The millions of individuals suffering clinical or symptomatic depression can experience great benefit from some specific attention to their own health as well as guidance from a health professional who understands the basic tenets of natural medicine.
Natural medicine, including herbs, diet, and other non-invasive therapies, is particularly appropriate in treating the underlying causes and symptoms associated with depression.
Unlike conventional, allopathic medicine, natural medicine works in a gradual manner and is consistent with the rhythms of nature. Historically, there has been a commitment in medicine to do no harm, and when you are using natural methods, such as herbs and nutrition, the likelihood of doing harm is drastically reduced.
I have a holistic approach to psychotherapy, combining the knowledge I gained from a Bachelors in Communication, Masters and Ph.D. in Psychology, and Doctorate in Naturopathy. I blend this education and my other training in order to provide a truly integrated approach to mental health.
Counseling and Natural Remedies
Therapists who use natural remedies for depression treat the whole person, calling on science and a person’s innate qualities to stimulate healing. Naturopathic psychotherapy is the belief in and support of the psyche’s capacity to restore itself to a state of health from the effects of trauma, abuse, and cumulative stress.
The therapist’s role is in depression counseling is to guide the patient’s restoration process by increasing awareness and consciousness regarding the identification and use of his own inherent resources. The therapy itself draws on the therapist’s and patient’s relationship with nature as the primary context in which core transformation and healing occurs. Core transformation refers to the process of awakening to a greater understanding of oneself and one’s environment.
Naturopathic therapy is based on the premise of educating the patient on how to be responsible for their own health care. For example, I teach my clients about self care and make recommendations with regards to treatment options, both allopathic and complementary.
Natural Medicine and Depression Therapy
Because disorders are often affected by our emotions and state of mind, naturopathic therapy attempts to obtain emotional balance. This involves diagnosing and removing the disturbing emotional causes, whether psychological or physiological. Just as in any type of psychotherapy, referrals to outside sources, such as medical doctors, are given as needed.
In naturopathic therapy, the patient is not regarded as having a mind in a body, but as constituting a mind-body-spirit unity. Mental-emotional, physical, and spiritual factors act and react upon each other, producing either health or disease.
The Principles of Naturopathic Therapy
Naturopathic Therapy holds the same principles as naturopathic medicine, which are founded on principles formulated from the observation of health and disease, and examined in light of scientific analysis. The principles address the psychological, physiological and spiritual nature of the person and distinguish naturopathic therapy from other approaches.
First do no harm. Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. Symptoms are an expression of the life force attempting to heal itself. The naturopath’s treatment must support the healing power of nature and therapy must be congruent with the internal order of the organism.
Utilize the healing power of nature. Each person has the inherent ability to establish, maintain and restore their health. The naturopathic psychotherapist’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to act to identify and remove obstacles to health and aid recovery.
Identify and treat the cause. Underlying causes of disease must be treated before a person can recover. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, and should not be suppressed by treatment. The naturopathic psychotherapist evaluates underlying causes on all levels, addressing causes rather than symptoms.
Treat the whole person. Health and disease are conditions of the entire organism, involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. The naturopath must treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account.
The best healer is a teacher. A cooperative psychotherapist-patient relationship is, in itself, therapeutic. The therapist’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for health, and to be a catalyst for healthful change. It is the patient, not the therapist, who ultimately creates or accomplishes healing.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The ultimate goal of naturopathic psychotherapy is prevention, accomplished through education and promotion of life-habits that create good health. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting disease.
Why Naturopathic Therapy Works
Rather than approaching emotional health from a strictly psychological approach, the naturopath therapist seeks to create a synergistic effect by combining various modes of healing. Each method that is used builds upon the others to create a more powerful catalyst for change.
The principle of synergism is the foundation of many ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbalism. In herbalism, for example, herbs are used in certain combination to achieve a specific synergistic effect. In naturopathic therapy, combining certain methods often result in a more profound and lasting change than therapy alone.