One of Dr. Spiegelhoff & Associates specialties is integrative mental health counseling. While some people may be familiar with this approach to counseling, others may have heard references made towards integrative care within health care but not understand how it applies towards counseling. Integrative mental health counseling is a specialty and a paradigm that combines conventional counseling approaches with biomedical and complementary treatments. It is a holistic approach towards counseling that is individualized for clients.

Many psychotherapists will state that they offer wellness-based counseling, yet wellness is becoming commonplace. Too often, anyone ranging from social media influencers to health care practitioners will sell clients the idea of creating a holistic approach to living. But, what does this mean? Some may see wellness as a devout yoga practice, crystal meditations, and regular detox diets. Others may only emphasize the physical aspect of wellness, focusing primarily on exercise. What is sometimes of the most concern is the form of wellness that is only good branding and consumerism. Think about every #wellness ad you will quickly come across on Instagram. Trust us, there is no one tea, pressure point mat, $100 leggings, geode, essential oil, meal kit, or guru that will change your entire life. Lifestyle changes require various degrees of work.

Much of the wellness movement is led by people who are genuinely interested in holistic wellness but don’t necessarily have the training, education, or credentials in the lifestyle promises they are selling you. The overwhelming amount of books, webinars, podcasts, machines, and treatment packages selling this lifestyle can create difficulty for clients in determining the right fit for their needs. Let alone, many of these services are pop-culture wellness and do not incorporate the science of wellness.

What makes integrative mental health counseling at Dr. Spiegelhoff & Associates different than other forms of wellness-based treatment is Dr. Spiegelhoff’s education and research in holistic wellness. She doesn’t sell clients with gimmicks. Instead, she offers an insight-oriented approach towards counseling, along with her knowledge of the science of wellness. In this approach, she works with clients to assess their mental health needs while considering how multiple aspects of their life correlate with their mental health. Together, Dr. Spiegelhoff will evaluate her client’s strengths and areas needing improvement, developing a unique plan. She may make recommendations to outside providers when appropriate and necessary. Treatment may explore the mind-body connection, sleep health, diet and nutrition, supplements, outside medication management and drug interactions, spirituality, performance and career, somatic therapies, and complementary therapies. In counseling, clients may be invited to utilize the Optimum Wellness Method, a new wellness model in development through Dr. Spiegelhoff’s research at SUNY Oswego. It is important to note that Dr. Spiegelhoff is not anti-medication. Instead, she will work with clients to determine multiple approaches towards successful lifestyle and health outcomes. For more information, see the case example below.

Case Example*

Stephanie is a 30-year-old client with anxiety related to life transitions and changes in her career. She also presents with difficulty sleeping. Together, Dr. Spiegelhoff and Stephanie work to identify sources of anxiety and determine how her sleep issues are related to anxiety. During treatment, Dr. Spiegelhoff works with Stephanie to find ways to improve her sleep by discussing sleep hygiene, utilizing mindfulness techniques before bed, and adding magnesium glycinate as a supplement to promote relaxation and improve sleep. By improving Stephanie’s sleep quality, there is a noticeable reduction in anxiety. In counseling sessions, Stephanie’s performance identity (from the Optimum Wellness Method) is explored, gaining insight into her unconscious fear of success and displacement of her actual goals. By recognizing her unconscious worries and appreciating her strengths and past achievements, Stephanie can recognize maladaptive behaviors and beliefs that help her back and take steps towards optimal performance.

*This case is a fictional portrayal of a client. All content and integrative mental health discussions, including but not limited to physical health, diet and nutrition, exercise, sleep health, and herbs and supplements, are for psychoeducation and support. These are not prescriptive treatments and are not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of treatment from a personal physician. Dr. Spiegelhoff is not responsible for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Clients, newsletter recipients, and readers of the blog are responsible for consulting with a physician before making any changes to their health routine.