Changing Thought Patterns: A Holistic Approach

May 25, 2023
birds fly over ocean

Humans are holistic and spiritual beings. Thus, when we change thought patterns and create new perspectives, the whole person, the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the individual are affected.

A holistic approach considers the “whole” person and includes a union of body, mind, and spirit awareness. The integration of Reiki, shamanism, and other energy healing modalities with psychotherapy is a holistic practice that considers a healing of the “whole” person.

A holistic philosophy refers to the health and wellbeing of an individual as the dynamic balance and harmonious energy flow of the spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, interpersonal, and environmental aspects of a living Being (Jain,, 2015). This philosophy believes that the various parts of a Being work together to create a healthy system. Holism refers to a “scientific concept stating that the properties of a system, whether it is biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, or linguistic, cannot be explained by the properties of it component parts” (Oschman, 2016, p. 147). Simply, parts of a system are best understood when looking at how the parts interact with one another and the system as a whole.

The term “holistic” became popular in the 1980’s and refers to the awareness of an individual’s power and responsibility to maintain their good health (Capra and Luisi, 2014). Because people are unique and complex beings, factors such as personality, genetics, environment, and spiritual connection and the interaction of each factor influence and govern how an individual relates to another and to the world (Beck, 1999). A person’s perspective of the world and the thought processes that created this perspective determine a person’s health and wellbeing.

For example, a negative thought process impacts how an individual perceives the world.

“I am not good enough and will never be worthy of happiness.” This perspective and belief could cause biological symptoms and disorders, such as major depressive disorders. Depression manifests with physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual issues and disturbances.

Depression is not just a thought or an emotion, but is held in the physical body. Cognitively, an individual may have trouble focusing or concentrating and completing tasks which may be accompanied with pessimistic thinking. Extreme and persistent sadness, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, and inappropriate guilt, emptiness, apathy, and difficulty thinking or focusing are also symptoms of depression. A depressed individual may experience changes in sleep, sexual activity, and appetite. Physical symptoms of low energy, fatigue, insomnia, and hypersomnia may be present (Sadock et al., 2015). Additionally, depressed individuals tend to withdraw or isolate from family and friends (Preston et al., 2013; Sadock et al., 2015). Additionally, because humans are spiritual beings, the spiritual essence of a person is impacted by depression.

It is a holistic approach to mental health therapy that considers the energy systems and fields of the human body and the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual blocks that may arise due to life circumstances.

Life Force Energy of the Universe flows through all living things.

In the holistic belief system, illness and injury are often the result of disharmony in the mind- body-spirit relationship. Eastern philosophy believes that Universal life force energy flows through all life and is responsible for maintaining life in the physical form. The natural state of the body is health (Judith, 2005). When this life force energy is no longer present, the physical form dies. If there is a block in the flow of the life force energy, sickness or disease of the body, mind, or spirit result.

Disease and illness result as imbalances or disruptions in the harmony of the energy patterns. Healing is then the restoration of balance and harmony to the energy systems (Jain et al., 2015).

The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy can treat physical, psychological, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual issues. 

There is not a single treatment that is effective for treating all issues and diseases. A unidimensional model does not consider the body as an energetic system that works with interactions that are influenced by a variety of biological, emotional, physical, neurological and spiritual pathways. An integrative, holistic approach to healing, one that considers all aspects of a person, is needed.



  • Beck, J. R. (1999). Jesus & personality theory: Exploring the five-factor model. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • Capra, F. & Luisi, P. L. (2014). The system view of life: A unifying vision. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jain, S., Daubenmier, J., Muehsam, D., Rapgay, L., & Chopra, D. (2015). Indo-Tibetan Philosophical and Medical Systems: Perspectives on the Biofield. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 4(Suppl), 16.
  • Judith, A. (2005). Wheels of life: A user’s guide to the chakra system (2nd ed.). St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.
  • Oschman, J. L. (2016). Energy medicine: The scientific basis, 2e. (2nd ed.). New York: Elsevier.
  • Preston, J. D, O’Neal, J. H., Talaga, M. C. (2013). Handbook of clinical psychopharmacology for therapists. (7th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
  • Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry. (11th ed.). New York: Wolters Kluwer.

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