Episode 111 How To Come Out Of The Holistic Closet & Embrace Your Holistic Self: Solo Episode By Chris McDonald

Mar 31, 2023

Are you hesitant to integrate more holistic modalities into your practice? How can you overcome your fear of introducing and practicing holistic therapy without worry or restraint?

In this solo episode, I discuss why clinicians are hesitant to introduce new holistic modalities to their practice, and how to overcome these very common fears. I also go over the importance of seeking consultation to build confidence and expertise when using new modalities and what the impact is of not embracing your holistic self.

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Chris McDonald: There's been a shift with more therapists incorporating more holistic modalities into therapy sessions. However, many therapists still feel hesitant and unsure about using these modalities Due to various fears and concerns, you are not alone. In this podcast, we will explore some of the common fears that therapists have when it comes to using holistic approaches in therapy and how these fears can be overcome.

I will also be discussing how you can fully embrace your holistic self. Let's. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. This is going to be a solo episode. This is gonna be on a topic that I think comes up for a lot of listeners like you. I hear from a lot of people through email messaging about many fears in using holistic modalities in counsel. Some are fearful of just coming out of the quote unquote holistic closet to family and friends personally, not just professionally, to let them know that they're embracing these out-of-box techniques.

There's a lot of fears with that, and professionally that comes up a lot too. Like what are the ethical and legal consequences of that, and what am I setting myself up for? Is it easier just to stay where I am in the safety of my traditional practice, or do I take that step to. Open the closet door and come out fully and embrace my holistic self.

In today's episode, I'll be discussing the reasons many are hesitant to come out professionally and personally. The impacts of not sharing this part of yourself, and some tools to help you come out in a safe way for you. So let's just jump right in. . So why are clinicians hesitant? Let's think about that for a moment.

I know I talk about this in my becoming a holistic counselor course email course as well. There is a stigma, right? And I think it comes back to a lot of misinformation about holistic practices that many people are traditionalists and trained many, many years ago, that this is the way you do therapy. And that is it that traditional talk therapy, C B T, quote unquote research based.

Is the only way to go. Now, I would like to disagree with those more traditional, that that's the only way to go. We are in a different time. This is not the 1970s or eighties. We have moved along so far that I think we do have to open our minds because of all the mental health issues out there and how much suicide rates have been increas.

That we need more of these holistic practices for healing. Traditional therapy has its limits in my experience. You hit that C B T wall with some clients that you can only go so far. Oh, it has its benefits. Trust me, I use C B T. Still, but with holistic modalities as well. But I think for some people they need more.

And we're also offering a, a space, a safe space for people that may have different spiritual beliefs than the traditional Christian or maybe people that are more atheist. They could be, we could be more accepting of them, of where they are. , and that's where holistic counseling comes in. So I think the misinformation comes from religious backgrounds too.

I've heard that some of the yoga practices are ways to summon demons. That's something I've heard. Or it's something about, uh, worshiping the devil with yoga. I'm not sure where these come from. If there's fear-based behind that, or a preacher somewhere has mentioned this to people. I've also. Yoga is quote unquote, against my religion.

So I think people hear this from people in power and then they don't wanna even partake in it. I'm sure some of you listeners may have heard some of these things as well, but yoga is not religious. It is available for everyone in so many different forms. I think just really looking at the facts for a lot of this misinformation and really trying to educate yourself and others about whatever holistic modality you wanna use or tarot, right?

You hear that a lot too. Oh, we can't give readings to clients. You can't do this. That brings up a lot of judgment, even from our own peers. Other therapists will say things, That is unethical. We can't do that without understanding. Again, I'm just gonna reroute this back to misinformation. They don't quite understand what is involved with using like Tara in session.

I recently used Tara with a client who considers herself a witch, and she uses Tara every day. So I am meeting her where she's at with Tara. I'm not doing a reading. I had her draw three cards. One to represent her problem, one to represent the obstacle. And one card to represent where she would be after the problem is solved.

And then I asked her to interpret the cards and that's it. What does the first one mean for you? What about the second one? What does that mean as far as an obstacle? And what about the third one? How will you be? And I think the last one of my memory surgery, right, was calm. That calm space. It represent calm.

These were more Oracle cards than tarot cards, but, but yeah, it was amazing. Well kind outta that session. I was able to reroute it back at the end of the session too. And, Try to visualize yourself in that calm state, like the card mentioned, and this is her world. This is what she uses every day. We are doing a disservice if we're not using some of these modalities, and I know that's not for every therapist, but to have that option that clients can choose if they wanna work with a therapist who uses tarot or yoga, because that's something that they believe in, that's a part of who they are, their spiritual belief.

So going back to judgment from peers, it does happen. And I think just staying strong with your beliefs too, if there is judgment and what's important to you. So regardless of the judgment, what it comes down to is, are you being true to yourself? And how can you fire back if you do get some of that judgment, which it can and it will happen.

I think yoga may not be as extreme as taro. I know taro, a lot of people get that. Some. I think energy healing too. There's some of


Chris McDonald: judgment. There's also some of these name calling that comes up with holistic modalities that people are weird or people will think I'm nuts if I use any of these.

Stepping out of the traditional therapy. , what will people think of me? What will my mom think of me? Who's a Baptist Christian? Will people just think this is something that I shouldn't be doing? Especially if you have a lot of concerns, social anxiety of what people think of you. I know that's gonna push a button for a lot of therapists that are afraid to come out.

I always enjoy going to Asheville, North Carolina. They always have posts about, um, Around the city too, about embrace your weird . So that's one way to reframe that too. Embrace your weird, I love being different and just reminding yourself the gifts of being different, how important that can be. So important.

And going to the. Ethical and legal implications. Of course, that's gonna be there and if you listen to my episode, I believe it's episode four, if my memory serves me right about, I do go into that a little bit and that's why I did my holistic webinar on the Ethical and Legal Implications. That's still available on recording, by the way, on my resource page on my website, but that's.

Something that needs to be addressed. Of course, we need to address that and some people, yes, they may not do it the ethical way, but that's a whole other episode on the ethical and legal implications. I'm not gonna get too far into that rabbit hole, but just know that if you are going within your scope of competence, your scope of practice, getting the proper training, supervision, support, practicing.

Learning that you're gonna fall within the ethical guidelines. And there are is a lot of research, I should say, about many holistic modalities and you're finding those research based interventions that is ethical to use. It's okay. I get frustrated with that, that people that judge with the ethical and legal, and of course checking with a lawyer too, to make sure your paperwork is correct and you get liability forms if you're doing movement.

And of course you wanna cover it yourself. And that you're not going out of your scope of practice. And I always give that example like you can't go and give somebody a massage in session if you don't have a massage license. That would be outta scope of practice, but you can build a scope of competence.

Everybody's scope of competence is different and that's how, what makes us all unique as well. But just cuz you don't know how to use, for example, yoga in session doesn't mean you can in the future as long as you're working towards that. I also think people don't wanna be vulnerable. It's vulnerable to come out of the closet, the holistic closet, and say, yes, I am embracing using tarot cards, oracle cards.

I am embracing more of my spiritual beliefs and talking to angels, spirit guides, talking to them to help me guide my life. Cause especially if you have in your personal life, friends, family, who don't get it at all. And they really are like, what? What are you talking about? I know I have a lot of friends who are atheists, have, they don't have any of these beliefs and if I


Chris McDonald: anything, they're just kind of maybe roll eye roll or Oh, okay.

They don't have much to say. Right? But that's okay. That's not for them to understand. Reframe that, right. It's not for them to understand, but what is the impact? So if we stay where we are, As a traditional therapist, which is totally fine place to be, but if you're not happy there and you have this, this nagging thought or part of your heart just wants to use some other holistic modality, Then you're not being true to yourself.

You're not embracing your holistic self. That's gonna cause some mental health issues for you. I'm guessing maybe some anxiety, depression. I know if I couldn't be my true holistic self, I would spiral into a depression and sadness of not embracing my gifts and not be able to connect with that. It would be very hard for me to be an effective clinician with that.

And you're gonna be more isolated cuz you're not being true to you, to who you are. And if you don't wanna talk about it, what the modalities you wanna use, then you're gonna be disconnected from others cuz you're not gonna seek them out. So you're gonna be closing yourself off, denying that part of you.

Not being authentic and that doesn't feel good, does it? But let's look at the opposite. So let's say you embrace it. The benefits of that, of becoming your holistic self that you want, who you want to be is freedom. Freedom to truly be open with who you are. To use your authenticity, to be your guide to where you wanna be with holistic modalities embracing your gifts.

It's gonna feel a lot different, isn't it? And that leads to connection. So you're gonna be open to say, Hey, there's another reiki healer down the street that's a therapist, and let me talk to them, or let me talk to some other yoga teachers in the area who are also therapists. And learn from them. We can maybe we can support each other and go from there.

So how do we get from that place of misinformation, from people worrying about the stigma, judgment of peers, afraid of that vulnerability. Afraid of other people name calling or not understanding. How do we get there to that place of freedom and acceptance? And I think some of this is acceptance of ourselves, our true selves.

You might wanna just stick your toe in instead of jumping into the waterhead first. Give it a test drive, maybe pick one friend and just open up to them and just say, Hey, this is something I'm interested in. I love this. Here's what I've learned so far. What do you think of. See what they say. Now if it doesn't go well, find somebody else.

You never know. But I will say this. So I did this recently with someone that I'm not as close to. I'm still getting to know, and I was a little hesitant. I always have that thing that I always say to people. I had a past life regression


Chris McDonald: the fall and, and got the results, and I was excited to share with people.

I had this friend that I didn't know her beliefs at all, so I was like, eh, I usually will say something like, I don't know what your belief system is, but I had a past life regression and it was awesome just to kind of get the reaction. But I gotta tell you, I was so glad I did because she opened up on, oh my God, that is so cool.

I've always wanted to do that. Tell me what was it like and what did you experience and how did it go? And, and so that helped us connect on a whole different level. So, When we come out of the holistic closet, it takes us from that disconnect, isolation to more connection, right? And we can educate others.

I think too, when we do that, to say, Hey, yeah, this is something you might wanna think about trying yourself, or This is what this is available. Maybe someone you know could benefit from this. And I also shared my TikTok videos on it. And you know, I think that there's so much to say for test driving. Now I haven't told every single friend no, cuz I know them and I know the reaction.

Maybe I should open up to them anyway. But yeah, I just think some people, they just are not in that realm at all. And they're more in what they, more science-based, so shall we say, which is fine. That's where you are. You are where. So test drive, sometimes asking that question, who is safe for you? Who is someone that you could test drive with and get their support from?

Or maybe just talking to that therapist in your area or online, right? We have the ability to connect on Zoom or FaceTime to say, I see that you provide Reiki with clients. I would like to know how to do that and connecting with them. Throw it out. They're kind of throwing that line out there, that fishing line, and if they don't respond, go to someone else.

So I think the important thing is not to give up and let's say you have a negative response or they don't respond at all. Like if you reach out to someone you don't know, we have that tendency, I think we all do this to fill in the blank, to say, oh my God, they're judging me. Kind of going into that reasons for not coming out.

They must think I'm crazy or stupid, or this is dumb. , forget it. I'm not gonna talk to anyone else. So just be careful with that, that you don't do that. And just say instead, okay, it didn't work with them, so let me try someone else who's next. Again, you don't have to do this all at once. It could be just a few people who are, maybe it feels safer within your professional group.

Do you have some professional therapist friends that you'd feel comfortable with sharing, even if they're not holistic, but you know, they're non-judgmental. I would say the majority of US therapists. Really open understanding people. Just be aware. Okay, so what else do you need to do? So do your own work.

So find what are your blocks to coming out of the holistic closet? What is holding you back? Is there any negative beliefs? Is there anything else? Religious beliefs holding you back, healed thyself, sometimes this can be through journaling or doing your own work through MDR or brain spotting. getting your own therapy maybe too, to really process this and figure out a plan for yourself to come out of the holistic closet.

So before we close today, I just wanted to do a quick somatic exercise. And if you're driving, just wait to do this, pause this and come back to it when you're sitting in a safe place. So just try to ground yourself into your body, noticing your feet, noticing the chairs supporting you, wherever you. Tuning into your hands, your shoulders, connecting, trying to be present for this.

So two parts of this. First part, I want you to imagine that you're not sharing any parts of your holistic gifts or what you wanna share with the world. Holistic modalities. You're staying where you are. You have to be quiet. You can't tell anyone.

How do you feel in your body? What do you notice? Any sensations come up? What do you feel emotionally? Any thoughts come up?

Just remember that, mark that in your brain. We're gonna do the opposite now. So everyone knows, some are accepting, some aren't.

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