Holistic counseling is an opportunity for you to courageously and gently explore the thoughts, behaviors, feelings, patterns and habits that keep you from living the life you love. Many “automatic” patterns of behavior are rooted in experiences of the past, to different degrees of severity. Nearly everyone can identify elements of neglect, abuse, abandonment, trauma, loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression in their childhood as well as adult life. You may find yourself at a point where the pain and discomfort are blocking your ability to live life freely and fully, and here is where holistic counseling may support you. Some specific areas of specialty include addiction, codependency, anxiety, attachment and relationships.
The word addiction may conjure up an extreme image of an alcoholic or drug addict whose life has been overtaken by their habits, however, addiction can simply be anything you do to a degree of excess that it has adverse effects on your health (mental, emotional, spiritual), finances, relationships, and essentially the things that are most important to you. This could include things like eating, exercising, working, alcohol, drugs, spending money, sex, relationships, obsessing, and perfectionism. Another quality of addictive, compulsive behaviors is a feeling and likely a reality of losing control, losing the choice of whether or not to engage. Underneath the addiction often lives its close companion – codependency. Codependency is characterized by a loss of self, combined with a very strong focus on others. Dependency, control, low self-esteem, inability to be closely connected, perfectionism, isolation, anxiety and depression tend to accompany codependency, as does addictive or problematic behaviors. Often times trauma (small t and big T traumas) underlie both of these patterns.
Anxiety unto itself is not a restrictive emotional experience – it’s all the matter of degree. Each of us needs a certain level of anxiety to motivate us into action, to sharpen our focus so we can perform well. It’s when anxiety levels become uncomfortable, painful, distracting and eventually disabling that we may want to explore and address it. Anxiety is frequently experiences in the mind through racing thoughts, worry thoughts, obsessive thoughts and inability to focus. It pervades the body and often results in pain in the stomach, shortness of breath, or even to the point of paralyzing taking any action. On an emotional level, anxiety can also lead to depression, creating an additional layer of feelings to navigate. Anxiety can be experienced at many different levels, and caused by a variety of things. An anxious attachment style is a common cause – this style of being in relationship is based in fear of being left, fear of being unlovable. It can often be a self-fulfilling prophecy as the control and manipulation that comes with trying to prevent abandonment often drives others away.
You may have heard it said, relationships are usually the place where we experience the most pain and trauma, and yet it is through relationships that we can find deep and much needed healing. Our most immediate and significant relationship begins with our primary caretakers – these experiences create the blueprint for our patterns of relating with others, and left without awareness or attention, those patterns can wreak havoc in our other relationships – siblings, co-workers, bosses, significant others, children, friends and in the community at large. The common thread among all these relationships, is perhaps the most significant relationship, and that is the one you have with yourself. Life experience may have brought you to a place of self-doubt, insecurity, guilt, shame, self-hatred and self-harming. Relationships are diverse, complex and 100% necessary to your ability to heal and thrive.