Episode 13 Live Consultation with Shery Clark

Jun 2, 2021

Are you looking to incorporate new treatment modalities into your counseling practice? How can you assess a new modality to make sure that it would be beneficial to your clients and to your practice? Can you incorporate your new modality alongside medical care?

MEET SHERY CLARK

Shery has had a long career in healthcare. Before training in counseling, she worked in several areas other than mental health for large hospitals and trauma centers in the Triangle.

That diversity gave her a unique understanding of how biopsychosocial factors interact in our lives. In addition to private practice, Shery volunteers with the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health, prior to Covid she was an active founding member of the Raleigh chapter of Death Cafe and Drag Queen Story Hour.

She also shares her life with 3 purebred Labrador Retrievers that she shows in AKC competition obedience and confirmation.

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • Assessing new treatment modalities
  • Do research

ASSESSING NEW TREATMENT MODALITIES

You can look at a wide range of empirical evidence:

  • Is this treatment modality working for your clients?
  • Read a range of online reviews from both practitioners and clients,
  • Do some research into how long this modality has been around,
  • How long has this modality been in the counseling field?
  • How much experience does the mentor who would teach you about this modality have?
  • Asking others.

I just feel like talking to people … asking questions and getting more information from people [to figure] that out. Networking is important … [to find] other people that might be trained in that, but if you can’t find anybody trained in that, I might be a little hesitant. (Chris McDonald)

DO RESEARCH

If you are looking to add another or new treatment modalities into your counseling practice, do as much research as you can. Look at books, check out online reviews and testimonies, network and find other counselors who have used it before.

Grounding yourself in the available research will enable you to make a clear decision as to how you want to incorporate this modality into your practice.

You can discuss them with your clients as well to see if these new modalities might be something that they would like to incorporate into their therapy with you.

Connect With Me

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Transcript

[CHRIS McDONALD]

The Holistic Counseling Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Behind the Bite, Full of Shift and Impact Driven Leader, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/networ.

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice, and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey. .

Welcome back to the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Today I'm bringing you another live holistic counseling consultation, which is part of a series of episodes. I hope you are able to tune into some of these, and if you haven't, you got to check these out. This is not your typical podcast interview. In this episode, I answer one big question a listener needs help with whether that's practice building, self-care or anything else that's related to holistic counseling. So I'm so excited to bring you another one of these episodes.

Today's guest is Shery Clark. Shery has a long career in health care. Before training and counseling she worked in several areas other than mental health for large hospitals and trauma centers in the Triangle. The diversity gave her a unique understanding of how bio-psycho-social factors interact in our lives. In addition to private practice, she volunteers with the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health. Prior to COVID. She was an active founding member of the Raleigh chapter of Death Café and Drag Queen Story Hour. I'm sorry. I say that out loud, it makes me giggle Shery. She also shares her life with 3 purebred Labrador Retrievers that she shows an AKC competition, obedience and confirmation. Welcome to the podcast, Shery.

[SHERY CLARK]

Hi, Chris. Thank you.

[CHRIS]

Good to talk with you again, and I appreciate you coming to the holistic happy hour we had. It was great to meet you and get to know you a little bit. I know we have another one coming up May 21st. I hope other people can join us, 6:00 PM Eastern. So yes, it was really good. We got to have a couple of drinks together and hang out.

[SHERY]

Yes.

[CHRIS]

Awesome. So before we start, can you share what the Death Café and Drag Queen Story Hour?

[SHERY]

Absolutely. Death Café was actually started in Europe and honestly, England, namely. They've actually tried to normalize death and the whole culture around death for a long time and Europe and other areas of the world are a little bit further along than we are. We tend to stick people in hospitals or nursing homes, and we sequester the dying to isolation. The whole death positive movement started in Europe trying to normalize death as part of life. And it actually is going back to the old ways of a family funeral, where the body would be set up in the living room and friends and family would come in and pay their respects to the deceased and their family before the funeral. So we're trying to normalize that whole death process and it ties into the green burial movement. That's what Death Café is about.

We talk about, and it's not a grief group, we talk about anything end of life related, any questions they may have about the death process or what happens once you die. We've had crime writers, we've had grad students from Duke, we've had all kinds of people. We've had hospice nurses join our group. It's everybody, and of course those in the funeral industry as well come. So we've had a lot of mix of a lot of different people. So that's what that's about.

Drag Queen Story Hour, I'm so proud of that, is an international group and we are part of the founding chapter here in Raleigh Durham. And we actually won Channel Fives. We actually won the most family friendly event before COVID. What is it, Viewer's Choice Award. That's what it was. And that was the first year that we ever started it. So we're trying to teach body positivity and being different isn't bad to kids, basically telling them that it's okay to dress up and accept yourself for who you are. The queens that we have come read stories to our children, they play games, they dance, they interact with the children and it just becomes a fun time.

[CHRIS]

What an amazing idea?

[SHERY]

Right. I see some skeptical parents come in, like, "I don't know about this." And they leave laughing and saying, "We're going to come back." Because it is such a positive experience for them. So it's a really safe environment that we try to foster.

[CHRIS]

So can you share more about your private practice work as well?

[SHERY]

Yes. My private practice, I primarily treat a lot of PTSD, chronic illness, and I treat caregivers as well as the chronically ill. And of course my affinity for the death and end of life care is a part of that. I see a lot of grieving families. My work in the red cross has also enabled me to do some of the work that we have to do with the survivors when they identify bodies. And I'm privileged to be able to go along with the families and be of support to them while they're doing that. And that's probably one of the most difficult parts of their lives.

I feel really honored that they let me in and let me work with them and share that part of that journey with them. That's a gift and I never forget that. A large part of my practice is, like I said, I'm working with caregivers as well as the chronically ill. I'm seeing a lot of some PTSD, both COVID related, but I'm also seeing a lot in medical workers. I certainly see the military as well, certainly the depression anxiety too.

[CHRIS]

Sounds like you're doing some great work.

[SHERY]

It's fun.

[CHRIS]

That's wonderful. I love all your interests too, with the Red Cross and with animals and in the café.

[SHERY]

I do some animal assisted therapy. I have a Labrador that is a trained therapy dog. She can assist me in working with patients that have trouble building bonds with humans. I try to teach them that the same constructs of building a relationship with the dog can also apply working with humans and building trust and building a relationship with her sometimes transfers over to trust and building relationships with another human. There are certain components that are universal.

[CHRIS]

True. Well, let's get to it Shery. So what is your big question?

[SHERY]

I'm working with a lot of the holistic practices. And I do some of that work. I started using essential oils a long time ago and I started using them just because I liked the sense and it's a pleasing environment, but I also realized that a lot of the sense can have reactions attached to them and they can benefit my patients as well. And certainly with COVID the practice didn't close down immediately because I was attached to a health care provider and she was still seeing patients and I was seeing patients also because we couldn't close down. We had some patients that medically, I just had to see for med counts and that sort of thing. They were not stable enough for us to do telehealth.

So I was using some of the aroma therapy, diffusing, eucalyptus, and peppermint, and that sort of thing and I realized that they were benefiting from that. So I kind of caught on that, hey, there's something to this aroma therapy, other than just pleasing sense. But my overarching question in all of the holistic realm is how can we validate and how do we go about choosing which modality to use when there's not a lot of choices out there for traditional continuing education and how are we going to get the information that we need to responsibly practice and use these modalities? We can't exactly dial up the ACA website and find out exactly who did we go to and how do we make those choices of who is responsible and the leading authority and who is an authority? How does that get measured?

[CHRIS]

I think that's an awesome question. And I think one that a lot of listeners might have on their mind as well, because like you said it's not through the ACA or other or APA or through a university. I know some of the trainings I've taken, I've been through colleges, UNC or NC State, or these other organizations that are vetted by our licensure or overall organizations for counselors or therapists. So that does make it a bit more challenging that these aren't exactly recognized. And unfortunately, some of them, like you said, we don't get CEOs. I think some of that's changing. So for example, one of my trainings, the subtle yoga, I took and guess what? NBCC approved it. That's why I was so excited because it was a hundred hours.

So I think some of that is changing because of course with yoga, there is a lot of research base and validation with that. So I know it's going to be much slower for some of these other modalities if they ever get approved, but it is harder to find that. I look at it this way too, is that we got to really do our research to determine what is the best training for this. But before we go into that more, I guess, what is behind your question too? Is there some fears about just taking any training you find online?

[SHERY]

It's really easy and I'm old school and that I think about, just because you call yourself a master, are you really? And what makes you a master?

[CHRIS]

Understandable being that skeptical?

[SHERY]

Yes, who measures that? I'm so used to coming from academia and medicine, especially.

[CHRIS]

So more the Western model medicine and traditional.

[SHERY]

Or even having the different Eastern philosophies and having their training behind them. I trust one of the acupuncturist here in Raleigh to teach me everything I need to know about acupuncture, but he also teaches the Chinese acupuncture, which is a really interesting story because he's not, he's Puerto Rican.

[CHRIS]

Oh, really?

[SHERY]

So I look at credentials, I'm looking at experience and who gives those credentials?

[CHRIS]

The governing bodies and all that?

[SHERY]

Yes. And that's great for some of the modalities. But I'm not quite sure how we would measure some of the other things like crystals

[CHRIS]

True, and tarot.

[SHERY]

Yes. Do we measure them according to the Gemological societies? How do we go about finding something that's empirical when it's not empirical?

[CHRIS]

And I talked about some of this too, with my solo episodes, my foundational episodes that it is difficult because we do have ethical obligation as counselors, as therapists to do empirically-based, any kind of strategies or treatment. But the good news is that there is more research on a lot of different kinds of modalities. That's the thing, too. It is out there, but where does, as far as the training goes, that can be a little trickier. But I think with, and I'm not going to get an essential oils yet, but crystals are tarot are a little bit different, but I think you just got to do your research just like you said, because of course, I don't know that there's, maybe there is certifications in it. I'm not sure but I always look too, is there some kind of certification or long program that you can take because you don't want to just take like a weekend course and say, "Oh, I'm good."

So usually something longer term is what I find. I know when I took Pranic healing, which is an energy healing, that was a certified program and has been around for a long time and lots of people have gone through the program. And that's what I like to see too is okay, how many people have gone through this? I did talk to some other people I knew locally that went through the program. I had some treatment done on myself. To me, it's not a journal, but it worked for me. They were able to identify my shoulder pain. I didn't tell them and the issues I was having and be able to treat them and it helped my shoulder so much. So just as an example, evidence for me. And I look at empirical evidence sometimes as how does this work with clients we treat? And maybe that's not our research study, but is it working for clients is another way to look at that.

Reviews online, I look at that too. How long has this been around? Is this somebody in their house just decided to create this program that they haven't used it yet, nobody that's gone through the program? I'd be a little bit more leery of that. I think what you're saying, too, is like, did somebody just create this overnight and you're like, "Huh, is this really worth my time?" And of course the financial investment; does this work? Is this really what I need to learn? How much experience does the person have? I always look at that too. I know my Pranic healing teacher, I think, gosh, I think she had 20 years experience or something. And my yoga teacher too. I feel like somebody, not that it's bad to, if you have no experience, but the more experienced I think can really help you to learn more because you want to be in that position to learn as much as you can.

Asking others. I just feel like talking to people. And we have in Raleigh, at least I know we have a lot of the Facebook groups local and I'm sure there's some national, too, that asking questions, getting more information from people, figuring that out networking is so important. Other people that might be trained in that. But if you can't find anybody trained in it, I would be hesitant about that as well. But I did want to let you know and all listeners to know that good news, there's a therapist creating a tarot card reading training. And that is ---

[SHERY]

Wow.

[CHRIS]

I know. I'm so happy I found her. So I'm going to be interviewing her in June. So that should come out this summer, that episode. But yes, so that's the good news. If you can find somebody who has a licensure and is providing this and she's done her research and study and practice and created her own program.

[SHERY]

That's so right.

[CHRIS]

I know. I didn't know that existed.

[SHERY]

And just here recently I found two of my clients are using tarot and I'm like, okay. Then they've gotten to it naturally. So we're talking, we're having conversations about that. And it's always interesting to find out how they're using it.

[CHRIS]

Yes, that's excellent. And I think she said too, she actually does use it with clients and she will start a session by pulling a card and using it that way. I don't know all she does. I haven't done her training, but it sounds like it's, that could be another resource. So obviously if she's done this, I wonder if there's other therapists, too, other licensed professionals to look at and just learning as much as you can. I think that you mentioned about using books and online materials. I think doing your research too, and learning as much as you can about these modalities and different teachers. And I find even with like yoga, I don't want to learn just from one teacher. I like to go to different people, different. I go to different classes, I've learned some other programs. I'm going to another training a couple weeks from a different teacher. I feel like once you can do that, you can integrate so much more in what you offer someone else.

[SHERY]

I agree.

[CHRIS]

If that makes sense. But yes, there is no licensure board for tarot or crystals, or I don't think there's a university yet, that's the thing. But I know you mentioned essential oils before we hit record today. I think essential oils, you can become an aroma therapist. I'm having one on. That's another episode coming up and she's going to talk about the ethical use of essential oils for therapists, which is going to be an amazing episode because we had talked about this. I had met with her online before. So she's so knowledgeable about all of this.

The aroma therapist training intense because you do have to learn about anatomy and physiology and how it all works. So that is actually a training that you can get, I don't know if aromatherapy has a certification or what they call that, but that's where that route would go if you want to go more in depth with that.

[SHERY]

I may do that.

[CHRIS]

So Shery, do you have any follow-up questions? I hope that answers some of that.

[SHERY]

It does. I think anytime that we can get together and find out from each other, too, how we research what we're doing, I think that sparks ideas about how I can go out and find things that may help my patients and how I go out, searching out and separating the wheat from the shaft and that sort of thing.

[CHRIS]

And I just want to address one thing too. And your question is, it seems like underneath you, I'm sure you're thinking about the stigma too. Sometimes, as holistic practitioners, it might be considered "wo-wo." Like this is too far out there. Like really? Come on. Some people might be hesitant to dive into some of these holistic modalities for fear of judgment that other "professionals" may be like, well, that can't be part of your therapy or counseling because that's not empirically-based yada, yada, you know that goes.

[SHERY]

And if there is no empirical evidence, then it doesn't exist.

[CHRIS]

For some people. But like I said, essential oils has some research. I know energy healing does. That's becoming more integrated. I know Duke actually did some Reiki trainings before. So even the bigger establishments are starting to recognize some of these other alternative healings.

[SHERY]

And I think they have to.

[CHRIS]

They have to, yes.

[SHERY]

Because there's no other way to explain it.

[CHRIS]

Exactly. And looking at some of these, too, as complimentary that they're not necessarily, you don't go to someone for digestive issues just to someone who's an aroma therapist, that you do need to go to a medical doctor and making sure you have that caveat, that it is something that you can use in addition to that, to other issues. So did you have any other follow-up questions, Shery?

[SHERY]

I'm just curious, in your talking with other practitioners and if they are having, are they using the holistic practices more now? Is this something that we're going to see more of coming? Is this the next way then in counseling?

[CHRIS]

Yes because you think about mindfulness, that's such a buzz word. And I think to me that's more holistic. I think that's become mainstream overall. Most clients I talk to about that already know or they've tried some or they're on the Calm App or other apps and it's so much more readily available with YouTube and all that. So I'm thinking it's starting to go that way. And I know even Pranic healing was starting to be used in hospitals as well. There's some research with that. It's starting, but it's going to be a process I think for some of these, some are going to be more tough. I think with crystals or tarot, I think sometimes that can be out there. Or people have religious reasons. They don't believe in it, like tarot cards or fortune telling that kind of thing.

So I wonder too, if there might be a push with the more intuitive counseling too, because I know some of the Reiki people I've gone to, they know some things. I don't know how they know these things. Nope, I can't prove with empirical evidence that they knew about something that happened that I didn't tell them about my grandfather. It's just that they just know. And I think that is going to be coming up more often with people using that more often because it can be so helpful. So healing.

[SHERY]

Yes very much so. And I think it can bring us closer with our clients.

[CHRIS]

Yes, for sure. So do you have any takeaway from our meeting today?

[SHERY]

I feel a lot better about going out and researching more sources and more modalities. I feel more sure of myself.

[CHRIS]

Okay, good. Good. It sounds like it. Some of the little bit of relief with. Good. Well, I appreciate you coming on today, Shery.

[SHERY]

Thank you for having me. It was awesome.

[CHRIS]

Awesome. And thank you so much my listeners for tuning in today. And just a friendly reminder to subscribe, rate and review if you haven't done that yet. And did you like today's episode? If so, please share it on your social media so we can reach more therapists.

[CHRIS]

And This is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love. Until next time, take care.

If you're loving the show, will you rate review and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform? We just started this and that helps other people find this show. Also, if you're feeling uncertain about your modalities and you want to build your confidence to be your unique self, why don't you to join my free email course, Becoming a Holistic Counselor over holisticcounselingpodcast.com. In my Becoming a Holistic Counselor course, you'll get tips for adding integrative care into your practice, what training you need and don't, and the know-how to attract your ideal holistic clients. If this sounds like the direction you are headed, sign up at holisticcounselingpodcast.com.

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