Episode 1 Introduction and Discover Holistic Therapy

Mar 29, 2021

Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, I am excited to be on this journey with you!


  • Meet your host, Chris McDonald
  • Why I started this podcast and who it’s for
  • What to expect
  • How do you discover what kind of holistic practitioner you want to be?

Meet your host, Chris McDonald

I believe a good holistic practice starts with a ritual, and so this morning I lit the candle at my ‘desk/altar space’ to remind me of my intention for the year, which is summed up in my word for the year: ACCEPTANCE.

I like to do a Word of the Year to show something I want to focus on, and I have it surrounded by my crystals as well as my Palo Santo essential oil which is diffusing around my office right now helping to keep me calm and start my day the right way.

What would be a good holistic ritual for you while you listen to this podcast? There is no wrong answer to this. It is an open space and invitation for you to practice a small ritual with yourself to create an intentional space of healing and awareness.

So, I am Chris McDonald, and to me, Holistic Therapy looks at all parts of the self: the mind, body, and spirit. It focuses on wholeness and, not just the psychological aspects.

Years ago I was a school counselor and went to a retreat for teachers. This was my first experience with meditation, I immediately connected with it and really loved it.

I started to learn more about meditation, breathwork, essential oils, mindfulness, and yoga and thought about how I could incorporate these into traditional therapy.

Why I started This podcast And Who It’s For

There are not a lot of holistic therapists out there. We are spread few and far between and often struggle to find one another in the midst of traditional therapy.

Traditional therapy is great and has its strengths but I wanted to build up the holistic therapy world and provide a voice for this budding community.

I wanted to build that strong community, especially those that are like-minded and free from judgment… some people who are more traditional-minded may not [understand] and could judge you for that so I think having people who are non-judgmental would be great, to be able connect with them and learn from each other.

This podcast is geared towards mental health therapists who are interested in integrating these holistic strategies into treatment, or even if you just want to build your own personal practice.

What To Expect

  • Solo shows
  • Guest/Interview shows
  • How to integrate your learnings
  • A variety of topics spanning meditation, breathwork, and essential oils
  • How to do this safely and ethically
  • Practice building tips
  • Your self-care

How do you discover what type of holistic practitioner you want to be?

The way you do this is by turning inward to hear yourself more clearly. Opening up your mind and heart and listening.

  • Where do you want to be with your therapy practice?
  • Who do you want to be?

Pause if you would like and write some thoughts down, without judgment, and be playful, curious, and creative with your raw ideas.

Explore your ideas: research different teachers, practices, free courses, podcasts, and teachings. Spend some time looking through the resources you find on Google or Youtube.

Look around to see if there are any holistic centers near you to see what is available. Consider visiting a local Buddhist temple if you have one near you and spending time with like-minded people and engaging them in the conversations you would like to learn more from.

Connect with me

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:



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 episode one of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I am so excited to be here and get this podcast finally recorded and rolling. It's been a long process from coming up with ideas in the fall to working with my podcast coach and getting all the back work done. There's just so many moving parts to a podcast that if you've never done one, you have no idea, which is understandable, but it is a lot. That's why I'm so glad to finally be here.

For today's episode I want to share a little bit more about myself for those that don't know me, the reasons I started this podcast, and then take a deep dive into helping you discover more about what kind of holistic practitioner do you want to be. And I want to help you start that journey and before we get started, I wanted to tell you about my ritual today. So I believe a good holistic practice starts with some rituals and what I did this morning as I'm recording is light my candle. I'm making like a little altar space, I guess you could call it on my desk as I'm recording to keep me centered, keep me grounded. It has my intention for the year, which is the word of the year I chose, which is acceptance. I like to do a word of the year to show what is something I want to focus on. And I have it surrounded by my crystals as well as my Palo Santo essential oil, which is diffusing in my office right now and helping keep me calm, helps me to start my day the right way, as well as having my salt lamp here to look at because it lights up in all different colors.

So what about you? So what would be a good holistic ritual for you as you listen to this podcast? I know you might be driving. That might be tough, but think about if you can find a quiet space just to listen to it and even if yelling can do for 10 minutes to take that ritual and what would work for you. And there's no wrong answer to this. So whatever you have available, or maybe think about creating that intentions for that, what would that look like. So let's move on to more about who I am and what is holistic therapy. So I know a lot of people may not be aware of what is holistic therapy and why is that important? Holistic therapy to me is looking at all parts of a self and treatment, the mind, body, and spirit, but focusing on wholeness, not just the psychological aspects.

And not of course that there's anything wrong with traditional therapy. That's great. It works, but I feel that holistic therapy, it takes things a little bit further and can be so effective as you really integrate all the parts of self and really look at the whole person. I think that is what brought me to this, right, and how they all interplay with each other because one affects the other. Everything is connected and there's so many different areas of holistic therapy that you can use and learn about. That's the cool part because you don't have to pick just one thing. You can learn one, get really good at it, become an expert and then add on as you go. What I don't want is for anyone who's new to this to feel overwhelmed, to be like, "Oh my God, how am I going to learn all this and integrate this and really be effective with clients?"

So just think of it as this episode is discovery, discovering what might be something for you, exploring, I guess, discovering and exploring like be some words to think about. So years ago, how I started my holistic journey, I worked in the school system. I was a school counselor and went to a retreat for teachers and that was the first time I ever did meditation. Like this is awesome. I really loved it and really could connect with it and brought it right back right away. That's kind of who I am. Once I learned something, I just want to jump right in and started a morning meditation with some teachers and staff at my school. And it was mindfulness meditation, which is kind of the meditation that I teach and connect mostly. I do different meditations, but that's kind of my foundation.

So I brought it back and began practicing and I would meditate once in a while. But then I had joined a small group, is a meditation group, and they also learn Dharma in Buddhism, which means just learning more about how to apply Buddhist philosophies to everyday life in different books and learning and discussion. So that was the key for me to build a consistent meditation practice, was to join a small group. We would do a 20-minute meditation together. It kind of pushed me a little more instead of doing my little three to five minute meditations to really do a longer one, but know that I could. Then again, it is a meditation practice, not perfection, and remember that for yourself, if you aren't used to meditation.

They did some breath work. And I started with some of that in Spokane, teaching that to my students when I was a school counselor. And that became a cornerstone of treatment of stress and anxiety. I feel like that is one of the most effective ways to help clients. And I began to increase my personal yoga practice and really thought, wow, wouldn't it be great to integrate this with therapy and help teach clients? But of course I didn't have certification and didn't feel like I was at all competent to teach. So I started to take a few courses in integrating yoga into therapy. It went so well and I just had some really powerful results that the clients just seemed to really wipe away the stress of the day for them because they really were more connected to theirself. Then I began to explore using some essential oils and educating myself more about that in 2016 and also went to a local Buddhist temple and learned more about mindfulness, went on some mindfulness retreat and went to some of the ceremonies they had.

So yes, this is a long journey for me, a lot of learning. So if you're, open-minded, willing to learn things, I think this is going to be a great holistic journey for you as well. And that brought me to 2018 and my search for a yoga certification. I didn't want to be a traditional yoga trainer because I have back issues and knew this would not have been good for me because I don't know if I physically could have done it without a lot of pain. So that brought me to subtle yoga in Asheville, North Carolina and Christine Weber's program, which is specifically for mental health and behavioral health therapists. So I thought, bam, that's it right? That's where I want to go, all about gentle yoga. So I got my certification.

That was never where I was going to go. Initially. I just wanted to get some more training, but that's what happened and I just fell in love with it. I still utilize it with clients with amazing results. So that kind of brings me to where I am and why I'm starting this podcast. One thing I found, I have been struggling to connect with other holistic therapists. I can count on one hand in this area alone where I live, how many I know and really, and it's probably less than one. There's probably like three. There's not a lot of us out there and I feel like I wonder if other holistic therapists feel that way too, that we're kind of out there on our own and not everybody understands what we do because we're traditional therapists and that's great. Everybody's got their strengths, but for us really, we need to build a strong, supportive community. And I thought, what better way than through a podcast? We could really make this a worldwide event and podcast so everybody can connect and give a voice to everyone and the opportunity to learn new, effective holistic strategies.

And what else can you do to build your private practice if you have one or just your personal practice with clients? What are the best ways to do that? Really get some amazing guests. So I really have been researching guests and I have, you will not believe the guests I have lined up. Some of the topics are really going to blow your mind. You will love this, especially if this is the right podcast for you, if you're really interested in learning more about holistic therapy. I want to build that strong community, especially those that are like-minded. That's free from judgment. I think that's the other piece of this is sometimes you might say, "Ooh, I have crystals in my office and might use them with clients or essential oils." Some people are more traditional minded may not get that and judge you for that.

So I think having people who are non-judgmental would be great to be able to connect with them and to learn from each other. I hope to eventually have some more listener involvement so I can hear from you and what you're doing out there so you can share with the world too, as well as listeners coming on as guests. That would be awesome. I want to hear from you definitely. So this podcast is geared towards mental health therapists who are interested in integrating these holistic strategies into treatment. Or if you just want to build your own personal practice, that's cool too. And this is a great way to do that and it's not just for those just starting out with holistic therapy. If you've been doing this for awhile, I still believe there's a lot you can learn from this podcast.

I'll be doing both solo as well as guest episodes. I really like the guest episodes. I feel like it brings a different dynamic to the podcast more than I can just give you from one meet as one person. That's what I really learned from my past podcasts. I learned things I never imagined, different perspectives and different theories and treatment. Also learn how to integrate it. Like once you learn these things, how do you really use these with clients? Some guests I'm going to have include energy healing, some yoga, meditation, breath, work, central oils, so many different things that we're going to include.

The other thing is how to do that safely and ethically within our profession and within our scope of practice. That will be episode two. I'll be getting more into that. And also practice building tips. So if you're interested in how to market your practice and what's the best thing you can use on your informed consent, if you're a holistic therapist, all those things that there's no book for that I know, maybe there is, I don't know, but you've probably had to learn on your own, or you're not sure where to go with that. So I'm hoping that will help give you a foundation as well. And the last thing will be your self-care. So this podcast can help you with that too. I hope to include some segments on that because you need to keep your foundational self in the best shape possible. And of course, a consistent self-care routine will make you the best therapist you can be.

Now, let's move on to today's topic. So the big question is how do you discover what type of holistic practitioner you want to be? So are you the holistic therapist that you want to be right now or is there something more you need or want? And the way to do this is to really turn inward, to get centered and grounded and really take the time to connect to yourself, your inner wisdom, connecting with a higher power for guidance. Imagine just opening up your mind and listening. Let's do a grounding exercise. Let's get this podcast off the ground with some grounding to put you in the best place, to really be open and receptive. So just take a moment. If you can be seated with your feet on the floor, spine straight, just notice your feet right now, how they're feeling. Coil your toes. Imagine you got roots from the bottom of your feet, connecting you to the earth, just noticing your hand on your lap, feeling the chair beneath you, supporting you, noticing how your clothes feel on your skin right now. Do they feel warm or light? Does your skin feel cool?

Are feeling your spine straight reaching towards the sky? Just notice the center of your being wherever that is for you and imagine the top of your head, your crown chakra, just opening up and allowing yourself to connect to the universe really asking those deep questions. Where do I want to be with my therapy practice? Who do I want to be? Imagine a white light coming down from the sky, this warm, vibrant white light, filling you with gratitude for what you do have, an openness to new ideas. Coming down to the top of your head. Relaxing you, warming you, coming through your face all the way down your neck, into your shoulders, releasing any tension, opening up your mind, coming down your arms to your hands, feeling your body, mind and spirit, coming down through your torso, your chest, your mid back, down through your low back and belly, giving that warm, soothing energy, divine connection coming down your legs, releasing and relaxing all the way down your calves through your feet so that you are totally connected and grounded checking in to your true inner wisdom, asking those questions to yourself.

What do you hope to get out of this podcast? Where do you want to be as a holistic provider? I'm just being silent for a moment and listening, not this time. Okay, to stop the podcast for a moment and just write down some things if that helps, any words that you get, visuals. We can be quiet sometimes as we ask answers from the universe or the divine, wherever your belief system is, and just allow yourself to write without judgment. When you come back thinking about some other ways to journal, what are some holistic strategies that you've heard of? Is there any that you connect with and why? What is your experience with holistic strategies? Maybe you tried some or just dabbled a little bit. Maybe you did some in a workshop a while ago, but you're not really that competent in it or secure with that.

So why would some of this matter to you? Why would you want to learn more about it? Where do you want to be in your practice? What kind of practitioner do you see yourself in five years? What other therapists do you know who use some holistic treatment do you look up to and admire? Who do you want to be like? What is it about them that draws you in? Please take some time reflection, some marinating in your brain. If your eyes are closed, feel free to open them now, just connect to your surroundings, turn your eyes all the way to the right, gently, move your eyes all the way to center, all the way to the left, and then back to center. Just reorienting yourself to where you are and connecting back to the present moment.

I hope that was helpful to you to get you more grounded and centered because the next step will be exploration, exploring. So maybe you don't know where you want to go. That's okay. So one thing I did was Google and YouTube. So really get on there, even just type in holistic strategies, holistic treatment, just get out there and discover what might be out there for you. Look up different holistic providers in your community. Doesn't have to be a therapist, look up Reiki teachers, yoga teachers, see different offerings. Try some things online that are offered free. Just give yourself a taste of what's out there.

Also look at holistic centers. A lot of times they'll have different practitioners with different modalities that you've never heard of. I know that happens to me. When I've looked at some of the places around here, we have this center and there's holistic practitioners from all different kinds of fields from therapists to Reiki, to crystals, and some of their specialties I have still have to learn about. So that's a great place or go to your local Buddhist temple if you are interested in that, in mindfulness. The body, mind, spirit expo is where I learned a lot about energy healing. I forgot to mention, I did learn some energy healing years ago called Pranic healing, which is similar to Reiki, but different. I don't use that as much and we use that sometimes because I found I'm more drawn to yoga and mindfulness meditation as well as brainspotting. But you know, there's so many options out there for you.

The other piece of this is networking. I know that's been difficult for me, but maybe in your area, you have more, or maybe you do have to widen your scope to include people outside of your area, to look on Psychology Today or other places or just search engines to find other holistic therapists that you can connect with, just to learn from them and grow, get to know them. How did they get started? What drew them to this field? How can you guys support each other to build your own network of support? And of course, once you can build that to really start looking at trainings, and once you kind of narrowed down, where do you want to go? Starting with one, I think, starting with one thing at a time, of course it's important. Don't overwhelm yourself. Pick one thing, look for a training and start and that's kind of the journey I think of where we're going to end today's episode.

So I hope you found this helpful and were able to connect with this content to really begin that holistic journey as a holistic therapist. And I want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for listening today. And I hope that you can share this episode with other holistic providers or other therapists in general, in your area. And next week, tune in to hear an important discussion on liability and scope of practice issues for holistic therapists. And don't forget to subscribe, rate and review.

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.

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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