G-0LXZDGBNQ6 Legal and Ethical issues in Holistic Therapy - The Holistic Counseling Podcast

Episode 2

Published on:

30th Mar 2021

Legal and Ethical issues in Holistic Therapy

How can you be true to yourself as a holistic therapist while providing ethical service to your clients? What is the difference between the scope of practice and the scope of competence? Are there ways you can set up your business to provide two different streams of service?


  • How to protect yourself against liability as a holistic therapist
  • Scope of practice vs scope of competence?
  • How can you expand your scope of competence?
  • How can you expand your therapy practice, ethically?


I found the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics where it discusses treatment modalities and thought this was a good place to start.

When providing services, counselors use techniques, procedures, modalities that are grounded in theory and/or have empirical and scientific foundation. Any kind of innovative techniques or procedures, modalities explaining the potential risks, benefits and potential ethical considerations of using these … you work to minimize any potential risk or harm when using these techniques as well as discussing the benefits.

What does this mean for holistic therapy and therapists?

The important thing that you have to do is if there is something you want to get into you, have to do your own research to really see what is out there.

I found a lot of research around reiki, essential oils, and yoga and their potential benefits. Although it is also as important to research any potential risks that you need to be aware of when working with your clients. For example, if you work with yoga you have to get a separate liability, even if your yoga practice is incredibly gentle, just in case.


Scope of Practice

Scope of practice is essentially the explanation of what a practice does as a whole and places limits upon what can or can not be done in that profession. My board, which is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Board, states that:

It defines that we can provide assessments, diagnose, provide treatment plans and individual counseling using psychotherapeutic techniques.

Scope of Competence

This is more individually based on what a clinician may do and is determined by one’s education, training, and experience.

So in summary: the scope of practice is more general in the therapeutic word but the scope of competence specifies what you yourself are competent in and can do best to treat.


It takes a lot to really gain that competence, so again, it’s continuing that education and not only taking that one workshop … I always think that one thing would not be enough. You've got to talk to other people about it and be able to network with people who are also skilled in it so get some insights, consultation and supervision.

With the scope of competence, you can build on that by taking more classes and courses, building your experience, and training more often to broaden and strengthen yourself in the field you work in.

You can also read the relevant literature at the beginning to find the research out there that supports your findings. Try to find as much as you can in books, articles, and videos.

Your scope of practice is also not only what you do but what you say to clients during sessions. This means that you need to make sure that you are clear with how you explain things to them, that they sign an informed consent form.


  1. Make a service you offering, such as tarot card reading, a separate part of your business. In this way, you can fulfill two parts: being a traditional therapist and offering holistic healing as a separate business whilst remaining ethical.
  2. Do some journaling: think about what is the best way you can add different integrated healing into your practice. What are you called to do? How can you weave this in somehow so that you feel you are not disregarding your passions and your calling.

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About the Podcast

The Holistic Counseling Podcast
Answering the call to build your holistic practice
The Holistic Counseling Podcast hosted by Chris McDonald, a Licensed Professional Counselor, inspires mental health therapists to explore treatment options outside the realm of traditional therapy. Yes, Chris knows all about the stigmas attached to holistic therapy, yet she also knows how the client benefits far outweigh the looks, what-ifs, and worries about what people will think of you as a Mental Health Professional.

With a 200-hour Yoga Teacher and Group Practice Owner to her name, Chris specializes in treating anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief in young adults. She has seen firsthand how beneficial mindfulness, relaxation skills, meditation, and yoga have been in supplementing traditional therapy - especially in today’s world.

If you’re a Mental Health Therapist looking for the most up-to-date holistic treatments and wanting to learn how to integrate them into treatments, The Holistic Counseling Podcast is just for you! Chris helps you take your practice to the next level with a thriving holistic counseling service that you can give with confidence. Are you ready?

About your host

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Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald is a Licensed Professional Counselor and holistic provider with a group practice, “Path to Hope Counseling” in North Raleigh. She is a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and offers gentle yoga classes, workshops and private yoga sessions. She specializes in treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma and grief in young adults in transition. She teaches clients relaxation skills, mindfulness, meditation and uses Brainspotting in treatment of trauma. Chris also offers Therapy for Therapists and wrote the book “Holistic Self-Care for Counselors.” She is passionate about helping other Mental Health Therapists and created “The Holistic Counseling Podcast.” Her favorite holistic daily rourtines include yoga and meditation.