WHaT Therapy (short for Whole Human Theory Therapy or Whole Human Therapy) is an approach to counseling and coaching that developed from over 20 years of methods research, brain-science study and application, and personality typology assessment. It guides the approach to therapy because IT WORKS no matter who you are or how you’re made.
WHaT Therapy is:
- humanistic, (prizes people as infinitely valuable)
- individual, (acknowledges complex individual differences)
- truly holistic, (not just mind/body) and
- dynamic, (results-focused and flexible.)
- relational (both in method and application.)
Way more than talk therapy, Whole Human Therapy works with how YOU are made, gets to the core, and sends you out with new skills and tools chosen specifically for you and how you move in the world. Change can happen immediately.
The objective of WHaT Therapy is to get you the relief you want NOW, provide memorable concepts that make your growth possible, measurable, and real, while equipping you with lasting skills for life’s challenges now and well into your future.
Good relationship (including the relationship to self) equates to good life. The end-goal of WHaT Therapy is for clients to leave here set for “the best of life for the rest of life,” equipped for healthy relationships in every realm.
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Do you LOVE knowing what’s behind a method and where it came from? Keep reading.
Whole Human Therapy or WHaT Therapy includes these basic tenets:
- Everyone has a personality that favors living most strongly from an identification with one of these three zones:
- Brain (thoughts)
- Heart (feelings)
- or Body (instincts and impulses)
Knowing what is one’s first, second, and third strength reveals tendencies in movement and processing and makes it possible for client and therapist together to choose the most effective approach to therapy. No matter how a person is made, if therapist and client deeply understand the client, it is possible to choose methods that are an effective fit.
2. Every human has a higher consciousness that can think about thoughts, have feelings about feelings, reflect on actions and even override instincts and impulses. WHaT Therapy calls this the Gentle Benevolent Observer (or GBO) and this part of a person, like every other part, can grow with proper exercise. In fact, growth in this area is key to therapeutic progress.This part of a person, not the persona or just one’s natural tendency, is, in fact, the real person.
3. Acceptance of one’s humanity is key to lasting well-being. You are human. Find out what that means. Don’t fight it. Put energy where it will do the most good for your overall health. Growth in the GBO does not make the personality go away, it does not kill the ego, does not balance or integrate thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It does not remove character defects, but accepts them as part of what makes us human and adopts a way to live to one’s highest potential despite, and sometimes because of them. This acceptance is central to lasting well-being.
4. Healthy relationships are the number one indicator of human happiness and long-term well-being. (Need proof? This TED talk on a 75-year study conducted by Harvard University is an awesome one to check out. Want to read instead? Go here.) Good relationships make for a good life. Unhealthy, painful, tense, conflict-ridden relationships make life much harder than it needs to be. Fixing relationships (including the relationship to self) is the most important factor in fixing an astounding array of other human issues.
Where did this come from? (Show me the roots!)
At it’s foundation, WHaT Therapy is a person-centered method and humanistic in nature. All such theories originated with Carl Rogers and his development of Person-Centered Therapy starting in the 1940s. Also known as Rogerian Therapy or Humanistic Therapy, his Core Conditions of Congruence (or genuineness), Empathy, and Unconditional Positive Regard set the stage for WHaT Therapy. Rogers believed these Core Conditions were sufficient to meet the needs of clients. WHaT Therapy adds methods to those Core Conditions.
In addition, the element of personality and movement comes largely from the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram Personality Typologies as well as other lesser-known systems. Primarily, the treatment methods focus on helping individuals use personality strengths and their awareness of themselves to move toward greater health in concrete, measurable ways. Clients don’t have to become students of the theories or disciples of a belief system in order to benefit from the methods.
Many of the techniques, methods, and tools used in WHaT Therapy (TM) are original, specific to individuals and intended to be accessible and effective. Others stem from modalities in Reality Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Emotion Focused Individual Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Relational Life Therapy, (Terry Real), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Gestalt, Experiential Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
Why was Whole Human Therapy developed?
Based on the premise that going to the core of an issue is more effective than treating thoughts, feelings, or behavior, Whole Human Therapy helps clients from the inside out after assessing individual personality, movement, and strengths.
Its development grew out of these basic values and insights:
- All humans are intrinsically valuable and being human (not perfect) is the point.
- When we experience being seen accurately, understood (some of us need to be understood deeply) and accepted unconditionally, this resonates as LOVE no matter what kind of relationship provides this. And it must happen in the therapist’s relationship toward the client.
- It’s up to the therapist to see accurately, understand, accept AND then provide the path toward healing that matches how the client is made, not expect the client to respond to the method that works for most people.
- Most “mindfulness-based” therapies include the mind/body connection but this is not enough…not even for brain-first people. Neglecting the separate realm for the heart leaves everyone weaker. And while feelings can register in the body, and be managed with thoughts, acknowledging this whole other zone legitimizes people who are heart-first and makes expansive growth, connection, and truly fulfilling relationship possible for all types.
- Heart-centered people present a unique challenge to common therapy approaches and many have previously been labeled super sensitive, too emotional, unregulated or any number of other negative, even pathology-biased diagnoses. Even therapists and therapy in general ask them to “be more logical.” That’s not respectful enough.
- Many body-centered people need therapy to be results and movement-oriented. They might not ordinarily be a good match for therapy and often don’t choose it unless a relationship is threatened or something catastrophic happens. When they show up, they deserve methods that match.
WHAT makes Whole Human Therapy different?
- Most therapy approaches choose to change behavior, address thoughts, OR manage feelings but this approach is not enough. Real growth happens when growth happens at the core level.
- Sometimes holistic therapy keeps people away from an approach that can really help. WHaT Therapy is deliberately not woo woo, it is not zealotry, and, while it respects the complexity of humans, it’s not complex. It offers simple, practical, and effective solutions to dynamic problems.
- Traditional therapy is not for everyone. WHaT Therapy works with the way people are made, not against it. It doesn’t ask people to fit into standard “treatment.” It’s also not ethereal, but concrete, experiential, and measurable. It does not require study of theory, discipleship, or adherence to belief in a system. It’s neuro-science, evidence, and skills-based. It gets results.