We live in peculiar times, where money is no longer enough and too little is a scary thought. Everyone seems to be in some kind of a race, driven to do more, to do bigger, bolder, stronger, better than anyone in order to gain more or win against one another. Fostering a spirit of unique division as opposed to embracing our unique differences by coming together and fostering a spirit of unity as opposed to one of threat and fear. Instead of: ‘me against you’, it could become ‘me with you’. The notion of ‘separatism’ is an important psychological factor in the development and maintenance of mental ill-health. Of course, it is not only contributing factor. Other contributors to poor mental health will include genetics, nutrition, environment as well as other social aspects namely, culture, politics, economics and other more specific individual stressors such as personal family dynamic and history.

Today, millions of people are affected by some kind of mental health illness all over the world. According to the W.H.O (World Health Organization), it is estimated that 300 million people are affected by depression alone, along with 60 million struggling from bipolar disorder; a condition characterized by frequent episodes of both mania and depressive symptoms. Other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, dementia and schizophrenia all seem to be on the rise. Only less than half of the population with a mental health illness actually get treatment. The rest either 1) do not talk about it out of fear or shame of the stigma, 2) do not know where or who to turn too, 3) do not have access to mental healthcare services. For those people that do have access to a mental healthcare service, will find help through specific mental health organizations, private clinics or hospitals. However, in recent years a more holistic approach to treating mental health has emerged, providing opportunities for people to get a more wholesome evidence-based treatment. An example of this are the residential treatment centers and rehabs that have mushroomed in various countries around the world. They provide recovery treatments in more comfortable home-like settings as opposed to traditional psychiatric wards. These seem to provide the type of environment conducive to healing and recovery, more so than in a typical hospital or office in a clinic.

As a clinical psychologist, with a specialization in clinical hypnotherapy and biofeedback therapy, I adopt an integrative cognitive behavioral therapy approach in my practice. Cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is the most widely studied therapy intervention that is evidence based and provides clear strategies to helping people improve their quality of life, manage as well as recover from ailments such as depression, various forms of anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, eating disorders, addictions as well as chronic pains in a relatively short space of time. We are all different and therefore will respond differently to various treatment models and it is to this reason that I have come up with a unique approach to one’s therapy process. With almost twenty of mental health experience, working with people from around the world in traditional clinical settings i.e. private clinics, hospital wards and residential treatment centers; I discovered ever since I arrived in Bali that the natural environment of the island is in its core a very healing and therapeutic one. Many people from around the world travel to Bali for various forms of healing, detox and recovery mainly through alternative medicinal approaches such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbalism, energy work, breath work and the list goes on. Each of these approaches have something beneficial to offer and for many people assist them in powerful transformational ways. Recovery after all is a process that is personal to each and there is not one but many ways of achieving it.

I have been offering person centered intensive integrative CBT programs to people struggling with carious issues from burnout to anxiety, depression as well as couple issues, who has the opportunity to be accommodated in beautiful Desa Seni, where every person or couple has their own private room and space to carry out important introspective work in full anonymity and confidentiality. Since this is neither a clinic, nor a hospital, it provides a unique opportunity for each to be more at ease in their therapeutic work. During an eight-days or more intensive therapy program, we have noticed that every person and couple were more readily open and committed to the process which would result in them returning home with more clarity, understanding and more importantly strategies that would allow them to pursue their recovery. Integrative CBT along with mindfulness practices such as mediation and yoga is a great combination to adopt. To find out more you can visit the website www.choicesretreats.com

In this day and age, we owe it to ourselves to take a step back, to slow down, to reflect and be brave enough to challenge our mindset. For it is this that will ultimately free you from your burden.


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