Why Become a Holistic Therapist

This is a question I have been thinking about. I had no plans to change my practice. I loved being a humanistic psychotherapist, basing my interventions on the work of Rogers, Perls, Schutz, Gendlin, Erikson, and even Ellis. Experiences such as empty chair work and Rogerian reflection deepened the therapeutic process, and because I felt free to express myself, rather than wearing the therapist blank screen mask, I created meaningful relationships with my clients.

Yet, the process changed in an even more fulfilling way once I met John Pierrakos, MD, at a Humanistic Psychology Conference. Seeing his work with the body and his ability to help people recognize the personality and behavioral components they needed to change in order to enrich their lives let me know that there was something more that I could introduce into my practice. At first, I was my own guinea pig. And when I saw the changes in my own life, such as opening myself to love again, finishing my doctorate, adopting a child, and taking my career in a new direction, I was encouraged to try a more holistic program with my clients. Bt integrating many of the humanistic methods that I have always loved with body therapy, my clients found more fulfillment in their lives and they changed at a quicker pace than I or they thought possible.

So when other professionals ask me why they should attend trainings in alternative methods that focus on the body, meditation, and energy work, I can think of many reasons. For social workers, psychologists, and counselors whose emphasis is traditional, talk, or cognitive therapies, consideration of a more holistic methodology might take place when boredom sets in, when clients don’t change after many hours of work, when there is less pleasure in going to work, when your own life feels stuck, when you realize that therapy is about more than just problems, when DSM diagnoses are no longer working for all your clients, and when you want to help people have more pleasure in their lives, be in their truth more often, and open their hearts.

Much warmth,

Karyne Wilner

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