Episode 5 Differences between Advanced Holistic Therapists and Newbies

Mar 30, 2021

Where do you see yourself as a therapist, are you in the new or advanced category? How do you decide which type of holistic practitioner you want to be? What are some of the most common holistic practices?


  • New practitioners
  • Advanced practitioners
  • Recap on the previous 4 episodes


This could be someone who fresh out of college or maybe someone who has some experience but is new to using holistic strategies.

  • Not sure how or where to start
  • Still building enough confidence
  • In the discovery phase
  • May make the mistake of taking on too many trainings and not applying the lessons
  • Feeling isolated and may experience imposter syndrome


They feel confident in their practice and have internal ease with connecting mind, body, and spirit.

  • Actively seeking out others in the field to network and consult with
  • Utilizing the support of the community
  • Know which areas to focus on, and don’t take on too many trainings – instead, they are always advancing their skills in their chosen field


  1. Introduction and Discover Holistic Therapy
  2. Legal and Ethical issues in Holistic Therapy
  3. How to integrate holistic strategies into clinical practice safely and effectively
  4. An overview of the most common holistic therapies

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:



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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 episode five of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Hope you are doing well. As I'm recording, it's been a very dark and dreary February for the past four days now in North Carolina. I'm just waiting for some sunshine. This is miserable. I always feel less energy on these dark days and less positive emotion show easy, but I hope this podcast can be a ray of sunshine for you as well, and that you will be able to get what you need out of this to be the best practitioner you can be. And I hope so far the other episodes I've done, the first four have been helpful for you. I know last week I talked more about the most common holistic strategies that therapists use in sessions. Maybe that was validating for you, that you learned that you were already doing some of these things. They just weren't considered quote unquote holistic before, or you didn't even put two and two together that well. Guided imagery could be a holistic strategy. So you're already further along than you think. Or maybe you're just learning some options for yourself from that last week's episode.

Moving onto today's topic, I'll be sharing with you the differences between new practitioners and those who are more advanced in the field and then you can determine where you think you are on that continuum. And again, no judgment. You could be somewhere in between and that's totally okay. I'll also be wrapping up these foundational episodes to end today's episode because next week we'll be starting with our first guest, which I'm so happy about it. I'm excited, love, love the energy of interviewing.

Let's move on for today. So new practitioners; if we think about someone new, so it could be someone fresh out of college, just starting, wanting to do holistic strategies or maybe somebody that has some experience, but is new to using holistic strategies, we'll put them together for the purpose of ease with this. So thinking of both of those people, they may be more hesitant to start, maybe not sure. Should I try this? How's this going to be? I'm not sure where to start. Still building that confidence piece, not feeling that they got this, still in the discovery phase like I talked about in episode one, asking themselves the questions, what do I want, where do I want to go with my holistic practice? Where does my future hold with this?

They also may make this rookie mistake of taking too many trainings and too many different topics that have nothing related to each other, which can be overwhelming and leave you in that state of what do I do now because it's going to be too much. So they aren't really applying what they're learning. They're just taking in that information over and over again from different sources, but not really tuning into focus.

And of course that makes them feel more unfocused as they try to get going and get their footing on becoming more of a holistic therapist. They may feel isolated. I know for me, even where I live, I don't have a lot of holistic therapists, counselor colleagues. I can count on one hand actually locally, maybe some people across the country I've connected with, but yes, I think that can especially be true for new practitioners. They haven't created that supportive community for themselves yet. So I think that that's going to be even more significant when, especially if you're new in starting this, that you may not know anybody but yourself. They may hesitate to get consultation or supervision. I think this is where imposter syndrome comes in and that may hold them back feeling like who am I to teach yoga or breathing sessions?

Am I good enough for this? Do I have the skills? They are feeling like they're a fraud, that they're going to be found out. So maybe you can connect to some of these, especially if you're new this. And I think that sums up a lot of the new practitioners, but let's go to the advanced. So just kind of pay attention. Where do you think you fall between these two or more on the advanced side? Advanced practitioners would be more confident in their practice. They feel like I got this, that internal ease of connecting mind, body, and spirit, knowing that no matter what comes up as they're using these holistic strategies with clients that they can figure it out, they can work their way through this total competence. Maybe nobody's got total confidence, but anyway, very confident, we'll say, but actively seek out others in the field to network with, consult with, continue to grow and learn from other people.

So really building that holistic supportive community for themselves, but utilizing, because sometimes, I know pre-pandemic too, this is true for a lot of people that may be, you create some kind of supportive community for yourself, with other colleagues, but then the pandemic hit and not seeing people in person for networking that that's kind of diminished your not ability, but you had to learn new ways to network and connect with others. And you maybe didn't follow through because it's been a difficult year, understandable, but we all need that supportive community.

And the second part, like I said, was utilizing that community. So billing is one thing, but then making sure to use it, utilize it for help, assistance when needed for consultation, for supervision, having someone available that could provide clinical supervision, especially for those difficult cases. That is something that is so important for all of us as clinicians. Remembering the importance of repetition when learning new holistic strategies. So your personal practice of whatever it is you're learning count. That is what matters because it's not always the best thing to jump right in and say, "Hey, I learned this movement and breath and I'm going to go tomorrow to use with clients." That's great. But the best way to do it is to practice, practice, practice. So you are totally comfortable. And I know I talk about that in another episode, but I think that that's more of the advanced practitioner too, really getting in there and practicing on colleagues, friends, family so they feel ready and get this as part of their routine, practicing on themselves to use that so they know the impact of what it feels like to use these strategies.

Advanced practitioners know what areas to focus on. So they don't take many different trainings, like seven different trainings in a year, as an example, and for all different areas. So they zone in, focus on what's most important to them and then just keep going and taking the advanced trainings to further enhance their skills. So on and on, like we don't ever "arrive." I think with our training and education, I think it's a process that knowing that there's always more to learn. Sometimes I feel like even with all my experience, even with all that I've done with trainings and consultation and supervision that geez, sometimes I'm like, man, there's still so much I don't know, but that's okay. No judgment. We all are on that journey of learning.

So I hope that gives a little clarity on those differences between the new practitioners and the advanced ones and where you see yourself. That's the important thing, because I think we all can find other ways to improve ourselves in our practices, but just to wrap up where we are through this holistic therapist journey, so if you remember an episode one, I talked about discovery as the theme, and hopefully you are able to journal some of these questions. If not that's okay. But how do you discover what type of holistic practitioner you want to be? That's part of the journaling questions I talked about to really get centered with that, grounded, taking a moment to connect to yourself, your inner wisdom, that inner voice. That means filtering out all the chatter of the world, all the hectic-ness, social media, just unplugging from all that, unplugging from family, friends, your phone, really digging deep, doing some breath, work meditation maybe, just to get you to that open place to listen.

I think we can tap into that inner wisdom by listening more to what comes up. Because I think it can be like a whisper that we hear. And we have to really pay attention to that. I've been doing that more too. As I get some things that come in my mind. I might just write them down in my phone if I'm on the go, put them in my computer if I have ideas about this podcast or other things that come up, just finding a place to really allow those to plant a seed so that maybe it could grow into something else. And again, the questions I asked were what have you heard of as far as holistic therapies or strategies? Maybe brainstorm a bunch. What do you most connect with? Maybe some of the stuff I've been talking about is like, oh, I don't like any of that or none of that sounds good to me. So maybe you have something different, a different idea. And what does matter to you? It's going to take some inner reflection for that.

And an episode two, I dove into the legal and ethical issues of scope of practice and scope of competence. So again, remembering that scope of practice is what clinicians can do generally, or counselors, therapists, scope of competence is based individually what a therapist can do based on, again, those things that I talked about as far as education, training, experience and supervision. So remembering just because you go to one training does not make you competent, that there is more involved with that and making sure to get the training that you need, consultation, supervision, so that you can reach that place of competency, but making sure that you're honest and upfront with clients about your level of competence. So another important piece with that.

And I did talk about research based interventions as well as part of our ethical standards but knowing that, does this tool help my client or not? If it doesn't, then we get rid of it because I do feel like sometimes we have to really look at what is working for the clients on our caseload that we've been using and go from there and knowing that there is a lot of research out there and that you might have to dig a little deep to find some of this, even with the holistic strategies. I know I talked about Reiki, aroma therapy, and yoga as particular areas that have some research. So just keep that in mind.

In episode three, I talked about how to integrate holistic strategies into clinical practice safely and effectively. So the importance again of that, creating that personal practice and building a relationship first before you jump right in with all those holistic ideas and strategies, how best to introduce a concept to a client, what to do in the middle of the session and how to end it right from start to finish. So I go more into that. And there's a lot to that. I think people forget you can't just jump right in. You really got to be mindful of how you're presenting and how you're ending with any kind of new strategy.

And the last episode I talked about the many different common holistic strategies that therapists use such as mindfulness, yoga, energy, healing, aroma therapy, meditation, and visualization. I think that was it. So just to give you some ideas of what's out there. If you haven't heard that or any of these other episodes, be sure to tune in and you can access them on the website at www.holisticcounselingpodcast.com or check it out through iTunes.

So this brings us to the end of episode five and the final solo foundational episode series. So I will be doing some other solo episodes throughout this podcast, but my main focus is going to be interviewing guests because I feel like that brings a different energy and brings so much more information that I can't bring. Because we're all limited in our own perceptions and knowledge and experience. So I love to bring other people on and really dig deep on some of these topics that I think that you're going to love.

Much thanks and appreciation to you for listening today and remember to subscribe, rate and review. I can't emphasize how important this is. So the podcast needs you to be able to do this for me. Please subscribe, rate, and review so that I can grow and reach as many holistic providers as possible. And this will also help us build this holistic community. Next week, I start my guest interviews, which I'm so happy about. I'm bringing in Dr. Carla Marie Manly. So she'll be discussing building self-care and self-confidence for holistic therapists. This is truly an amazing interview with so many phenomenal insights. You don't want to miss it.

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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