These five key questions can help you to assess if a specific holistic practitioner is right for you.
(1) What credentials and experience does the practitioner hold?
Effective holistic practitioners have either a state license or have certification from a residential training program of a minimum of 2 to 3 years with an emphasis on supervised clinical training with assessment methods and application of various modalities.
(2) How does the practitioner determine which protocols to use with each client?
If you speak with a practitioner about liver imbalances and the person immediately suggests a liver cleanse with high megadoses of supplements without asking you if you have any other medical conditions or if you are on any other herbs, supplements or medications, walk away.
Such people take a cookie-cutter, one solution fits all approach that can be detrimental, especially to people who have delicate systems.
A practitioner coming from a place of balance will take a full medical history, find out what herbs, supplements and medications you are on, explore what other symptoms you are experiencing, analyze your diet and exercise regimen and then suggest solutions.
After all, you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable if a western medical doctor heard you describe one symptom and without further information, suggested that you take a certain medication, right? Why would you accept that approach from a practitioner who uses natural remedies?
(3) How much customization is offered with remedies like herbal medicine or supplements?
Ask the practitioner if he or she has training with creating customized formulations which can be tailored to the individual. In my practice, I offer both customized herb formulations and also pre-made formulations. However, because of my training with creating tailored blends, I rarely dispense singular pre-made herbal formula. Instead, I select a combination of formulations that are more tailored to my clients’ unique needs.
(4) Is the practitioner open to a balanced integrative approach that complements western medical care?
There are times when people need the benefit of western medicine. A practitioner of holistic methods will readily acknowledge the limitations and scope of natural healing methods and work in teamship to coordinate appropriate medical referrals for clients when they need medical advice and care.
In my practice, I cultivate relationships with physicians who are open to an integrative approach so we can work together harmoniously to achieve the best care for clients blending eastern and western methods.
(5) How well does the practitioner include the client in the decision making process when selecting herbs or other natural therapies?
If you are given a holistic regimen to follow but do not know why the regimen has been selected for you, you are disempowered as a consumer of holistic services.
In my practice, I educate my clients about different protocol options, explain strategies, and gain feedback as it is my deep belief that healing and recovery is a team process.
Sometimes I might have a protocol in mind that I know would be very effective for an individual, but if that client says, “That does not resonate for me,” I will find another strategy to use as it is important that clients feel comfortable with all aspects of the work.
I also offer instruction of self healing tools like qi gong movement, self-help acupressure, meditation and emotional balancing activities with the idea that the work of healing is more than what occurs when clients are in my clinic or class space. I want all clients empowered to continue the work in their everyday lives away from the clinical environment.