The Importance of the Healing Crisis
Randi Fredricks, Ph.D.
As we heal, we sometimes experience what’s called a “healing crisis” which sounds much worse than what it actually is. It’s something that we all go through when we heal in psychotherapy and when we heal from medical problems, Even if we cut our finger we have some initial pain due to the event.
Many doctors and psychologists believe that that our mind, body and spirit are always seeking homeostasis. That’s why when we’re cut, we heal. Homeostasis is one of the most remarkable and most typical properties of highly complex open systems.
A homeostatic system (whether it’s our body or an industrial firm) is an open system that maintains its structure and functions by means of a multiplicity of dynamic equilibriums rigorously controlled by interdependent regulation mechanisms. Such a system reacts to every change in the environment, or to every random disturbance, through a series of modifications of equal size and opposite direction to those that created the disturbance. The goal of these modifications is to maintain the internal balances.
Our minds and bodies have the same inherent desire for perfect health. We have the innate ability to work our way back towards that state, no matter how bad our health is now. But in order to achieve that state of “good” heath, the mind and body must go through an elimination process. This elimination process is often referred to as a “healing crisis.” When a healing crisis starts, reactions and behavior may be mild to severe. You can expect ups and downs because it may take awhile to get good health back.
Even if the healing crisis has physiological origins, it will have a psychological component as well. During the healing crisis, all the systems in the body system work together to eliminate waste products and set the stage for regeneration.
A variety of symptoms and behavior is possible, depending on the original ailment. In addition, physiological or Mental health problems and psychological challenges may arise in response to the healing process for one reason or another.
The Healing Crisis as an Essential Process
Ultimately the healing crisis is a good thing because it means that healing is occurring. It’s important to note that the symptoms of the healing crisis may at first be identical to the disease it is meant to heal. But there is a significant difference in that the body and mind are actually in the healing process.
As the person moves through the healing process, the pain and symptoms may on occasion be more intense than that of the original disease or disorder. It’s important to remember that this process is not only temporary but necessary as well. Without a healing crisis of some type, whether slight or intense, the healing that we are ultimately hoping for cannot occur.
If you or a loved one is going through some type of healing process and subsequent healing crisis, it’s important to be extra patient and nurturing so as not to add any additional stress. Additionally, therapy can help to move the process in a productive way.
Indeed, recent research indicates that it is normal and healthy for adopted persons to want to know more about their genetic background.
About the Author
Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. is a practicing therapist, researcher and author specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and related disorders. Dr. Fredricks is a best-selling author of several books including Healing & Wholeness: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health a 650-page compendium and landmark publication that provides a comprehensive overview of complementary and alternative treatments for mental health, with information and research on their effectiveness for treating specific disorders. For more information on Dr. Fredricks work, visit her practice website www.DrRandiFredricks.com.