her website http://DrRandiFredricks.com.