How Can I Become a Mind-Body Therapist?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in mind-body therapy. Read on to learn more about career options along with job duties and requirements information. Schools offering Holistic Health Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Mind-Body Therapist Do?

Mind-body therapists use alternative health practices and treatments to promote both physical and mental health. They often specialize in a particular modality, such as creative art applications, Reiki, yoga or massage. Depending on the needs of a specific client, they may be working to help the client overcome a specific injury or illness, or they may use the practice to help boost the client's general wellness. Some practitioners also work with groups, like families or people in yoga classes.

Read the table below to learn about becoming a mind-body practitioner of yoga, creative art therapy and Reiki.

Yoga InstructorCreative Arts TherapistReiki Practitioner
Degree Required Certificate programMaster's degree Workshop or certificate program
Education Field of StudyVarious yoga stylesArt therapyBody energy and healing
Licensure and CertificationRegistered Yoga Teacher credential available Registered Art Therapist credential availableVaries by mode of practice; for example, a massage therapist would need a license
Median Salary (2017) $35,645*$42,161*$29,634*

Source: *PayScale.com

What Is Mind-Body Therapy?

A mind-body practitioner believes that the body and mind communicate with each other and that their communications affect a person's overall health and wellness. There are numerous forms of mind-body therapy, which include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, Tai Chi, Qigong, Reiki, progressive relaxation, hypnosis, deep breathing techniques, prayer, guided imagery, cognitive behavioral therapy and creative art therapy. You can use mind-body techniques to treat a plethora of conditions, such as body pains, anxiety, asthma, insomnia and migraines; these therapies are thought to reduce the stress that contributes to such ailments.

The many different mind-body modalities require different levels of training. If you'd like to offer direct patient care, involving diagnosis and prescribed treatment, you'll need an appropriate graduate degree and licensure. It is important to check with your state regulatory bodies to see if you need to be licensed, registered or certified to legally practice a particular form of mind-body therapy within your state. Read below to learn about becoming a mind-body practitioner of yoga, creative art therapy and Reiki.

How Can I Become A Yoga Instructor?

To become a practitioner of this popular mind-body therapy, you can begin by practicing yoga yourself and experimenting with various types of yoga, such as the Vinyasa, Kripalu, Bikram and Ashtanga styles. To become an instructor, you'll need to complete a yoga teacher training program that meets the requirements set by Yoga Alliance. Programs are offered at 200-hour and 500-hour training levels (yogaalliance.org). To meet these standards, you might enroll in a certificate program.

Throughout your training program in this ancient tradition, you can learn about the anatomy and chakras of the human body, principles of alignment, Shambhala meditation, concentration, Sanskrit beliefs, the history of yoga and the psychological effects of practicing yoga. You'll learn how to teach others to unite their thoughts and bodily movements to reach a state of clear consciousness. If you complete the more rigorous 500-hour program, you can become an official Registered Yoga Teacher through the Yoga Alliance.

What Education Do I Need To Be A Creative Art Therapist?

This form of mind-body therapy is a profession that requires you to obtain a graduate education. Your bachelor's level work should include art and psychology courses to prepare you to enter a master's-level program in art therapy. When choosing a program, check to make sure it's approved by the American Art Therapy Association. You'll learn to integrate creative endeavors into a psychotherapy agenda to encourage mental well-being in individuals who are recovering from health problems; artistic expression is believed to help people raise self-esteem, resolve conflicts and improve social skills.

Program requirements included practical work with patients in clinical settings. You'll be eligible to become a licensed professional clinical counselor upon earning your master's degree. With this designation, you'll be legally qualified to offer direct patient services and work in mental health institutions, nursing homes or corrections centers. After gaining professional experience in the field, you can seek additional credentials, such as the Registered Art Therapist.

How Can I Learn Reiki?

To learn this system of healing, which focuses on the balance of energies, you can enroll in workshops or short certificate programs, which may be offered by formal education institutions. Throughout your training, you'll learn about the locations of energy in the body, methods of finding and directing universal life force energy, ways that the body heals itself and how to use the power of human touch to help heal the body. The importance of the connection between the mind, body and spirit is emphasized. Your Reiki teacher will give you an attunement, which grants you access to the life energy.

Through different courses, you can delve into the use of symbols, chanting and hand gestures in Reiki ceremonies. To become a Reiki instructor, you'll have to complete a series of prerequisite courses covering the basics of this practice and then partake in an initiation Reiki Master Teacher course.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you decide to become a therapist, you could choose to focus your practice on an area other than the mind-body connection. For instance, as a career counselor, you would specialize in assessing client's strengths and weaknesses in order to help them make sound occupational and academic decisions. Like other therapists, career counselors need to complete a master's degree program and pass a licensure exam.

Alternatively, instead of becoming a yoga instructor, you could choose to be an instructor in a type of exercise that focuses more heavily on physical fitness, like weightlifting or aerobics. While you only need a high school diploma for this job, it can help your job prospects if you are professionally certified.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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