If you’ve ever wanted to work as a Holistic Therapist there are a number of ways you can achieve this. From being self-employed and growing your own client base to working for an organisation or health-centre.
Jobulo caught up with Amy Harrison, who has owned her own Holistic Therapy business, to find out some tips on working in this industry.
How Did You Get Into Holistic Therapy?
After completing my degree in Psychology and Counselling I was looking into what career path to take. I wanted to help people with a hands-on approach. While studying I worked for Mencap, a charity for children and young people with special needs. A Holistic Therapist came in to do some Aromatherapy with the children and seeing the amazing affect it had inspired me to train in Holistic Therapy myself.
Did You Have to Study?
Yes. After my degree I went on to complete nine postgraduate diplomas in a range of Holistic Therapies including Holistic Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Special Needs Massage.
How Difficult/Long was Studying?
I did a full time course over two years. It is possible to do just one or two diplomas i.e. choose a specialism such as massage, but you have to complete an Anatomy and Physiology diploma with any therapy which is quite an intense but very important diploma as you need to understand the anatomy of the human body in order to work in health. The course was very hands-on and we had to practice treatments every day as well as learn the biology of what we were doing. Being so hands-on is the way I learn best and so, although it was intense, I thoroughly enjoyed my training and learnt a lot. Before passing your diploma you must be observed treating a wide range of clients from the public which can be quite intimidating but being thrown in the deep end makes you learn a lot very fast!
What Advice Would You Give Someone Wanting To Start Their Own Therapy Business?
At present there are sadly very few paid jobs in Holistic Therapy. You can work in a spa or beauty salon if your interest is more in beauty or sports massage which I did for a while but I much prefer working with clients on a regular basis and helping them through a particular health problem. The best way to do this is to be self employed and to bring in your own clients. There are a very small number of opportunities to work in hospitals or health centres but these very rarely come up. Finding clients can be hard but there are a lot of people out there to help you, you just have to be very proactive in finding them. It is lovely to work for yourself – you can set your own hours and pay and you are in control of the service you provide for your clients. You can work mobile, from home or you can rent a treatment room. Being mobile or working from home is great mainly because you get to keep most of the money you make. Renting a room can be expensive but it is usually the best way to attract clients as you can work out of a gym or doctor’s surgery etc and that provides advertising opportunities. The paperwork side is pretty simple you just need to keep a note of all the treatments you do and how much you charge as well as any money you put into the business i.e. rent, buying oils. Then you just input that into your tax return at the end of the year. It is very satisfying to run your own business getting your own clients and helping them through any health problems they are having.
What is the Hardest Part About Being a Holistic Therapist?
It can be hard to find a paid job and, if working for yourself, it can be hard to start a good client base. The job is also physically demanding. Sometimes I do eight one-hour massages a day! It can also be emotionally draining when a client has a complex or difficult problem they need help with.
It Must Be a Rewarding Job?
It is extremely rewarding – you are providing a service to people which they enjoy and it helps them to feel better! I love working with people and I get to interact with them every day. My specialism is working with children with special needs and I love being able to reach these children in a way many people can’t. There are different avenues you can explore in Holistic Therapy too. I am expecting my first child and I am looking forward to learning Baby Massage – there are so many opportunities within the industry.
What Are Your Tips for Anyone Who Wants to Work in this Industry?
You need to decide how you want to work in the field. If you want a paid opportunity you should find out if this is going to be feasible once you have trained and if you want to be self-employed you need to make sure you have the determination to create a client base.
Do You Have to Have a Particular Personality?
You just have to have a passion for helping people!