What is a Holistic Practitioner?
I have used the title Holistic Practitioner to describe what I do for over 25 years, yet most people still do not have the foggiest idea of what that means. There is not an overriding governing body that outlines what a Holistic Practitioner is or does or can or cannot do. That leaves the possibilities wide open and leads to some confusion.
It was more than 40 years ago when I first became interested in Alternative Medicine. At that time there were no degree programs or schools that offered such a pathway. I began by talking to the practitioners I was seeing at the time, and they all offered the same advice. Just get certified in something alternative and begin working with people and then build your “tool kit” of other modalities. I was also told that to do “hands on” energy work one should be a certified massage therapist or a minister.
Reiki was my obvious first choice. I had experienced its benefits and was fascinated by the amazing results. I found a Reiki Master to work with and became a Reiki Master over the next year. This opened the door to an unquenchable thirst for learning all I could about the mind/body/spirit connection and I was off and running.
I found a 120-hour Certification Program in Behavior Kinesiology in Nevada. I quit my corporate job and signed up and got my certification. I came home and opened my first practice. Very quickly I realized I needed/wanted to know more. I really wanted to have as many tools as possible to offer the people who were seeking my help.
My next step came wrapped in an unexpected package. I became the Executive Director at the oldest Holistic/Spiritual Center in the US, Wainwright House in Rye, NY. Over the next 7 years I was exposed to the best and brightest Holistic Gurus of our times and had the opportunity to attend as many of their programs as I could fit into my schedule. I took full advantage of this opportunity.
During this time, I was invited to become a member of a team of doctors who were creating one of the first Centers for Holistic Healing under a hospital umbrella. Ultimately, I hired 14 practitioners and became the Executive Director of the Center.
Because I had worked in a hospital, I was accepted into a Medical Professionals Holistic Healer training program run by Dr. James Gordon, a Harvard trained Psychiatrist, and the Author of Manifesto for a New Medicine: The Wise Use of Alternative Therapies and Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma. This program was like receiving a big Christmas package wrapped with a bow because it made sense of all I was learning and gave it legitimacy in the Medical arena.
This only served to whet my appetite for more. Ultimately, I studied with medicine men and women and shaman in Peru, Guatemala, the rain forest in Ecuador, The Navajo Reservation and in Sedona. I became a certified Yoga instructor, non-denominational minister, Qigong Teacher and earned a 2-year degree in Drug and Alcohol counseling.
If you talk to other Holistic Practitioners, they will each have traveled a different path, and use different tools, techniques, and modalities. But they are all based in the connection between mind/body/spirit and keeping energy moving in the body. Breaking up emotional or physical energy blocks in the body is key to healing and maintaining a healthy body.
Holistic Practitioners can open a private practice or work in an Alternative Treatment Center. They can teach certification programs and often develop their own methods for naturopathic healing.
Often patients seeking out Holistic Practitioners are receiving unsuccessful treatment from the traditional medical community. In todays world there are many schools that offer certifications and degree programs as a path to becoming a Holistic Practitioner. Some are very specific such as acupuncture, massage, or aromatherapy, others offer a variety of tools and methods. It is a good idea to seek our practitioners that have a variety of tools or methods to offer.
I feel so strongly about the positive effects of a multi-faceted Mind/Body/Spirit approach to healing that I have developed a 10-month Holistic Healer Training Certification Program based on a wide variety of modalities, that will begin this September.
From my perspective communities could use more Holistic Practitioners!