Episode 119 How Do I Know If I Am A Holistic Therapist & Tips For Embracing It: Holistic Short By Chris McDonald

May 10, 2023

What does it mean to be a holistic therapist? How can you start to embrace being a holistic practitioner?

In this holistic short, I will discuss the difference between traditional and holistic therapy. I will go over why a holistic approach can benefit your clients in connecting all parts of themselves and the importance of connecting with other holistic therapists.

Connect With Me

Holistic Counseling Training Series with Chris McDonald, LCMHCS

Claim Your 30-Day Aura Guest Pass From Chris McDonald Here!

Instagram @holisticcounselingpodcast


Join the private Facebook group

Sign up for my free email course: www.holisticcounselingpodcast.com

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.


Have you heard the term holistic therapist, but weren't sure what it really was? Or maybe you have some idea but aren't sure if what you do as a therapist means that you're holistic and this holistic? Sure. I share what a holistic therapist is, how you know if you are one, and how to start embracing it.

Here we go. 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. I'm gonna talk today about what it means to be a holistic therapist. So this is gonna be a holistic short, which are these short episodes under 10 minutes, especially when you don't have a lot of time. So part of my discussion is what it means to be a holistic therapist.

I'm gonna give you a little bit of insider scoop on my journey and talk a little bit about how you can start embracing it, why that's important. I'm not gonna go too deep with that cuz I do talk about that in episode one 11 on how to come out of the holistic closet and to address your fears. But I will touch on it a little bit today.

I just gotta share a quick story. So recently I realized that I don't have a lot of people that I feel comfortable referring to, or a holistic therapist in my community. So I wanted to build more of that community locally, which has been my goal for a while now. But I really wanted to figure out who can I refer to?

That is of course accepting new clients as well. So I created a Google document that I put on. We have a, what's called a listserv. So I put it out there and said, Hey, if you're a holistic therapist, go ahead and put your information on there. So I made it so everybody can sign up and put all their details and so on.

But I was kind of shocked cause I put it in some Facebook groups as well, and I had several people say, what is a holistic therapist? I don't understand what this is. And for me, this is my life. I live every day and I have the podcast in my Facebook group, the holistic counseling and self-care group. So I'm like, what?

I don't understand. What do you mean you don't know what a holistic therapist is? So anyway, I didn't say that, but I did share what I'm gonna share with you today more about that. And some people, once I did respond, then I'm gonna get into more of that in a minute. But once, um, I did share, they're like, yeah, that's what I thought.

I was just trying to confirm that. So, It's just a wake up call for me and for you, the listener, that not everybody is aware, and that's okay. It's all right. I've also had some listeners come up to me and say, oh my God, I did not know I was holistic till I listened to your podcast, which is amazing, right?

So it's kind of like finding another identity for yourself and claiming it. That's why I'm doing this short today. So, Let's get to it. So my story, so I was not always a holistic therapist. I started out as a school counselor, some of you may have heard in other episodes, and did more brief solutions in the school system, trying to find my way, a lot of C B T talk therapy.

And, um, gradually my process was very gradual. I started teaching some breath work cause I felt like people needed something else, especially with anxiety for coping. I started with teaching some breath work, but I realized people need more. So I moved on to learning meditation and teaching that, which was helpful, but I felt like.

Especially with breath work, it didn't work for everybody and I feel like sometimes breath work is not enough. Meditation is not enough, which moved me onto using trauma-informed yoga and more of the somatic techniques that I use, and to me, that was the whole complete package and gradually move to incorporate the whole person in so much of what I do.

And created my holistic intake forms, which by the way, are available for you if you want those for purchase. And, um, let me go to traditional therapy. So let's re rewind for a minute. So that's kind of how I got to where I am today and kind of built up along the way. So thinking about traditional therapy, and I was trained back in 1990.

Three, four or five. So I'm aging myself. Yes. So I'm not sure what's in the newer programs, but for my program it was all about traditional talk therapy in the counseling process, which of course is so important. We need those skills. And none of what I'm talking about is bashing traditional therapy, cuz that is so important.

However, traditional therapy is more about talk therapy when we're trying to help people with difficult emotions, behaviors. Thoughts or relationships. And C B T is the most common use with talk therapy as far as modalities goes. And of course, it's based on the relationship between the client and the therapist.

And that supportive environment helps clients to open up and talk about whatever is on their mind, the difficult conversations in an objective, neutral, non-judgmental way. So that's more of the traditional route. And if that's you, that's cool. Embrace that. That's okay. We need that too in this world. But in my experience, many of the clients I saw needed more.

They got to a point that they really weren't making much more progress, and that's where holistic therapy came in.

Chris McDonald: Are you a holistic counselor looking to build your confidence with holistic counseling and earn continuing education contact hours at the same time? Look no further than earning them with my online holistic training series. My series is designed specifically for you, including startup strategies for using yoga and sessions, ethical and legal considerations and self-care boundaries for therapists.

You got a script you can use right away to use yoga, learn when, and how to introduce these practices into sessions. My ethics course will help you dive deep into ethical practices and how to protect yourself and your license. You can take one, two, or three in the series. Currently they're 50 each or 120 for all three.

If you purchase before June 1st, you'll get lifetime access, and I'm doing a holistic webinar in June that you get to attend for free. On June 1st, the price is going up, so grab yours as soon as possible. Go to www.hcptrainingseries.com.

So what is a holistic therapist? So this is someone who treats the whole person, mind, body, spirit. But also could be parts of self, like financial self, sexual self. Some of these parts that are not always brought up in traditional therapy, social, self, looking at sleep, exercise, just some of the realms of holistic therapy Also.

Thinking about holistic therapies going outside more than traditional talk therapy and including modalities that are more outside the box. So this could be using breathwork meditation, mindfulness, yoga, cause I know a lot of you are using grounding. That means you could be holistic and may not know it.

Or E M D R. Brain spotting. To me, those are holistic. You're using deeper parts of the brain to work through trauma. It's, that's not traditional therapy, so that's stepping outside the box. To me, it's a way of being. It's another, like I said, another identity. And another part of what I do too is really look how these are interconnected.

How is this impacting their overall? Wellbeing, seeing how all the parts connect. So of course looking physically, cuz I like to make sure that they're getting their blood work or if they need to have a functional medicine referral cuz they've tried, you know, a lot of treatments, traditional treatments, not helping them and they're still having a lot of gut issues.

So that's the other piece too, is I refer out to other holistic practitioners. I referred people for reiki, for regressive hypnosis. So it's people that that have that. More open-minded, I guess, about more than tra just traditional route in. And I guess looking at what else does this client need to help them and not just the traditional talk therapy.

Now, traditional talk therapy can be helpful, and of course, C B T is research-based, but I find more somatic therapy can be helpful. For many to access the front of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, if we're using bottom up processing, using yoga, breathwork, those kind of things. Emdr. So ask yourself this question, does that make me holistic?

And it's okay to say, you know, it took me a long time to embrace it and put out my website to say, hey. I'm a holistic therapist and to introduce myself. So when I meet people, new people in the field or outside of the field, I, I'm going to say I'm a holistic therapist. I have a new client. I let them know that, how do you feel about that?

Do you wanna be seen by a holistic therapist or are you looking more for traditional therapy? So it helps you to be more authentic. By embracing it and advertising it, it's okay. Embrace it. And like I said, episode one 11 can really help you come more out of the holistic closet if you're having trouble with that.

And if you do have fears, why? What are you afraid of? What do you think is going to happen? What's stopping you from fully embracing this wonderful identity? To me, it is wonderful. Be proud of who you are. If you're still not sure. Find other holistic therapists in your area or online and connect with them.

I think that helps a lot to talk to people who have those similar interests and can talk about their experiences with coming out of the holistic closet and feeling proud about who you are. Cuz we teach clients that don't we to be themselves in. Embrace who they are. So I think that's really essential to your mental health too, cuz if you're trying to hide it, like let's say that you like to use crystals or tarot cards, essential oils, some things that are a little less mainstream.

I know some people, depending on the community there and maybe have a hard time with that, but sometimes it can be just, maybe you have some clients that you're more holistic with and other ones you aren't. It doesn't mean you're not holistic. If you do traditional talk therapy and holistic, that's okay too.

So wherever you are, I want you to remember. It's okay. Cuz guess what? I have a few clients that just do talk therapy with. Does that make me not a holistic therapist? No. So it just is meeting the client where they're at, but of course, If you wanna embrace that and see more clients open holistic therapy, then that's something that you can use for your marketing.

And again, this is a holistic short. Thank you for listening. Remember to tune in each Wednesday for a new episode. And as a gift to you, my listener, to help support you on your holistic journey, I have a free 30 day Aura meditation app guest pass to help you find peace and find restful sleep with me.

Cause I am a teacher on there. So check it out@www.org health.io/guest pass slash Chris McDonald and it'll be in the show notes and I will talk to you next time. And I'm sending each one of you much light and love. Take care. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only, and is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal, financial counseling, or any other kind of professional advice.

If you need a professional, please find the right one for you.

Find A Topic

The Art of Breath:  How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions 

Have you been wanting to integrate breathwork into your sessions but are unsure how?   Or maybe you want to refine your technique? Join me on a remarkable journey as we delve into breathwork techniques and how to integrate them safely and ethically into sessions. 

Check Out My Book!

Self-Care for the Counselor - a holistic guide for helping professionals by Christine McDonald , MS,NCC,LPCS