Welcome to this episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast! I’m your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist, and today, I am super stoked for an enlightening conversation that perfectly aligns with our mission. We’re diving deep into the waters of complementary and alternative practices in mental health care with our special guest, Tina Vitolo.

Discovering Untapped Potential

In this episode, you’ll uncover why these vital practices often receive little attention in the mental health field and why there’s a pressing need for the industry to evolve. Tina shares her insights on how empowering and educating therapists to embrace their authentic selves can revolutionize therapy sessions, making them more effective and deeply resonant.

Are you wanting to continue to level up your holistic counseling sessions? Then stay tuned. You don’t want to miss this one.

The Limitations of Traditional Therapy

When we think about traditional therapy, we often see its limitations. It doesn’t meet the needs of everyone, given how complex and unique each individual is. Today, we explore how embracing more complementary and alternative approaches can offer a more comprehensive path to healing.

We’ll discuss the significance of integrating different modalities and their impact on therapeutic outcomes. Yes, I said it, research backs it up! Tina Vitolo, LCSW, Doctor of Social Work, has done extensive research on complementary and alternative interventions in clinical social work practice, published in the Journal of Research on Social Work Practice.

Embracing Alternative Modalities

Tina integrates human design, crystal healing, and intuitive practices with established clinical theories such as psychodynamic, transpersonal, existential, humanistic, Jungian, and person-centered. Together, we’ll explore how aligning these unconventional practices can enrich and personalize therapeutic sessions.

So, what first interested Tina in moving towards more alternative modalities? It was her personal experience with engaging in spiritual practices and holistic treatment interventions that opened her eyes. She shares, “Spirituality offered an environment of safety and vulnerability where conventional practice never really had that space.”

Challenging the Rigidity of Traditional Approaches

There’s always this push for integrating empirically supported treatment modalities, which can feel rigid and limiting. Tina points out that evidence-based practice has three stools for balance: research, clinical expertise, and client preferences and values. Unfortunately, the focus often falls on just one—research—neglecting the other two crucial elements.

The Power of Therapeutic Rapport

Therapeutic rapport is the foundation of all therapy. It’s about holding a safe space, fostering relationships, and allowing growth. As Tina eloquently puts it, “If you even think back on any healing space where you’re allowed to ascend or grow, it always had to do with someone holding safe space alongside you.”

Authenticity in Therapy

Being authentic as a therapist is essential. It requires inner work and self-awareness. Tina shares how embracing her own story and aligning it with clinical theories helped her avoid feeling like an imposter. She encourages therapists to explore their own journeys and match them to clinical concepts, fostering authenticity and confidence.

Integrating Holistic Practices

In her practice, Tina often receives spiritual downloads, guiding her to incorporate different holistic practices. She emphasizes the importance of a good screening process during client intake to ensure alignment and safety. For example, she introduces human design, a system that helps individuals understand themselves better, to her clients who are open to it.

Misconceptions and Evidence

There are many misconceptions about complementary and alternative modalities, such as being labeled as “woo woo” or lacking evidence. However, Tina has found substantial research supporting these practices. It’s crucial for therapists to do their due diligence and understand the benefits these modalities offer.

A Call to Embrace Holistic Practices

Tina’s parting advice to therapists who are afraid of embracing holistic practices is to surround themselves with evidence and lean on practitioners who have successfully integrated these methods. She reminds us, “If you’ve ever been waiting for a sign, you are the sign.”

Connect with Tina

You can find Tina in her Facebook group, “The Black Sheep Therapist Embracing Unconventional Practices in Mental Health,” or follow her on Instagram @the_black_sheep_therapist and TikTok @theblacksheeptherapist. Her website, soon to be upgraded, is theblacksheepguide.com.

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. If you haven’t rated and reviewed this podcast, please do so to help attract other listeners like yourself. This is Chris McDonald, sending each one of you much light and love. Till next time, take care.

Links and Resources