Classical Psychotherapy Meets Alternative Healing Methods

By Selma Köhn and Dr. Imane Tarkhan


There is a natural healing force within each one of us that is the main cause of our health; a statement that is far from being a modern discovery. Hippocrates, a 5th Century Greek physician seen as the father of Western medicine, was aware that the human body is an energy vessel with the innate capacity to heal itself. He incorporated this knowledge successfully into his practices, and as progressive as he might have been at his time, this notion has somehow been lost in the development of medicine.

Today, quantum physics has proven what ancient civilizations already knew; that everything is and relates to energy, and hence, there is a unified energy field around the body, which corresponds to objects, thoughts, emotions, light, sound and the space between objects. Therefore, if this energy field is re-aligned, the whole body will follow.

The Human Energy Field

This unified field is called the human aura and is part of the bio-electromagnetic field that surrounds the physical body. It is the body that contains energy centers called chakras of which 12 of them have main functions. They are located at different points on the frontal and back part of the body from the top to the base of the spine.

The aura absorbs energy and sends it through the physical body via the meridians, the energy vessels of the body, to the organs, glands, muscles etc. The reason why alternative healing methods like energy healing treat the energy body first is due to physical ailments appearing first as energetic blockages in the aura before manifesting as diseases in the physical body. The self-healing process is then accelerated by cleaning, un-blocking and aligning any energy flow on the respective part of the physical body.

Since everything is energy, our thoughts and emotions are the root cause of around 70% of all our illnesses, according to medical doctors. Science has proven that thinking positive thoughts and emotions promotes healing while negative thoughts and emotions create diseases.

Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times

Today, ancient healing methods are gaining explosive popularity in Western societies that include practices like meditation, yoga, energy psychology and hypnotherapy, among others. They come in all the different forms and variations, which all address the physical, mental and emotional component of the human body and accelerate its self-healing processes.

What is now called a holistic approach to medical treatments — seldom still without a critical eye from Western doctors — this distinction was foreign to ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylonian, Roman, Greece, China and India. Back then, their doctors embraced the energetic part of the human body and included ceremonies like chanting, drumming or dancing in their medical practices to create a certain vibration in the body that enables a shift of energy where healing could begin.

Alternative Healing Methods Complete Psychotherapy

Given that treating thoughts and emotions are equally important to cure the majority of our illnesses, psychotherapy is a great area to incorporate alternative healing methods such as hypnotherapy, energy psychology or neuro linguistic programming (NLP). These fields of psychotherapeutic interventions focus on the inner psyche of the individual, their aim being to dig deep into the individual’s personality and personality dynamics to be able to achieve the desired goals in curing him or her.

In traditional psychotherapy methods, we often come across clients who are stuck in their own context, lacking the ability to see that they possess the freedom and the ability to change. Usually, they get stuck because of something that is blocking their capacity for change, which we often refer to as “resistance”. Psychotherapists usually work on the process of inner search within the individual, an occasionally long and challenging process. In that case, alternative healing methods could be integrated or combined with the process of traditional psychotherapy to ensure the best outcome.

When clients undergo alternative therapy and then resume traditional psychotherapy, psychotherapists often notice that a deeper level of insight is gained; an insight that is both valuable and crucial to eliminate blockage and incite change. This gain makes the process of psychotherapy more effective. “I personally recommend that clients combine both forms of therapies in order to maximize the benefits of each, and to ultimately achieve the best possible outcome toward the change desired,” says Dr. Imane Tarkhan, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Counseling Unit for Psychological Development.

In general, clients’ engagement with therapy expresses their desire for a better and different life. A therapist focuses on what clients bring into therapy, in terms of anxiety and pain, therefore becoming crucial to learn the ways they formulate their situations and share their experiences. However, this process is rarely smooth or easy, because clients oftentimes tend to remain trapped in their own circumstances: hating what is happening to them, they are unwilling to grasp their role and assert their freedom in changing the situation.

Alternative Therapies and Anxiety

Clients are often convinced that if they open up their awareness to their limitations, the resulting change will be less bearable than their present circumstances. Resistance and reluctance are the real challenge in therapy when helping clients with their subjective inward quest. For example, a client struggling with severe anxiety manifested in an obsessive compulsive behavior could improve through cognitive behavioral techniques such as challenging their obsessive thoughts, teaching them to calm their anxieties down through distraction techniques and breathing, and helping them to behaviorally postpone their compulsion.

“In my experience, however, even though this process yields seemingly effective results, it only works on the surface. I have noticed through my work that clients struggling with anxiety have underlying and deeper issues and concerns that need to be explored and addressed,” Dr. Tarkhan adds. Obsessive compulsive behavior is but a particular manifestation of deeper anxieties. In many cases, a person who exhibits obsessions revolving around themes of cleanliness and harm to others often struggles with a debilitating sense of responsibility and guilt. Therefore, when exploring those senses, most of the clients become blocked, and fear that the process of introspective quest will be hard to manage. In such cases, alternative therapies, like hypnotherapy or NLP, help to explore and eventually eliminate the blockage that hinders the therapeutic process.

“I believe that in-depth existential therapy opens up a whole new explorative level that clients find difficult to face. Therefore, pairing alternative therapy with existential therapy enables the client to be more responsive and accepting of change, thus facilitating the therapeutic process,” Dr. Tarkhan concludes.

Putting this into account, this combination provides a more wholesome and sustainable way to ultimately affect the change that the client desires. It not only addresses a person’s psyche but treats their being as a whole where his or her life force is fully embraced.