Holistic Health Counseling Careers

If you’re an individual who wants to heal the whole person-physically, emotionally and spiritually-then a career as a holistic health counselor may be in the cards for you. Read on to learn more about what exactly a holistic health counselor does, what type of education you would have to achieve to pursue this type of career, and the personal qualities you will need to be successful.

To work as holistic health counselor, you must have a strong desire to help people become the best they can be. It helps to have a well-rounded education in a variety of areas, such as nutrition and mental health and wellness. A desire to continue learning and improving in your field is definitely a plus, and patience and compassion for your clients is absolutely vital.

What is a Holistic Health Counselor?

A holistic health counselor is a professional who aims to treat their patients in the broadest possible sense – by combining treatment of the mind, body and soul. The aim in treatment of this sort is to address both physical symptoms but also underlying causes and complaints, so that the likelihood of the symptoms reappearing is greatly reduced. Treating both symptoms and root causes by adapting behaviors is seen to lead to a more rounded overall treatment.

Holistic health counselors can often work alongside other professionals, including medical teams, to provide a spiritual supplementation to western medicine. They can also guide patients on lifestyle choices and refer patients to other professionals for specialist advice and treatment, this is common in areas such as massage.

Whilst providing support to patients with acute medical issues, holistic health counselors can provide additional support and guidance to clients suffering ongoing and chronic health conditions. Similarly, patients without a specific health need can often seek the advice of a holistic health counselor to provide insight to try to prevent the onset of medical conditions or to maintain the healthiest lifestyle for their mind, body and soul. The relationship they have with clients is often a long one.

What Does a Holistic Health Counselor Do?

When you go to a traditional doctor, you will be examined to find the condition that ails you and treated accordingly, usually with traditional medications. However, holistic health takes into consideration not only the well-being of your body, but also the well-being of your mind and soul. Although many associate holistic therapy with alternative medicine, that is just one of many vehicles to better health that are employed by those who practice holistic health. A holistic health counselor, in particular, isn’t always a medical professional, but must is educated in the field of health to work in tandem with the doctors and nurses who treat you.

It’s important to note that holistic health is a philosophy, so you could work as a massage therapist, a nutritionist, a chiropractor, or a variety of other careers and be a holistic counselor if you choose to adhere to and practice the holistic health philosophy. Therefore, the job of a holistic health counselor is to increase their patients’ knowledge of the all options available for treating their particular health problem, while focusing the psychological and spiritual impact it’s having on them. For example, a person who is suffering from cancer may obtain traditional treatment via an oncologist, but would work with a holistic health counselor to address how their cancer is affecting them on the emotional and spiritual level, and learn about how they can improve their diet and exercise regiment to aid in their recovery, as well as how to adopt a regular practice of meditation to help deal with the stress and anxiety associated with having a serious illness.

Holistic health counselors deal with many different types of people who are facing a wide variety of health issues. Also, people who aren’t facing any type of illness may visit a holistic health counselor to learn how to improve their health and prevent the onset of any dangerous health conditions.

What are the Education Requirements to Become a Holistic Health Counselor?

The holistic health field is not nearly as standardized as other fields of study, and most colleges don’t offer any type of “holistic health” major. Students who wish to pursue this career path usually study related fields such as nutrition and massage therapy, as well as the principles that lay behind the holistic practice of health.

The amount of schooling you will need will depend on which career avenue you wish pursue, as becoming a holistic nurse or chiropractor will require more education than a massage therapist. Typical courses for someone who wishes to work as a holistic health counselor include integrative health, contemporary dietary approaches, Eastern medicine, general psychology as well as courses in your area of focus. Although there are different schools that offer certification, there is no nationally recognized certification for holistic health counseling.

The degree of experience you need before practicing in the field can vary widely. In most cases, you will need to complete a certain number of hours of a supervised internship.

What is the Salary for a Holistic Health Counselor?

As the fields that holistic health counselors vary widely, so do their salaries. According to the BLS, a massage therapist makes anywhere from $18,460 to $71,950 a year, depending on where they are employed and if they own their own business. Nutritionists make a median salary of $57,440, while a chiropractor makes a median salary of $79,760 (May 2014 data).

According to the BLS, there will be increased demand for employees in this field in the upcoming years, as the elderly population expands and more people branch out into different areas of healthcare.

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