Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Integrating Yoga with Psychotherapy: A Complementary Treatment for Anxiety and Depression/Intégrer le Yoga Avec la Psychotherapie : Un Traitement Complémentaire Pour L'anxiété et la Dépression

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Integrating Yoga with Psychotherapy: A Complementary Treatment for Anxiety and Depression/Intégrer le Yoga Avec la Psychotherapie : Un Traitement Complémentaire Pour L'anxiété et la Dépression

Article excerpt

Approximately 50% of American adults surfer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, the most prevalent being depressive and anxiety disorders (Kessler et al., 2005). Intriguingly, people with mental health disorders, such as depression, often engage in self-help treatments before seeking treatment from a medical or mental health professional (Oliphant, 2009). Conceivably, they may choose to engage in self-help treatments in an effort to maximize financial savings, to refrain from consuming synthetic medications, or avoid negative stigmatization. People may also desire a more holistic treatment than allopathic care or psychotherapy can offer; perhaps this is why the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has surged. CAM is perceived as more wholesome, with fewer negative side effects than conventional treatments (Oliphant, 2009). Tlius, individuals are using CAM to manage chronic pain, to improve health or prevent negative health issues (Faass, 2006), and to treat mental health issues (Barnes, Bloom, & Nahin, 2008).

CAM is "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine" (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM], 2010, para. 2). Approximately two out of every five adults in the United States has utilized CAM (Barnes et al., 2008). Specifically, anxiety and depression are two of the mental health issues most commonly treated with CAM (Barnes et al., 2008; Pilkington, Kirkwood, Rampes, & Richardson, 2005). In fact, those with anxiety, depression, or a comorbidity of these disorders are twice as likely to use complementary and alternative treatments when compared to others with mental health disorders and four times as likely when compared to those without any mental health disorders (Wahlstrom et al., 2008).

One of the five domain categories of CAM treatments is mind-body interventions, defined as "interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health" (NCCAM, 2010, para. 9). The use of CAM mind-body interventions has increased, with yoga ranking as a commonly used CAM mind-body intervention (Barnes et al., 2008). Saper, Eisenberg, Davis, Culpepper, and Phillips (2004) found that yoga is commonly used to treat anxiety and depression. Perhaps people are attracted to yoga because they desire to integrate the body and the mind in healing. Many mental health professionals agree that the body and mind are not separate, especially those professionals who subscribe to theoretical orientations such as behavioural therapies or transpersonal, humanistic, or existential psychologies (Leijssen, 2006). However, finding mental health professionals who integrate mind-body dualism in their practice can be difficult; psychotherapeutic approaches are conceived as existing on a continuum of verbal interactions and an integration of awareness of the body (Leijssen, 2006).

Yoga is meant to supplement conventional treatments for clients with various mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression (Gerbarg & Brown, 2007). The practice of yoga alone cannot correct mental illness (Douglass, 2009); professional help is necessary to treat the primary cause of the disorder (Torkos, 2008). Interestingly, as Douglass (2009) found in her research, mental health professionals recognize that yoga may be a beneficial therapeutic supplement to psychotherapy, but they are not entirely informed about why or how yoga is effective. Thus, mental health professionals may benefit from learning what malees yoga effective and why and how to incorporate their learning into their practice with clients. By understanding the relationship between yoga and physiological functioning, mental health professionals will likely appreciate the benefits of yoga and, therefore, possibly offer a more comprehensive and desired mind-body therapeutic treatment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.