The Importance of Holistic Recovery Models

by Jennifer Flynn
Ecotherapist and Admissions Specialist at Essence Recovery Center in Asheville, NC

Recovery is a difficult path, whether it is recovery from alcohol, food or drug addiction or simply recovery from an unhealthy lifestyle. The traditional treatment models for recovery often approach the healing process using a single modality. While use of one modality may heal a portion of the person in recovery, for truly successful recovery it is necessary to address the recovery of the whole person. This means incorporating treatments to improve the psychological, physical and spiritual being of a client.

These three aspects of a recovering person are integral. Without the appropriate combination of therapies, a treatment model only touches on issues that are inter-related. At the physical level, biochemical make-up predisposes individuals to a particular addiction or pattern of thinking. If the physical is ignored, the mind and spirit also suffer. The body is our primary vehicle for being in the world. If something needs healing in the body, this influences the ability to think clearly and to develop a strong spiritual life. Fortunately, the use of herbs, supplements, and dietary modification are receiving attention from recovery professionals as important tools in the treatment of addiction and lifestyle disorders. These treatments combined with exercise and therapeutic bodywork allow for the vehicle of the body to run smoothly.

Addiction and lifestyle issues are often approached as solely psychological disorders that can be treated through psychotherapy. As biochemistry is corrected, thought improves and motivation to commit to a change in lifestyle arises. It is true that changing the way a person thinks will change their behavior. If thought processes are learned, education is needed to eliminate old thought patterns and re-learn healthy ways of thinking. As a personís thought improves they are able to explore deeper aspects of their emotional life. Emotional patterns have serious affects on lifestyle choices and spirituality. Psychological work to improve thought and emotional patterns is another key to unlocking a personís full health potential.

Spirituality is often seen as the cornerstone of recovery. Spirit can direct us to lead healthy lives. If spirit is neglected, manifestations of such neglect will surface as mental and physical disorders. If a person is suffering physically, even if they experience the physical disorder as psychological, spirit becomes of less concern and attention is focused on the prevailing symptoms. Modalities such as meditation, prayer and ceremony will benefit people undergoing treatment by allowing time to reconnect to their spiritual self.

People facing health challenges, regardless of the presentation of the illness, need to improve the health of the mind, body and spirit. When neglect of a part of the person compounds the problematic behavior, treatment professionals must be mindful that treatment is not a continuation of such neglect. Health of the whole person must be the goal for all healers.

Jennifer Flynn is an Ecotherapist and Admissions Specialist at Essence Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina, a holistic treatment center for addictions and other health afflictions. For more information, please contact Essence Recovery Center at (828) 658-8198 or email email. Visit the website at

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