Stress can be described as a circumstance that disturbs, or is likely to disturb, the normal physiological or psychological functioning of a person. The body react to stress – which can be defined as anything (real, symbolic, or imagined) that threatens an individual’s survival. The body puts into motion a set of responses that seeks to diminish the impact of the stressor and restore homeostasis. Many stressors occur over a prolonged period of time or have long-lasting repercussions, for example the loss of a loved one or divorce or struggling with finances etc. A stressor can also be the anticipation of something happening.
The body has stress-responses to a broad array of stressors. If you repeatedly turn on the stress-response, or if you cannot turn of the stress response at the end of a stressful event, the stress-response can eventually become damaging. Stress increase your risk of getting diseases that make you sick, or if you have such a disease, stress increases the risk of your defences being overwhelmed by the disease.
From a psychological point of view stress can thus eventually lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, relationship problems, problems at work, sleep problems, eating problems, aggression, etc. From a physiological point of view, stress can lead to a wide array of physical problems. Thus stress influences the individual’s functioning (emotions, cognitions, behaviour, perceptions and personality) and is also responsible for the beginning of psychological and physical symptoms.
Due to the complexity of the human being, the most effective way to deal with stress is with a multi-disciplinary approach. Thus combining the physiological part (ex. homeopathy) with the psychological part (psychotherapy). Psychotherapy is therefore a key component in the treatment of stress. A major goal in the treatment of stress is to mobilize the client to change behaviour in ways that optimize the process of healing. It is consequently very important to work with the “barriers” or “reasons” why the client finds it difficult to deal with their stress/ disturbed rhythm or why the client cannot find balance in their life and bodily system.
SHIP® (Spontaneous Healing Intrasystemic Process) is an experienced psychotherapeutic process that focusses on the concept that chronic, physical and emotional dis-eases are spontaneous healing messages from the individual’s system indicating internal imbalance. Knowing the cause of the dis-ease is not enough and lead to a short-term solution. SHIP® is a practical form of psychotherapy that does not focus on pathology, but on healing and growth. It is an integrated and holistic approach by focussing on the cognitive, behavioural, emotional and bodily experiences of the client.
Information throughout the person’s life that is too threatening (stressors) may become disconnected, with this information migrating from the emotional to the physical. This information lodges itself in the bodily system. In response to current everyday stressors, this information may be re-activated and represented in the form of bodily dis-eases and emotional dis-eases.
SHIP® creates an environment where the client can connect with repressed information/stressors to assist the client to achieve balance on a physiological and psychological level.
1. JOS. 1998. SHIP® Overview.
2. JOS. (2002). SHIP®, The Age-Old Art of Facilitating Healing. Pretoria: A JOS Publication.
3. Sadock, B.J. & Sadock, V.A. (2007). Kaplan & Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral
4. Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry (10th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia.
5. Sapolsky, R.M. (2004). Why Zebra’s don’t get Ulcers. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Dr. Marike de Klerk