Unit 7: Psychosocial skills
In this unit we will be building on some of the concepts that we have explored in the previous modules and bring them up to date. In the Tibetan unit we learned how all disease stems from the mind and the three mental poisons of attachment, anger and closed mindedness. Eastern medicine teaches us that the mind and body directly affect and influence one another. Modern research is proving how important the mind is in maintaining our general health. Research into the placebo effect has resulted in some astonishing statistics and confirms the ability of the mind to overcome all disease symptoms. The reverse of this scenario is the ‘nocebo effect’ where people can talk themselves into being Ill, for example, when they have been given incorrect diagnostic test results and thought themselves to be terminally ill. As practitioners it is vitally important that you keep this in mind. Those of you who are interested in studying the science of how the mind controls the body are referred to ‘You are the Placebo’ by Joe Dispenza and ‘Cure’ by Jo Marchant.
You will encounter clients who have a positive outlook and will respond well to the diet and programme that you put together for them. On the other hand, you will also have clients who are very negative in their outlook or are very anxious and these clients can be extremely difficult to move forward with their health. They will need lots of positive input and reassurance from you as their practitioner. This can be difficult because as alternative medical practitioners we cannot make any claims as to whether our therapy is effective or not. In this module we will look at some of the techniques and remedies that can help to calm your clients mind down so that you can start to tackle some of their physical symptoms. A programme that doesn’t take the state of the mind and emotions into account will not be effective long term. It is equally important to remember however that the state of the physical body will affect the mind. An example of this is an allergy or addiction, whether it is to alcohol or a food substance. The body can react to an allergen with depression or mood swings, both of which are classic mental symptoms. It is of no use having talking therapy for years if the problem is an allergy to a food or chemical substance. Another aspect to this is the balance of gut bacteria which can influence the emotional state.1 You are now well aware of the importance of correcting the gut first in any therapeutic programme.
Naturopaths need to have an understanding of the history of psychology and the different schools of thought within the psychology and psychoanalysis sector. They also need to have an understanding of how the brain influences the physical body from a modern scientific perspective and have tools at hand that they can offer to their clients in order to help deal with the various stresses that we all have to cope with.
This unit is therefore divided into two parts. Part A is written by Jacquelyne Morison, an extremely experienced psychoanalytical practitioner who has her own school of psychotherapy and has been teaching and writing books for many years. Jacquelyne will cover the history and basics of various psychotherapeutic models together with the different theories relating to the stress trauma response such as the polyvagal theory and Jungian personal theory. There are questionnaires given in the Part A of the unit which will help you assess the level of stress that your client is experiencing. These questionnaires can be extremely useful because they can help to show your client the improvements that have been made when reassessing their symptoms. This is particularly important for negative thinking clients who easily talk themselves into believing that they are not improving. Jacquelyne also covers the different types of counselling available and their overall effectiveness together with many stress reduction techniques.
Part B covers the stress response in more detail and the impact of stress on the physical body. Those of you that have done the Nutritional Therapy course level 1 will have an awareness of the effects of stress on every system of the body. In this module we expand this topic and look at it from a scientific perspective and how the endocrine, central nervous system and immune system interact (PNEI). We will therefore be studying hypoglycaemia, adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues as all of these are directly linked to an inability to deal with individual stressors. The section ends with information about different constitutional types and we will revisit the four temperaments of Greek medicine and learn about Jungian personality types, Myers Briggs, David Keirsey’s personality types and the Enneagram. On completion of the unit it is hoped that you will have a firm understanding of body mind interactions and how to address it within your practice.
Psychosocial skills Course
Study Hours: 100
Time: Estimated 2 months (timing up to you)
Enrolment period: 4 months (with option to extend)
Books: Purchased separately
Certification: Certificate in Psychosocial skills
Study Options: E-learning (online) or Correspondence (paper)
Aims of the course
- To provide a basic understanding of the history of psychology
- To provide a basic understanding of the different schools of thought in psychoanalysis
- To provide tools to assess stress levels in your clients
- To provide an in-depth look at the effects of emotional stress on the physical body
- To understand how stress impacts the central nervous system, endocrine system and immune system
- To introduce simple psychoneuroimmunology concepts
- To provide detailed information about adrenal fatigue: how to test for it and how to support clients suffering from it
- To understand the impact of stress upon the adrenals and thyroid glands
- To introduce various personality typing concepts
Why study Psychosocial skills
Psychosocial skills are required in order to be a registered Naturopath. Stress is probably the most predominant factor in all disease processes and knowledge of how to help your clients deal with their stress levels is of paramount importance in any alternative medical practice. In this module you will learn about the history of psychology and the different schools of psychoanalysis that have developed in the last century, including basic information about the polyvagal theory. The second part of the module looks at the effects of stress upon our physical and emotional states in depth, including adrenal fatigue and thyroid imbalances. Tools for assessing and monitoring stress levels together with various personality typing protocols are included to enhance your skills in this area of practice.
To understand the main psychotherapeutic models
To appreciate the background history and development of the psychotherapeutic models
To understand the scope and limitation of the psychotherapeutic models
To appreciate the implications of psychotherapeutic practice methodology
To understand the effect of stress and emotions upon general health
To understand how different personality types react to stress
To be able to identify simple personality types and be able to structure naturopathic support programmes for them
To have an understanding of the different approaches available for addressing various stressful and emotional issues
To have an understanding of the power of the mind in all health issues.
To have a detailed understanding of the role of the mind in the maintenance of health
To have an understanding of psychosomatic medicine and its relationship to the central nervous system
To be able to correctly identify situations for the appropriate use of various simple strategies to alleviate stress such as relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, simple meditation and flower remedies/formulas
To be able to monitor stress levels in clients with appropriate questionnaires
To be able to recognise when to refer a client to a professional psychotherapist.