top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

When beginning mental and behavioral health services with new clients I find it useful to explore what expectations people have for their care. The answers vary widely.

For individuals seeking medication treatment, I assist by encouraging clients to consult with a primary care provider or psychiatrist. If specialized psychological testing and assessment is requested, I invite people to contact a psychologist.

I don’t treat groups, families, couples, or minors, so I also assist with directing potential clients in the proper direction for those services. Additionally, referrals may be given if clients require care beyond my scope of practice and if ongoing care indicates a clinical need.

As a counselor and social worker, practicing as a psychotherapist, I try to clarify my approach to helping people as early in the therapeutic process as possible. Clients are informed that I practice Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and I answer any questions people have about this form of treatment.

For a more in-depth understanding about how I use REBT, you are invited to review a blog entry I posted entitled Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

Clients often express surprise when discovering that I incorporate a holistic approach with my practice. Typically, the following are examples with which I encourage clients to engage outside of session:

· Making improvements in nutrition and physical activity levels

· Seeking self-care activities (i.e., acupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation, etc.)

· Making use of self-soothing techniques (i.e., listening to music, watching a movie, doing a facial mask, etc.)

· Participating in other non-clinical therapies (i.e., art, music, or equine therapy, etc.)

· Engaging in other well-rounded elements of care (i.e., psychiatric, medical, social, spiritual, lifestyle, behavioral, etc.)

What is the purpose of these holistic measures?

While there remain notable criticisms of the research, the Rat Park series of studies conducted in the 1970s highlighted the importance of environmental enrichment. The researcher was said to have “constructed Rat Park with wheels and balls for play, plenty of food and mating space, and 16-20 rats of both sexes mingling with one another.”

While the study used rodents and addressed addiction, one may argue that the results are applicable to humans experiencing mental health symptoms. Research with similar results has been observed regarding people in solitary confinement.

Think of how your life may have been impacted during COVID-19 quarantine/lockdowns. Social isolation is said to be linked to sleeplessness, reduced immune function, poor cardiovascular health, reduced cognitive function, and increased probability for aggravation of mental illness symptoms (e.g., suicidality).

One source adds, “Detrimental effects on mental health are expected to arise with isolation, neglect, and loneliness.” Another source reports, “Physical activities will not only improve physical health but will also improve the psychological well-being of individuals.”

I can imagine at least one individual claiming that there is no correlation between holistic treatment and improved mental health symptoms. After all, the pathological medical theory of health within the United States is said to largely ignore a holistic approach.

Perhaps rigid focus on one clinical intervention is all one deems necessary to address mental health. Take these meds, receive that “talk therapy,” and feel better, right?

To that I ask, what’s the harm in assuring that a person receives improved sleep, more exercise, better nutrition, healthier social support, and other factors that may lead to an overall subjective improvement of health in addition to other common mental health strategies?

For me, the answer is clear. I encourage you to explore what holistic approaches may best serve you.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

If my approach to REBT sounds like something in which you may be interested, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

Illustration by Brittany England.


Abramson, A. (2021, May 24). Do primary care providers prescribe meds for mental health? The Paper Gown. Retrieved from

Albert Ellis Institute, The. (n.d.). Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association. (2009). Different approaches to psychotherapy. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association. (2019, October 31). Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association. (2013). Understanding psychological testing and assessment. Retrieved from

American Psychological Association. (2019, December 11). What do practicing psychologists do? Retrieved from

Coppola, F. (2019, October). The brain in solitude: an (other) eighth amendment challenge to solitary confinement. Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Retrieved from

DreamLife Recover. (n.d.). Mind, body, soul: A holistic approach to mental health. Retrieved from

Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from

Gage, S. H. & Sumnall, H. R. (2018, October 27). Rat park: How a rat paradise changed the narrative of addiction. Society for the Study of Addiction. Retrieved from

Ganesan, B., Al-Jumaily,, A., Fong, K. N. K., Prasad, P., Meena, S. K., & Tong, R. K. (2021, April 16). Impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak quarantine, isolation, and lockdown policies on mental health and suicide. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Retrieved from

Gupta, S. (2021, August 10). What is couples therapy? Verywell Mind. Retrieved from

Hairston, S. (n.d.). Is it good enough to go to your doctor or do you need to see a psychiatrist? Our decision-making guide. Open Counseling. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Jain, A., Bodicherla, K. P., Raza, Q., & Sahu, K. K. (2020, October 30). Impact on mental health by “Living in isolation and quarantine” during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Retrieved from

L., S. (2019, October 30). What you need to know about the rat park addiction study. Serenity at Summit. Retrieved from

La Noce, A. (2020, December 30). Benefits of holistic approach to mental health. La Noce Psychiatry. Retrieved from

Lifeskills South Florida. (2022, March 10). 7 tips to manage your sleep in mental health recovery. Retrieved from

MacBride, K. (2017, September 5). The 38-year-old study is still spreading bad ideas about addiction. The Outline. Retrieved from

Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. (2008). Psychopharmacological Treatment. Science Direct. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Family therapy. Retrieved from

McClanahan, K. K., Huff, M. B., & Omar, H. A. (2006, March 14). Holistic health: Does it really include mental health? University of Kentucky. Retrieved from

MinuteVideos Portfolio. (2016, November 16). Addiction an [sic] the rat park experiments - Short version [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Mirmont Treatment Center. (2021, August 1). What is a holistic approach to mental health? Main Line Health. Retrieved from

Modern Therapy. (2020, May 9). Self-soothing vs. self-care: Strategies for reducing stress. Retrieved from

National Academies of Sciences, The. (2015, December 29). Improving diagnosis in health care. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from

National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.). Ethical standard of the month: 1.16 referral for services. Retrieved from

National Institute of Mental Health, The. (2021, June). Psychotherapies. Retrieved from

Northern Kentucky University. (2021, July 13). A holistic approach to mental health. Retrieved from

Northwestern University. (n.d.). What is counseling? Retrieved from

Radcliffe, S. (2018, November 1). Researchers want to know if probiotics can affect mental health. Healthline. Retrieved from

Radhakrishnan, R. (2020, November 12). What exactly does a psychotherapist do? MedicineNet. Retrieved from

Retreat Behavioral Health. (n.d.). Behavioral health vs. mental health: What’s the difference? Retrieved from

Riopel, L. (2019, September 25). 26 mental health exercises & interventions based on science. Positive Psychology. Retrieved from

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. (2020, December 8). Understanding the effects of social isolation on mental health. Tulane University. Retrieved from

Social Work License Map. (n.d.). What is social work? Retrieved from

Texas Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Mental health counseling services for children. Retrieved from

Thorell, A. (2021, August 23). Distinguishing health from pathology. The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy. Retrieved from

True Life Center. (2021, July 1). The benefits of holistic treatment for mental health conditions. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Environmental enrichment. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Rat park. Retrieved from

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page