At Family STAR, we believe that clients who utilize alternative approaches with traditional counseling and support see incredibly positive results. Experiencing an in-office counseling session with healing scents coming from a diffuser has been cited for many as a very positive experience. From utilizing essential oils in a diffuser to massage or Reiki or aroma therapy, Family STAR provides an out of the box approach to the services offered. These creative services are optional but can certainly aid in one’s experience.
Why Do We Offer Alternative Therapies?
More and more western medical practitioners are citing that when used together, complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, may be beneficial to many of their patients/clients. CAM represents a large and diverse group of practices such as Reiki, massage, and acupuncture. Health care professionals who practice integrative medicine may use a combination of conventional and alternative treatments.
Christine Ciecierski Berger, an Affiliate Faculty member at Loyola University and Stevenson University in Maryland published a paper entitled, Integrative Mental Health and Counseling: Research Considerations and Best Practices. Berger’s clinical work has focused on trauma and women’s issues and her research interests explore the combination of complementary and alternative therapies with mental health counseling.
Berger’s paper arose due to the work of psychiatrist James Lake in the practice of Integrative Mental Health (IMH) (Lake, 2009).
It seems that IMH is a model Lake describes netting a multitude of encouraging results. The evidence shows that the proposed model of IMH seems to provide many benefits in mental health treatment and wellness promotion, and the evidence is beginning to show that CAM therapies help improve anxiety and depression (Kabat-Zinn et al., 1992; Miller, Fletcher, & Kabat-Zinn,1995; Pilkington, 2010).
Additionally, diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, and meditation practices such as mindfulness or Transcendental Meditation have been utilized in treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Gehrman & Harb, 2010; Nappi, Drummond, Thorp & McQuaid, 2010) with promising results.
In the Fall 2017 edition of Holistic Nursing Practice, Doctors Zeynep Erdoğan and Derya Atik cite that alternative methods are found to be “especially helpful in the treatment of the stresses, anxieties, and other symptoms of unstable patients in the intensive care unit who do not tolerate traditional treatment methods well, increasing their psychological and physiological well-being, helping them sleep and rest.” They further explain that body-mind interventions such as massage, reflexology, acupressure, aromatherapy, music therapy, energy therapies (healing touch, therapeutic touch, the Yakson method)” are being utilized in order to “decrease the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation, antiemetic and medicine needs, mechanical ventilation duration, and the intensity of the disease as well as to cope with symptoms such as pain, anxiety, physiological parameters, dyspnea, and sleep problems.”
What an incredible link – integrating traditional mental health counseling with a progressive holistic approach!
The following wellness services are provided as stand alone or with traditional counseling services. They may be offered onsite at Family STAR or be provided by referral to others with your community.
None of the services below should be used as a substitute for medical care or mental health care, they can however an incredible addition to one’s daily care and can truly benefit one’s physical and mental health.
Reiki, pronounced Ray-Key, is a Japanese healing technique in which the practitioner channels energy to the patient by means of touch. The hope is that it will activate the natural healing process allowing the body to be restored to emotional and physical wellness. Individuals suffering from trauma, or other physical and emotional pain have found much success with Reiki. Reiki in fact is often used with animals as well. With the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives, the daily stresses we endure, it is incumbent on all of us to practice positivity. Reiki is all about positivity.
Yoga is a practice helping us use both mind and body. Using breathing techniques, exercise and meditation, Yoga (which means union or connection) is said to improve health and some will say, happiness as well! In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is used to signify any form of connection.
Meditation is a learned approach that requires mindfulness. Yes, “Meditation” and “Mindfulness” are buzzwords today and we are all for it. Yogis have been practicing Dhyana (meditation) for years. The goal of meditation is to focus and quieting one’s mind allowing peace and healing to occur.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin in very specific parts of the body and by doing so, acupuncturists believe that one’s energy flow will rebalance itself helping with pain by stimulating nerves, muscles or connective tissue – kind of like boosting the body’s natural painkillers. Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture is used as a method for balancing the flow of energy or life force known as Qi or Chi (pronounced CHEE) that is believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in the body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
There are all types of spiritual counselors – some are denominational and others are not specific to religious at all and incorporate several different spiritual aspects into counseling. Generally spiritual counselors believe there is a force that interconnects each of us to the world.
What we eat affects how we feel and in essence who we are. Whether focusing on an adult’s or child’s needs (especially international adoptees) and older child adoptees may greatly benefit from nutritional advice and support.
The kneading of muscles in the body may assist with physical and emotional healing. Massage stimulates circulations, helps toxins release from the body and promotes relaxation.
Aromatherapy or essential oils therapy, uses a plant’s aroma-producing oils (essential oils) as treatment. Essential oils are taken from a plant’s flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. The oils may be sprayed in the air, inhaled or used in a diffuser. Using essential oils is fascinating and can be utilized during the work or school day. It has been a positive compliment to traditional therapies.
Emotionally Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is a practical mind and body approach utilizing mindful and intentional tapping (gently with fingertips) on acupuncture pathways (meridians) on the face and upper body.
Reflexology is the application of pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears for the purpose of decreasing stress, alleviating anxiety and depression and enhancing relaxation. Reflexologists believe that these reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them creates benefits for a person’s health.