Wholistic Counsellor Ariel Learoyd on Mind-Body Connection and Overall Wellbeing

She focuses on the ways mental health steers behaviour and cognition, but also how our body, spiritual practice and self-awareness contribute to overall wellbeing.

Photograph by Rose Athena

As the oceans are to Earth’s ecology, the mind is to human health: we know it’s there but we don’t really understand how it works. Ariel Learoyd, a Calgary social worker and wholistic counsellor, has practiced for 20 years, exploring mental health her own way. She focuses on the ways mental health steers behaviour and cognition, but also how our body, spiritual practice and self-awareness contribute to overall wellbeing.

“Wholistic counselling integrates both traditional counselling methods like cognitive behavioural therapy and talk therapy, plus mindfulness, guided visualization and other methods that are more inclusive of the mind, body, emotions and what we might call the intuition. It asks people to go a bit deeper, into not just what behaviour is causing a problem, but why? And why now?”

“Awareness is a really basic skill that helps us be aware of what’s going on when we’re starting to feel anxious: What’s happening in the body? What kind of thoughts are going on in the mind? What kind of emotions are arising? That increase of awareness is a real, basic skill that I think can benefit all of us.”

“[Wholistic counselling] is a great approach for some people: those going through big life transitions, looking for something that isn’t just about behaviour management, people going through a crisis-of-meaning in their lives. … But for people who are going through profound mental-health crises — bipolar disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia — I would refer them to a specialist, as would any therapist.”

Ariel Learoyd’s wholistic counselling services are available remotely via ariellearoyd.com

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This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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