10 Challenges of a Healing Arts Professional

5 min read

The “healing arts” is an umbrella term for some of the oldest holistic healing modalities. Think massage, yoga, naturopathy, and even shamanism. If you’re considering a career in the healing arts, you should be prepared for the challenges that come with it. This article covers everything from dealing with stigma to managing your clients’ expectations.

What Are the Healing Arts?

Art is, perhaps, one of the few truly universal forms of expression in existence. In a broader sense, art defines cultures and unites societies. On a more personal level, however, it communicates a message that words can’t always convey, touching both mind and body.

This unparalleled ability to reach the depths of human experience makes art a holistic form of healing. Dance, for example, encourages a certain level of bodily awareness, while naturopathy and homeopathy support the body’s natural healing processes.

That said, the term “healing arts” is a bit of a misnomer. In truth, these practices are as much of an art as they are a science. Although various alternative healing modalities have been practiced for centuries, many are only now receiving the recognition they have long since deserved.

Thinking about pursuing a career as a healing arts practitioner? Read on to find out what challenges you can expect—and how you can overcome them.

The 10 Biggest Challenges Healing Arts Professionals Face

As with any career choice, you can expect ups and downs when pursuing a healing arts profession. Here are 10 things you need to be prepared for:

1. Overcoming Stigma

It should come as no surprise that the biggest hurdle that healing arts professionals face throughout their careers is, well, the stigma. Nowadays, there’s a pretty narrow set of socially acceptable options for health and wellness.

Of course, if that were true, it would delegitimize centuries of wisdom—a lot of which conventional medicine is built on. While you can’t change people’s minds overnight, you can make a difference by educating your community and offering your services to your social circle.

2. Integrating With Other Health Professionals

At a time when the benefits of integrative medicine have been clearly established, it’s reasonable to expect conventional healthcare practitioners to be more open to alternative modalities. However, when it comes to the healing arts, professional stigma is just as rampant as public stigma, and it can be difficult to find a group of professionals willing to practice alongside you.

If you keep getting the cold shoulder from conventional practitioners, consider reaching out to other holistic professionals. Networking with people from your classes and seminars is a great place to start.

3. Getting Referrals

A passion for community wellness drives most healing arts professionals. However, if it’s your career and primary source of income, then it’s important to remember that your practice is also a business. Like most specialists, a significant portion of your clients would likely come from professional referrals.

Getting referrals starts with giving referrals. Seriously, the chances are that you can’t help everyone that comes your way. Creating an integrated wellness plan means consulting your colleagues, and creating a formal referral program.

4. Securing Funding

Whether you want to start your own practice or expand your office, it can be difficult to secure funding for a business model that, frankly, traditional lenders don’t know much about. Without a clear picture of the value of your business, lenders just don’t know how to assess the risk associated with it.

Believe it or not, the local bank isn’t the only source of funding accessible to you. Start with your family and friends. You may also want to look into private lenders and investors—they’re always on the lookout for a great opportunity.

Additionally, consider phases of your business, affording you the opportunity to have little to no outside loan money.  This is exclusively trained at the Institute of Holistic Integrative Studies.

5. Managing Expectations

Popping an aspirin to take care of a headache has become second nature to most people. Unfortunately, this means that most clients have come to expect near-instant relief and are disappointed when they don’t get it.

Taking the time to explain the wellness journey to your client at the very first appointment could make all the difference. Better yet, send your client home with some reading to help them understand the process and what to expect.

6. Insurance Coverage

It’s no secret that the cost of basic health and wellness can be overwhelming for the average person, even with health insurance. Your potential clients may be disappointed to find that their insurance doesn’t cover alternative options, putting both you and your clients at a disadvantage.

Keep a list of insurers with plans that cover alternative wellness options. You can hand this list out to any of your clients that express an interest in changing insurance providers.

Further, realize that many times the “co pays” of insurance end up being more than your services are without insurance coverage consideration.

7. Connecting to Clients

Skeptics are everywhere, and you could find one staring you down in your own office. Often, you’ll get clients that aren’t especially convinced that they’ll get anything out of the experience. If your practice is grounded in meditation or spirituality or relies pretty heavily on your client’s psychological state, then it can be difficult too.

When faced with a hesitant client, it’s a good idea to address their concerns directly. Discussing your education and experience, for example, could help put their mind at ease and be more open to your practice.

8. Lack of Awareness

For most people, seeing a holistic health professional doesn’t even cross their minds. For the few that consider the option, it’s often the last resort. However, most people simply aren’t aware of the wellness options around them, which isn’t exactly a good thing for your business.

If you were a medical doctor, opening a practice would speak for itself. Holistic professionals don’t have the same luxury. Provide your community with as much information as possible about what you do and how it may benefit them, and they may be more inclined to give it a try.

9. Creating Customized Wellness Plans

Every client is unique, which means that you can’t just copy and paste wellness plans. Many aspiring holistic professionals aren’t always aware of the due diligence they have to put in to help each client that comes their way.

It’s important to understand that everyone is a little different, which makes it so important to tailor your wellness plans to each client’s unique needs. Going the extra mile for your clients is what will truly make you stand out.

10. Choosing the Right Course

A good holistic career is built on a great education. Whether you’re trying to kickstart your career in the healing arts or elevate your practice, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start with so many options around.

Look out for academies that offer more than just theory. The  Institute of Holistic Integrative Studies (IHIS) has everything you need to help you succeed as a holistic professional, including practitioner training, clinical mentorship, and business guidance.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let that list of hurdles get you down—there isn’t a profession out there without its fair share. More importantly, there isn’t a challenge you can’t overcome with a little bit of guidance and support.

Remember, you don’t have to face these obstacles alone; IHIS offers a community and a world of resources to help you on your way to becoming a successful professional.

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