Defined by Psychology School Guide in an online article that gives vital information as to what a wellness counselor is, it defines wellness counseling as a form of counseling in which “integrates physical, social and spiritual health into the treatment model” (Psychology School Guide). In other words, the idea of wellness counseling is to incorporate various types of therapy in which puts an emphasis on a holistic approach in order to help heal various parts of the patient’s life and focus on their overall wellness instead of just focusing on their main issue or disorder.
The idea of alternative treatments of wellness counseling includes various techniques of therapy that come in all different forms. Seeing as how someday I would like to have a career in the counseling field, I personally believe that I would use various types of alternative treatments while dealing with wellness counseling. The main three that I would like to focus on and work with someday include mindfulness meditation, music therapy, and art therapy. Seeing as how these three types of therapy range their focus from physical health to mental health, I believe that these three types of therapy would be great alternative treatments of wellness counseling.
Mindfulness meditation is considered to be a form of mental practice that teaches you how to slow down any speeding thoughts, and how to let go of negativity in order to calm both your mind and soul. Seeing as how this approach is something that primarily focuses on mental health within physical activity, this method would be a great way to work with clients in a unique way rather than just utilizing talk-therapy. While this could be an activity done within therapy as guided practice the first couple of times, I feel that this would be best done as a form of homework in order to allow the client to self-reflect and dig deep within their minds in the privacy and safety of their preferred space.
I would have the client set an alarm for either 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their level of comfortability with the method, find a comfortable place in which they won’t experience any stiff muscles or irritability, and have them meditate and focus on letting go of negative experiences and thoughts. By sitting and letting their mind naturally flush out the toxins that reside within, they are given the ability to slow down their minds and dig into the subconscious and conscious issues that they are facing. Having them focus on maintaining their breathing will incorporate the form of physical activity, and having them focus on calming their mind and body will incorporate a mental and potentially spiritual form of activity as well.
Once the client is finished with their meditation session, whether they can successfully go as long as 30 to 45 minutes or not, I would have them write down their immediate thoughts and feelings post-meditation in order to be able to discuss it in our next session. By allowing the client to do this activity on their own, I feel as if it would be much more comfortable on their end, and act as a way to get the most accurate reflection seeing as how they may not wish to partake in what could be a very personal and intimate activity in front of someone else. By partaking in mindfulness meditation, the client strays away from the typical talk-therapy approach and is given the opportunity to explore their own mind in a unique way in which helps them reflect on their own wellness.
Another unique form of alternative treatments within wellness counseling includes music therapy. While I have never personally experienced or dealt with music therapy, it is a form of treatment in which I have always been interested in due to my personal loving of music. According to The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), music therapy can be defined as a form of therapy in which “music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals” (AMTA, 2011a). Music therapy was designed in order to help promote wellness, manage stress, express feelings, and promote physical rehabilitation.
I would incorporate music therapy within my client’s treatment plan if they perhaps had a difficult time expressing their emotions, or how they were feeling in regard to whatever issue they are having. By tapping into the elements of sound, the client would be able to use it as an outlet for their feelings. When thinking about music therapy, I believe there could be two valuable forms of introducing it to a client. The first approach that I believe to be beneficial would be to have a few pieces or songs picked out prior to meeting with my client, based off of their thoughts and issues brought up in our previous sessions, and have them listen to those pieces while reflecting on how the music personally made them feel.
After allowing them to listen to the pieces, I would have them describe their feelings and reflections about the piece and connect it to their own wellness or whatever is taking away from their overall wellness. The second approach that I believe to be beneficial is having the client either create forms of music in which they feel accurately showcases their internal feelings and emotions or having the client bring in pieces of their choosing that they feel accurately encompasses the thoughts and emotions they are currently dealing with in order to listen and eventually chat about those thoughts and reflections.
While ultimately, this form of therapy would lead to a bit of the normalized talk-therapy, it adds a creative element into the sessions in order to help alleviate the normative focus from talk-therapy to more of a creative and self-therapeutic focus. By partaking in music therapy, the client is given the opportunity to use a creative outlet in order to represent the mental and perhaps physical aspects of their lives without having to directly speak about it. This alleviates the pressure of having to directly speak about the client’s feelings and mental state and gives the client the opportunity to externalize their own personal experiences through a creative outlet that could be beneficial to their overall wellness rather than just fixating on one specific area of discontent.
The last form of alternative treatment that I believe I will find beneficial in my future career as a mental health professional is different forms of art therapy. Art therapy is something that I have been interested in for quite a long time due to the fact that I am interested in how using a creative outlet, regardless of talent and skill, can be so beneficial to overall wellness. Art therapy is generally used to help people with their own self-awareness, explore their emotions, address unresolved emotional conflicts, and improve social skills and sometimes self-esteem.
Seeing as how artistic experience and ability have little to do with the ability to be successful in this form of therapy, I find that this form of therapy can be a great way to deal with internalized issues while indulging in perhaps a new and exciting activity. One form of art therapy that I particularly enjoy is the making of a collage. I would most likely have my client do a mixture of drawing, painting, coloring, and cutting out images from various magazines in order to create their own collage representative of how they are feeling. By simply organizing images, the client is given a less threatening way to express their internal thoughts and feelings due to the fact that this activity would be more focused on the construction of all of the thoughts and feelings within them, rather than the deconstruction of the issues they are having which is usually utilized in talk-therapy.
I feel as if this would be a better way to focus on overall wellness counseling due to the fact that this activity would allow clients to take into account various aspects of each division of their lives when creating the collage rather than just simply talking about one instance in particular. I believe that this form of therapy could be one of the most beneficial, despite its lack of inclusion within the mental health profession, due to the fact that it is a form that allows clients to work on their overall wellness along with all of the issues that they are currently facing in one activity. By partaking in art therapy, clients are given the opportunity to address conscious and subconscious thoughts and feelings through the construction of essentially their own mind within the form of a collage.
The idea of wellness counseling is to incorporate various types of therapy in which puts an emphasis on a holistic approach in order to help heal various parts of the client’s life and place a focus on their overall wellness instead of isolating one particular issue or disorder. There are various forms of alternative treatments of wellness counseling that place focus on something other than the typical form of talk-therapy, however, I personally see myself using meditation, music therapy and art therapy within my holistic approach to wellness counseling due to the fact that these forms of therapy give clients the opportunity to externalize all repressed feelings through creative and intimate acts without initially having to directly speak upon these feelings and emotions.
All three of these forms of therapy allow clients to place a holistic view of their issues and emotions into whatever activity they are participating in by allowing them to dig into all aspects of their lives in order to reflect or create one experience as a whole. By partaking in alternative treatments of wellness counseling, clients are given the opportunity to express their internalized feelings and emotions through activities more comfortable and exciting than traditional talk-therapy.