*Holistic healing is a philosophy of treatment that is in contrast to the medical model most of us are familiar with. The medical model in its most extreme form tries to see people as objects, cases, or a collection of symptoms that should be “fixed.” The assumption is that one treatment should work equally well for everyone with the same diagnosis. The task of the medical model practitioner is to narrow the options down to the one right cure. In the medical model differences between individuals are something to be ignored or overlooked. Unfortunately, for some medical model practitioners individual differences are a problem and therefore many times the patient is seen as “the problem” when they don’t fit neatly into the diagnostic box or their case becomes complex.
The medical practitioner under this model is an “expert” from whom the public seek cures that depend almost completely on the medical practitioner’s esoteric knowledge. Therefore, people often report that when their case becomes complex and their problems are not easily solved the medical practitioner may become angry or resentful, possibly because they feel their expertise is being called into question. As a consequence of this “expert” model there may be little or no partnership between the medical practitioner and the patient and there is very little participation by the patient in determining the best course of action.
Fortunately, some medical model practitioners are starting to integrate some of the thoughts and attitudes of the holistic approach. From our perspective this can only be good news for us when we still have to access these services.
The holistic approach however views patients as individuals who come with their own unique history and genetic pattern. A holistic practitioner is a partner in your health care. They look at the person as a whole, respecting the individual differences that emerge. They try to see how many different body systems including diet and nutrition, the mind, will, and emotions may be influencing the problems a given client is concerned about and discusses with the client the treatment options they may wish to pursue.
The holistic practitioner recognizes that treatments will be unique to each individual and therefore involve a process of the client coming to know what works for them. Complex cases are not a matter for anger or questioning the expertise of the practitioner but rather a source of interest for further inquiry. Through a process of trial and error clients become the expert as they learn more about themselves and which collection of treatments and modalities best support their health and wellness.
To put it most simply the medical model focuses on a specialized and ever narrowing approach to life and treatment associated with the reductionist philosophy of the scientific method.
The Holistic model in contrast focuses on a broader picture with life composed of a network of cause and effect, actions and feedback loops, with many choices and options built into the very fabric of our being. It does not throw out the scientific method but recognizes the limitations of treating people as atoms –each one exactly alike.