Holistic Approach

The Relationship Between the Parts

People misuse the word, “holistic”. This week, we are going to bring it all back home.  Bring it back down to the grassroots, to its intended meaning and purpose. Note, we can also write “holistic” as “wholistic,” even though your spell checker may not agree. The alternative spelling gives us a much better clue as to the meaning of this misunderstood word. Holism is where the idea of a holistic approach comes from in the first place. It is a philosophy that states that the parts that make up a whole are interdependent and contribute to the whole in a way that is more valuable than the individual parts. “How” the parts connect becomes the important question. The relationship between the parts.


The Need for a Holistic Approach

Keep in mind, we cannot understand each part separately from the whole. All parts are interrelated thus all parts must be considered. For example, a person reports they have shortness of breath. His general practitioner sends him to a pulmonary specialist. The lung doctor sees that an inflamed liver is pushing on the lungs. Since he is not a liver doctor, he refers his patient to a liver specialist. The liver specialist then discovers that excessive alcohol consumption is inflaming the liver. He then refers the patient to a substance abuse specialist who discovers that the reason the patient drinks alcohol excessively is that he is severely depressed. So, he refers him to a depression specialist.  And so on and so on, the drudgery lumbers forward. A holistic approach to this issue would consider all these factors and contributing forces…simultaneously.


A Series of Chain Reactions

Each issue created a chain reaction that created another series of chain reactions. How these chain reactions communicate and relate to one another is what wholistic care is all about. If we isolate a component and only fixate on that singular component it is like giving a free house to a homeless person. As you wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for “fixing” the issue of homelessness, you cannot help but realize that there is still a potential learning disability, trauma, mental illness, addiction and or a host of other issues that contribute and overlap to the overall identified problem, which is homelessness. Buying them a house does not remedy the issue. Only by looking at each issue and how it relates to the next can we gain the insight that necessitates and supports true healing and change.