If I got a $ for every time that someone asked me this, I would certainly be well off lol! It is a very common question. And I love answering it again and again. Each time, I learn more and more and want to share it.
Mind, Body And Soul... Which path should I start from?
There are so many complementary therapies to choose from these days! Most therapists start their journey as a professional therapist because they have learned about natural health and how to use it in their own lives first... so you may already have an idea of which complementary holistic therapy is right for you. The components of health is made up of so many different sides - But to break it down to you, I would put them into categories of whether you are working mainly on the body (such as massage, yoga, nutrition etc.), mind (counselling, stress amanagement etc.) or energy (Reiki, healing, meditation etc.). If you really have NO idea as to what you would like to do, most therapists I know started off with one of the most popular ones - like swedish massage, aromatherapy and massage based therapies. Over the years, you will probably enjoy learning so much that you will add on to your knowledge and qualifications because you learn more about your Self first and what is right for you soon follows!
Get qualified by an accredited college or association
There are SO many courses out there! But I can guarantee you that maybe 40% of them will not be a recognized qualification to practice with - and it also really depends on which country you live in, the laws and regulations to get insurance as a practitioner. So play it safe and don't waste your money! It can be so frustrating when that happens, trust me! The best way to go about it, is to go directly to associations that cover the therapy that you wish to learn about and ask them which courses are best and what is needed to be fully qualified and insured. It is also worth thinking about whether you want to join an association afterwards for more support, keeping updated on scientific research, directories, journals, advice, legal action etc. For a list of international associations that can offer advice and get you started on your search, check this link.
Where can I work after I am qualified?
So you've made it through with an accredited qualification,you're insured, you may have already joined a therapist association and you are wondering where to go from here! During the course, you might have been give advice already- there are SO many options now! To name a few: Working at the gym, hospitals, therapy centre, own your own therapy centre/room, cruise ships, rent a room from a spa or salon, get employed by a spa or hair salon, work from home. Being creative and choosing hours of work is important - many people still choose to work on their family/friends first to build confidence before "getting out there". But with all these choices it is time to be very real about the responsibilities that you have to take on as a therapist. Consider it as a business, with all the highs/lows, marketing and hard work that comes from it. If you are thinking of doing this as a full-time thing to start off with, great! But know that most therapists work around their day job first to build their business before going full-time. The best advice I got when starting out is that it will take around 2 years or so to really build a client and business base so be prepared to work hard on it!
What are you doing to build your Self as a therapist?
As with all caring professions, it can take its toll on your energy if you don't keep strong. I work as an energy therapist so I know how crucial it is to really protect Self from being drained, physically/emotionally/energetically (for example: as a massage therapist, are you building your body and using the right posture to protect your back). This is done by truly working on your own Self growth. You are not just a health therapist for others, you must also work hard o your own health mind/body/soul! And bear in mind that sometimes you might need a break from it. In order to be a great healer, you need to also heal your Self. It is more than just a job.
Competition is tight!
When I first started doing Reiki, I was flicking through an article about competition as a Reiki therapist, which can apply to almost any form of therapy work. YES, there are many therapists out there just as passionate as you are about succeeding! What I liked about this article is that it took competition in through a holistic approach and said that although there s competition in this field, it is so important to bear in mind and TRUST that a client will choose the right practitioner for them as you will also attract the right clients for you. Competition is about respecting others in your field and networking to build, not to pull down others. And with this line of thought,you can work on networking with other therapists with positive intention - as well as knowing the intentions of others around you. It will tune you up.
It can get lonely!
...Following on from the networking info in the last tip, working as a solo therapist can get lonely if you don't actively seek out chances to build a support system - by going to events related to holistic health, association meet-ups, Reiki shares etc. You are not an island as a therapist, to keep in touch with the many growing legislation and information in this growing field, you will need to be prepared to work on meeting people. Many therapists start off because they wish to get away from office politics and working for others, but that doesn't mean that you should avoid people and expanding your own knowledge through them.
Re-invent your Self.
Because now is the perfect time to do so! Build your confidence to explore and re-define your Self. Re-invent is also a natural process of finding Self in transition. We are always changing and if we aren't, then we are not growing as a person. So re-inventing Self is not about trying to be something else - rather it is tuning into the new stage that you need to work on. Clients are attracted to therapists who are confident and have the energy that keeps them strong, alive and creative! Building your Self as a therapist is the time to show others and most importantly your Self, why you are passionate about Self growth and who you are!
There are so many books and websites to keep you in touch daily! Fill your home space with them!