Episode 48 Managing the Stigma of Holistic Counseling with Janis Cohen

Feb 2, 2022

Have you ever worried that you will be judged by others because you use holistic strategies in therapy? Do you feel like you are in the “holistic closet” due to people’s misperceptions about holistic modalities? Can you stand in confidence of your work?

MEET JANIS COHEN

Janis R. Cohen, LCSW, is internationally known as The Intuitive Therapist. She has worked with children, adults, couples, and families for almost three decades. Janis combines her extensive clinical expertise with psychic and intuitive gifts of clairvoyance, empathy, and mediumship. She uses this unique skill set to get to the root of a challenge with razor-sharp accuracy and to offer specific and effective strategies to resolve her client’s problems. 

In addition, Janis offers Intuitive Therapeutic Psychic Readings to people who want clarity and direction for their most pressing issues around money, love, relationships, and health as well as connecting them with loved ones who have crossed over. 

Janis has authored articles in PINK Magazine, Associated Press, and has published her own columns in local newspapers such as The Jewish Times, Aquarius Magazine, and Conscious Living Magazine. Her podcast, The Intuitive Therapist, merges therapy with intuition, spirituality, and metaphysics.

Visit Janis Cohen’s website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • Stand in your confidence
  • Stepping into your gifts
  • Find your holistic community

Stand in your confidence

I work with clients all the time who I help [to] stand in their confidence … if you are able to help people with the gifts and skill sets that you have, shout that from the rooftops, and you know what? The right people are going to come to you and support you, and the right people are going to come to be your clients. You’re going to find your groove. (Janis R. Cohen)

You need to stand in your confidence in what it is that you do. Do not be apologetic or uncertain.

Most people have interests in the work that you openly enjoy doing, so appreciate your skills and abilities and put them to good use.

It may not be an easy journey in the beginning because this work is not for everybody, but if it is for you, then have passion for the work that you do and commit to expanding your skills and expertise.

Stepping into your gifts

One of the first things to do, if you are feeling nervous about your work, is to address the fear that you feel may arise if you do fully step into your gifts. What is scary about explaining your work to people?

To me, getting comfortable with your gifts is [about] understanding the fact that it is who you are, and you have every right to not want to … publicize it, however, you are sacrificing who you are. You are risking not being able to influence and model for other people standing in your truth. (Janis R. Cohen)

Judgment is a big piece that people fear, but counter that by asking what if it helps people? What if you can teach people in your life the things that you know and do well? They can become some of your best supporters.

Find your holistic community

Surround yourself with people who support and inspire you.

Talk to other people and build those connections that support because [it helps to know] other people who … experience this, who also promote themselves and have a business with whatever their holistic strategies are. (Chris McDonald)

Seek out colleagues, mentors, and advisors who either are in your current position or have been there who can help support you.

Join various groups and meet-ups, search for knowledge and you will find those who have similar interests and stories to yours.

Connect With Me

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

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

BOOK | Janis R. Cohen – The Intuitive Therapist: Accelerate and Empower Your Clinical Practice

with the Wisdom of Your Intuition

Visit Janis Cohen’s website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Contact her practice at 404-558-3971 or email: janis@janisrcohen.com

See also: How to be an Intuitive Therapist with Janis R. Cohen

How to use Spirituality in Counseling with Alissa Schneider

Practice of the Practice Podcast Network

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/network.

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 to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Have you ever worried about being judged by others because you use holistic strategies in your therapy? Are you afraid others won't take you seriously as a professional or maybe you've already had some negative experience with judgment from others as well as criticism based on information out there? If you feel you are in the holistic closet because of the stigma of holistic counseling and therapy, this episode is for you. I'm happy to bring back a former guest, Janis Cohen who helped us discover how we all could be an intuitive therapist on one of my bonus episodes.

Janis is going to discuss today causes for the stigma on holistic counseling, her personal journey through it, and how you can take steps today to overcome that fear of judgment and be more authentic in your counseling practice. In 2016, Janis published her first book called The Intuitive Therapist. Janis also has a podcast called The Intuitive Therapist podcast, which she merges intuition, spirituality, metaphysics, and therapeutic wisdom to teach listeners how they can master their emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial destiny to ultimately achieve courage, confidence and certainty in all aspects of their lives. Welcome back to the podcast, Janis.

[JANIS COHEN]

Glad to be back.

[CHRIS]

Yay. Can you tell my listeners more about yourself and your work?

[JANIS]

I've been a therapist for about 30 years and about 13 years ago the trajectory of my practice completely shifted. It blew itself out of the water. I had been a traditional therapist for much of my career, 17, 18 years of it and then it felt like overnight my intuition skyrocketed. My psych gifts opened up. My gifts of Clavos, clear seeing, clear sentience, clear feeling, clear cognizance, clear knowing, I was psychic and I could see things other people couldn't necessarily see, images, words, people, places, clients challenges with laser accuracy. The blocks and the solutions and also my gifts as a medium. So that changed the trajectory of how I worked with my clients and I was able to rebrand myself as the intuitive therapist, not just a therapist.

[CHRIS]

We talk about the players and how you can discover that in the bonus episode. If you haven't listened to that, I highly recommend going back and listening to that as well as more about how to be an intuitive therapist, which is I think so awesome. It really upgrades your whole counseling sessions with clients, which is so cool.

[JANIS]

Yep.

[CHRIS]

We're not going to go into that today. We are already there. So we're going to move on to today's topic, which is the stigma around holistic counseling, holistic strategies and therapy. I asked Janis to come on because I know you are one that has gone through this and you did a whole rebranding and understand what this is like. So what do you think are the reasons for stigma around holistic strategies?

[JANIS]

Well, I think people don't know where to put them. It's almost like they're not trustworthy. It's almost like people assume that there's no scientific basis for any intervention. There are interventions, holistic interventions that for a lot of people feel like they just doubt too much. If it's not a theory that's already been proven, if it's doesn't have scientific data to back it up. If there's not been a book written about it, if they come from whoever it is, comes from a very old school concrete-based way of thinking about what intervention looks like, then anything beyond the norm is going to be really hard to accept.

I have to tell a story about this. I remember years ago when I attended a conference for my state licensure. I was in a breakout session and we were going around the room. There were probably about 40 people in the room before the speaker spoke and she asked everybody to give their name and what they did for a living. Everybody did traditional stuff. They were case workers or therapists or counselors or caregivers or whatever it was. Then it got to me. I was in the back of the room, just happened to be, and I said, yep, I've been a therapist and I'm a clairvoyant, temp and medium. I tell you, literally I felt the energy change in the room. It went dead side.

[CHRIS]

I bet.

[JANIS]

It felt like the energy was, the air was sucked out of the room. Nobody said a word. They just looked. Then I just smiled because I was so proud. It was not my first encounter. I encountered this a lot and I actually enjoy sharing with people what I do to just see how uncomfortable they get because it's fun. It's fun for me to help people hear something new, learn something new, but also encounter somebody who is so solid in it, so solid in who I am. It was very funny. Then the person next to me just started to explain what she did. Then you could feel the energy get back to what was, I guess, normalcy. The beautiful thing is that I had, at the break I had probably about five or 10 people come up to me and say, they whispered, "Yes, I dabble into the holistic stuff too, but I'm too scared to tell anyone."

[CHRIS]

The secret society.

[JANIS]

Yes. I said, please. It was wonderful.

[CHRIS]

That's a great example.

[JANIS]

It was great to pay the way for some people to come up and chat and come out.

[CHRIS]

I think that shows your level of confidence now that how you've grown and you're able, because I don't think a lot of people are at that level that a lot of listeners are because I know a lot of the people I have on this podcast that talk about holistic strategies, there's a hesitancy even before we begin recording, like, is this okay?

[JANIS]

Not shocked.

[CHRIS]

Am I going to be judged? What are people going to say? What's going to happen when this goes out? Then when the link gets sent, they're like, "Ugh, maybe, I don't know. Should we actually do this?"

[JANIS]

I really, when I laugh, I'm not mocking people. I work with clients all the time to help them stand in their confidence because the way I see it's like if you're able to help people with the gifts and skillsets that you have, shout that from the rooftops. And you know what, the right people are going to come to you and support you. The right people are going to come to be your clients. You're going to find your groove and you're going to find your group. So I help clients a lot, people who are their own entrepreneurs, they are own business owners really get deeply grounded in the confidence of showing up in the truth of who they are.

[CHRIS]

It's not always an easy journey in the beginning. I think not to minimize that for anyone it's really difficult. Coming out with this podcast as well has been challenging because, and I'm not going to lie, it's not for everybody. Not everybody is meant to do holistic counseling or to learn energy healing. That's okay. Everybody's got their own walk. I was messaging Janis about an instance where there was judgment about my podcast in the local therapist community. She was just like "to be expected. It's good you're letting people think," I think you said, letting people think, getting people to think about this and explore other ways of doing counseling.

[JANIS]

Yes.

[CHRIS]

Which is a totally different reframe. For me, I'm panicked. I'm like, "Oh my God, what's happening?"

[JANIS]

I have several people who are referred to me from traditional psychotherapists. They hadn't even bothered to look up my information. They just got my number, got my name and called. So I always ask have you heard of me? Do you know what I do? So I explain to them what I do and they're always like, "Wow, that is really cool. How does that work?" The beauty of it is that I enjoy explaining how it works to people. It is so fun for me because it's so much a part of my lifestyle, not just my work, but who I am. And what I have found with just clients that I work with who are just for their own sake, developing their gifts and even entrepreneurs who are looking to expand and develop their gifts to accentuate their practice, I find the hesitancy is based in the fear of what people will think

[CHRIS]

It is.

[JANIS]

That there's judgment there, that, oh my gosh, "If I say that I'm into acupuncture or crystals or psychic stuff or read cards, people are going to reject me. People are going to think that I'm a waco of weirdo."

[CHRIS]

Too much woo, woo.

[JANIS]

Yes, or that I'm not credible. That piece to me is what I feel like is the crux of what I help my clients with, is really aligning with the credibility that exists simply because they have the skillset. And a lot of people don't get that that's. So many people give to everybody's intuitive. Like I said, especially in the first podcast that we recorded together, everybody is, in my opinion, everybody's psychic too, a lot of people will deny that. But just as when people learn something new, they question their credibility, they question their ability, they question whether or not they're good enough. So it's the same thing when it comes to really owning, stepping into the ownership of your gifts.

[CHRIS]

How do you do that, step into it?

[JANIS]

I love that question. It's a great question. I feel like one of the most important things to address first is what the fear is if you did. I ask clients a lot what what's so scary about letting people know that, I have this one client actually, I'll give you story. I love stories. She's a hairdresser in Georgia, Southern Georgia. The area that she lives in is very religious and they don't, I guess they don't have people like her around where she turns out to be a medical intuitive. She came to me originally. I'm going to get to how you step into that certainty. She came to me originally, knowing that she had some gifts, she didn't know what they were but she knew she wanted to develop them.

That's where most of my clients start. They come to me, like, I think I have these gifts. And they don't even think about building a business, because they already have their careers or they're married and they don't have to work or whatever. They've got other things going on. But as it turns out the stronger she got in really learning how to connect with her gifts, to build that intuitive, psychic, holistic currency within herself, in other words, she proved to herself that these skills and gifts were valid simply by honoring them and following through with them. So over time she became more confident and then it turned out that as she meditated, as she grounded, as she took other courses to expand her gifts, she ended up connecting with a guide, G U I D E, who actually has been her force of working with her to help people medical intuitively.

So it really developed in such a beautiful evolution for her. So to me, getting comfortable with your gifts is really understanding the fact that it is who you are and you have every right to not want to shout that from the rooftops, to not want to publicize it. However, you are sacrificing who you are, you are risking not being able to influence and model for other people standing in your truth. So judgment without a doubt is a huge piece that I think people fear. What if somebody thinks I'm weird? What if they don't like what I do? What if I lose my business because of it?

So I love to counter that. I love to be devil's advocate and I love to ask what if you don't? What if the people in your life you're able to teach them what you do, educate them enough about what you do, that they become your most avid supporters? What if the people who walk away needed to walk away and that made room for people who were really on your team? What if people didn't judge you? What if you were standing in your truth, you allowed people to look at how they were living their lives? Those are the kinds of questions I ask because we have these beliefs that we think are real. It's all projection and it's all because we aren't comfortable with who we are. If you think back on your life, different aspects of your life that, you look back Chris like 10 years ago would you ever thought that would be sitting where you are right now?

[CHRIS]

Absolutely not.

[JANIS]

Somebody said to you, hey yes, you will be a podcaster and talking about all of this stuff and you would've said yes,

[CHRIS]

A yoga teacher, no, that was never on my goal list.

[JANIS]

So look at your life now. Look at what you have achieve simply because you didn't consider anything else. You didn't consider the opposite, the negative. I always like to reframe and I feel like that is so important to help people anchor into giving themselves permission to be who they are.

[CHRIS]

I think you said too, when I mentioned to you about some of the negative criticism I had about my podcast that you mentioned too, that they're not meant for your podcast. They're not your people. That's okay.

[JANIS]

And online it's so funny because I look at, I think I have a few less than desirable ratings and one negative review. I'm like, well cool. Because I know my style is very, very straightforward, but I do with love, I do with compassion, but over the years, I mean, I've been doing this for almost 30 years, I don't mince words. I believe in that and there are a lot of people who aren't ready to hear the truth. When you're not ready to hear the truth then you poopoo it or you criticize it or you judge it because you're not ready. I always say to my clients, enjoy the fact that other people have a problem with what you do, because all you have to do is just have compassion with the fact that they aren't on the path that you are.

That's really okay. Everybody's on a different path at a different time. It may be that five years later, 10 years later, six months later, they may encounter somebody who is holistic, who changes their lives and then they'll look back and they'll go, "Wow, back in the day, I didn't believe so or what she had offer would work." So you never know. I always say, I always keep saying, I always say, because I do have compassion for people who don't get it yet.

[CHRIS]

That's true. I like how you said that because they may, in the future. You don't know what's going to happen.

[JANIS]

You never know.

[CHRIS]

I wonder too, thinking about standing in your truth and building that foundation of confidence if some of that can come from the effectiveness of what you're doing.

[JANIS]

Sure, sure, without a doubt. I think, what I'll talk about intuitive currency, personal currency, what I'm really talking about is how you value yourself. That is the most important thing, is how you value yourself. Do you yourself believe in your gifts? Do you yourself believe in your capabilities? Because if you don't, how are you going to possibly expect that other people will? It's impossible.

[CHRIS]

Yes.

[JANIS]

That's where you got to start, is do I believe? If I went to get trained as you have, as a yoga expert, teaching expert it's something I believe in, I invested a lot of time, a lot of weekends. A lot of classes, a lot of teaching, a lot of, you know giving free classes and passing the test, studying. That wasn't just for hoots and hollers. That meant something to you. If you have gifts that you can offer no question, you got to value them first before anybody else is going to value which you don't.

[CHRIS]

Sounds like some reflection maybe would be a good start for people to journal, I always go to journaling, for these things to take that time, to really ask, answer those questions. Do I believe in my gifts and myself and what I'm doing? That would be a good prompt.

[JANIS]

No question. I love journaling. I write all the time. Whenever I feel like I have a block or I'm stuck, I just, either, I'll write in a journal, literally write in a journal I have, or get on the computer and I'll just start typing and I'll open myself up to receive guidance. I literally will be typing a conversation between me and my guides and it really, really clears the way, no question. I think so many people get stuck in their heads. If you can get that go for it. It really opens the doorway to receive.

[CHRIS]

I think getting more connections with other people in the holistic community can make a big difference too. As you talk about this topic and understand how other people have found their way, that might be able to give you some inspiration to find your own way as well.

[JANIS]

No question. And a lot of people I think will just say, well, I just kept doing it. I liked it. It was interesting. So I just kept doing it. Then eventually people heard. You'll hear that, which is great.

[CHRIS]

Yes, because I had a client that wanted to start a psychic business and she was really, had a lot of those fears, like really deep embedded. This was somebody from the south, also a Southern town that was not accepting nobody in her family, had any of these gifts or understood any holistic strategies, but what she did gradually, she started to come out just, I hate to say come out of the closet, but come out of the holistic ---

[JANIS]

Spiritual closet.

[CHRIS]

So she started to come out just with some friends a little bit at a time and what was interesting is she didn't get criticism or judgment or Bible verses. She got acceptance. Then she came out to some cousins that she was really scared of. That was some of her goals in counseling, was to bring this out more and the more she did it, they were like, can we have a reading?

[JANIS]

See? I remember in my own family, one of four kids and a baby of four and my immediate older sister, she's gifted. She hears things. Her wife is very, very gifted too. But it took me about three years to really get my family to offer me credibility, like they believed in because would tell story after story, after story of readings, about sessions, about past progressions and what came up and eventually they're like, "Wow, what transformation? Amazing." Of course now they see what I've done with my business. So it's pretty legit at this point but I came from the position of, I had a desire to share. I didn't have a desire to convince.

[CHRIS]

Ah, to share, not convince.

[JANIS]

There's a difference between trying too hard to push who you are onto somebody versus sharing who you are. If they can appreciate it, great. If they can't, no problem? You have just weeded them out.

[CHRIS]

So be it.

[CHRIS]

But I think too, like my family, sometimes I feel like the black sheep because I'm the only one into yoga, so much meditation and breathwork all that. So I think that's probably how lot of listeners might feel too. Nobody in my family does this. I have nobody to talk to. So I think again, going back to that holistic community to talk to other people too and build those connections and that support, because I think you do need support with other people who also, I'm not going to say going through it, but have experienced this to an extent that also promote themselves and have a business with whatever their holistic strategies are.

[JANIS]

No question. I think seeking mentors is great. When I first started out really getting to know my gifts, I joined meetup groups for psych development, tarot card reading, channeling, whatever it was, whatever I could read, tons of books. I devoured learning. So there's always a forum to lean into. There's always a class to take. There's always somebody on the internet somewhere who you could just call and ask a few questions or YouTube videos. Now all you got to do is hop on the computer and you have the world at your fingertips.

There's so many people who are, for lack of a better term veteran in this field of spirituality and holistic work who share their story. Because when you first start out, you are not confident. You're scared. Especially if you're somebody who grew up seeing spirits or feeling things or having prophetic dreams, prophetic thoughts and bad things would happen, or you shared when you were a little boy or girl, and you shared that you had seen somebody or knew this and your parent or grand parent, or somebody said, don't ever talk about that again, you got a lot to overcome. There's a lot of courage and strength that you've got to build within you to loop beyond experiencing that again because you will.

[CHRIS]

Yes. I think you're right, maybe there is some prior stories of being shut down by family or friends.

[JANIS]

Yes, I hear it all the time. Those experiences, when you're 3, 4, 5, they're scary. You don't understand them because they just exist. The younger that we are the closer to God and so the more innocent our soul is. So we can access our gifts much more easily. We don't even need to actually access and they just are there. But if you shut down, if somebody shuts you down it can be an experience to open up again because of the shame or guilt.

[CHRIS]

Yes, which might lead you to getting your own personal psychotherapy. And of course, sometimes we need coaches too. I think coaches can be another way to help you through, if maybe you do need someone who is like Janis, who understands holistic things. And you help a lot of therapists, right?

[JANIS]

Yes, yes, yes. I work with therapists, coaches and counselors. I actually had somebody this morning call me today. She's a leadership coach. She already has a business. She practices mindfulness as well and teaches that, but she has gifts and she wants to know how to step into the confidence of embracing that and melding the two together. So very common that I hear about entrepreneurs in that what we'll call a predicament.

[CHRIS]

It sounds like it, very common. So knowing that this is a common thread too, that you're not alone and feeling that initially too, there's no judgment for that.

[JANIS]

I celebrate differences. I think that's one of the joys about life and getting older is that you realize that being different, that is so fantastic. It really is, because you get to pave your own way. Nobody else is like you.

[CHRIS]

Exactly. So Janis is there anything else you wanted to share today about this topic?

[JANIS]

I just want people to, whoever's worried about leaning into their gifts, developing them, if they feel like they're alone, I just want to assure you and Chris' assuring you you're not. Build that currency within you. Practice every day, get testimonials, work with other people, seek counsel and connect with other people that are part of your tribe. I promise you that will help give you the confidence to start building your brand. And also always, if there's a question and you need some help, I'm here, Chris is here and we would both be happy to have a conversation with you to see where you're stuck and how we could possibly help.

[CHRIS]

Excellent. What's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

[JANIS]

You can find me at janisrcohen.com. That's J-A-N-I-S R C-O-H-E-N.com. I have my podcast on iTunes, ho bean, Stitcher, Spotify, Google. It's called The Intuitive Therapist podcast. My book is also called The Intuitive Therapist and it's on Amazon and Barnes & Noble's.

[CHRIS]

It's one of the best books I've read about intuition.

[JANIS]

Thank you. I'm so glad you read it. Makes me love it. I so appreciate it.

[CHRIS]

Thanks again for coming on for this important topic, Janis. I really appreciate you.

[JANIS]

I appreciate you. Happy to be here, my friend,

[CHRIS]

Thank you to my listeners for tuning in to today's episode. Please help the podcast keep crowing by rating and reviewing the show so we can keep giving you these amazing guests and episodes. This is Chris McDonald, once again, sending each one of you much light and love. Till next time, take care.

[CHRIS]

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 at 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.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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