Why and who train in Complementary Therapy?

I don’t think that many people considering training in therapies do it because they see it attached to a large salary, world domination or a Nobel peace prize but what does draw people to this profession?

Having taught students in several different Colleges and different age ranges, I have found when teaching 16-19 year olds (and sorry as this is a generalisation) they liked working with people but were often unsure what job areas to go into or saw it as a travel opportunity for working abroad.  With the increase in the number of Spa’s there is also a larger corporate industry with job opportunities for younger therapists.

By comparison older students often feel drawn to retrain in complementary therapy wanting a new career  in which they feel that they are helping people. They often have also had personal experience of receiving complementary therapy, which has helped them through a difficult time maybe emotional change, health problems or to support them through their pregnancy. This often means they come into training with a greater sense of direction and with more life experience to bring to their treatments.

I thought it would be interesting to see it from a client’s perspective who they saw as the idea candidate for the complementary therapy profession. So I asked a client if they would be happy to interviewed on their thoughts.

What do you see as the key skills that a person would need going into therapy training?

the key skills that seem vital would be to be caring, a good communicator  and be able to create a safe welcoming environment whatever the purpose of having the treatment whether this is restoration, health issues or a space for self reflection. To be able to make the client feel important whether they are the first client of the day or the last. Treating that everyone is equal. That it is a job that giving your best all the time is very important.”

What qualities do you see that person having? 

 “ they would have a warm reassuring feel and enough experience and understanding that I feel that I could explain my needs, concerns be able to disclose health issues …”

 Why do you think people choose to go into working in therapies?

“it would seem to me that going into a caring profession is possibly a career that chooses the person and is perhaps more of  an inner calling than a job choice”

Do you see it as important that the training is rigorous and that therapist is associated to a governing body?

 “Yes as I think it helps the client feel safe and assured that the practitioner knows what they are doing and will behave in the client’s best interest.”

Do you feel the setting and the type of treatment affects what you would look for in a therapist? 

“Yes I think that if I was having a relaxing treatment in more of a spa type setting then these may not important as when having treatment to address health issues or support emotions in a private practice”

 

For my client they felt they would want someone who has more life experience is well qualified and a member of a professional body but this might differ if they were having a relaxing treatment in a spa.

I went into working with complementary therapies at 22 being a single parent with a nine month old. I had always had an interest in Alternative Health and this had growth after having my son. This was in the early 1990’s and at that time I had not really thought of it as a lifelong career but I was just really fascinated.

I hope I have grown as a therapist over the years and what I see now with the majority of my students coming into therapies in their 30’s—60’s that the wealth of life experience they bring with them is the best foundation for their new career.

Whether you are 19 or 90 life long learning is one of the most important aspects of our journey as therapists and the best thing we bring is ourselves and the ability to respect our clients as themselves. The job would seem to be a calling and as one of my first tutors said

“to see it as being in service to our clients.”

So whatever your age, current life experience if you are drawn to training in complementary therapies and have dedication it’s definitely worth considering

I love my job and have never been bored and always have things to learn and progress in and additionally I get great job satisfaction. Even if I don’t become a millionaire or get a Nobel peace prize! I can’t image wanting to do anything else.

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