Basics of Holistic Counseling with Chris McDonald | POP 574

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Are you considering incorporating holistic counseling modalities into your practice? What are some holistic options available to counselors to use?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Chris McDonald about the basics of holistic counseling.

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Meet Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald is a Licensed Therapist and holistic provider and owns a group practice, “Path to Hope Counseling” in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and offers gentle yoga classes, workshops, and private yoga sessions.

She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief in young adults experiencing life transitions. She teaches clients relaxation skills, mindfulness, meditation and uses Brainspotting in the treatment of trauma.  Chris also offers Therapy for Therapists and published the book “Holistic Self-Care for Counselors.”

She launched The Holistic Counseling Podcast in April 2021 to help Mental Health Therapists learn how to integrate holistic strategies into treatment and build a Holistic Counseling Practice.

Visit her website, connect on Instagram and listen to her podcast. Sign up for Chris’s free 9-week email course.

Join the Holistic Counseling and self-care Facebook group.

In This Podcast

  • Mindsets
  • Holistic options for counselors
  • Certifications and when to start


The most important mindset to try cultivating when it comes to finding holistic self-care treatments is to be open.

Having an open mindset means knowing that there are lots of different strategies that you could use that you may not have thought of beforehand. Try some self-exploration to find something new that could serve you.

Holistic options for counselors

There are different levels of holistic counseling:

  • Energy healing
  • Yoga
  • Essential oils

For me, the key component to holistic counseling is that you should be incorporating these [methods] in your lifestyle. So I do some yoga, some meditation daily [and] use some essential oils. I use essential oils with clients and in session with a diffuser. The more comfortable you can use it in a personal practice, the more it’s going to help you with treatment, using it with clients and being comfortable with it. (Chris McDonald)

It is important that you ask for permission from your clients before you start with any holistic modalities in session. If they say no, you have to respect that. If they say yes, then you can find the best ways to use these modalities for their benefit and yours.

If you are considering incorporating yoga into your practice, you can create a simple routine for your clients to do as homework at home.

In this way, you are enabling your clients to take some of their own care and healing into their own hands by equipping them with the tools they need to self-regulate in their own time, or whenever they need.

Certifications and when to start

It is in our scope of practice to teach [clients] breathwork but again do some training. It is not like you need a yoga certification to teach breathwork … having some kind of training is important but then again [so is] starting on the practice with yourself and then practicing teaching family and friends before you teach clients. (Chris McDonald)

If you want to incorporate holistic modalities into your practice, consider starting with your clients who you think might be more open to the idea first.

Even if you receive a certification, you need to be comfortable with it in order to be confident and competent. Begin practicing with yourself and get used to the results and the processes before introducing this new option to your clients.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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