The Holistic Healing Certificate Program is taught by Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L and begins in the the October. Learn more about the program here.
Register for the first class “Power of the Mind in Healing: Foundations in Integrative Health.” Register here.
The following testimonials are from occupational therapists and health care professionals who have taken the program who share how it has helped them both personally and professionally.
“These classes have been helpful to me in so many ways, both professionally and personally. I originally took this course to help me become a better-equipped occupational therapist, massage therapist and holistic practitioner, and it certainly has helped me to do that! I have learned to more easily trust in my own intuition when choosing an approach to healing. As I’ve gained confidence in that ability, those who have allowed me to practice these new techniques as I am learning them have affirmed that my technique choices and intuitive insights have been accurate, helpful and/or healing to them. It has been a true joy and something of a surprise to find that I can tap into a part of myself that can read a person’s energy and knows what approach to take in their treatment. I look forward to learning more through continued practice.
Additionally, and maybe even more importantly for me, this course has helped me quite a lot personally. Throughout my lifetime, I have experienced episodes of crippling anxiety, panic attacks and debilitating depression. I also have experienced mild to severe chronic pain and mild cognitive deficits since undergoing treatment for breast cancer treatment ten years ago. I believe the root cause of many of these maladies lies in unhealed emotional trauma that I experienced in my childhood and have been further impacted by experiences in my adulthood related to or in reaction to that earlier trauma.
Through increasing my understanding about the somatic manifestation of emotions in the body and learning the interactive mindfulness meditation technique to bring those somatic-emotional links into awareness, I feel that I am discovering more about how to heal my own old wounds. Also, through the creation and utilization of intuition cards, I now have another tool to bring my own deeper knowing into awareness when I need insight and clarity about any situation. And on a side note, I delight in having learned while making them that I’m a talented and creative artist, which I didn’t realize before!
I have been so grateful for the opportunity to spend time over the last few years participating in this course, learning more about mind-body- spirit connection and the strategies that can be implemented to promote wellness and prevent disease (the absence of ease). ”
” After undergoing yoga teacher training in early 2017, I solidified in my meditation practice to at least 20 minutes today, often 30 – which is the amount of time it takes to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and move from the fight or flight to rest and digest response. While I continued putting meditation more into practice, the holistic healing certification courses, particularly guided meditation and imagery, have given expression to something that I experienced but had not really been able to explain. It has given me great joy to start guiding clients in connecting with their breath and body, and this is the direction I feel most called towards within the holistic occupational therapy community.
Meditation has not only influenced my nervous system, but also my intuition. This knowing without conscious reasoning has always been a strong capability of mine, but until taking these courses I had not really been able to put words to express or explain what I felt. I am grateful to have learned additional ways to deepen my own intuition, but still need to build confidence in guiding clients to do the same. I have worked to create an external safe space for my own personal practice, and someday believe I will have an additional space to share with clients, whether privately or in a class or workshop setting. Developing clarity and simplicity within my external space has allowed the feelings clarity and simplicity reflect within.
Receiving energy healing during the course was particularly powerful for me. This course occurred during the Thomas Fire in the county where I live, which burned entirely around my small town in California. I had never experienced displacement due to a natural disaster, and when I received the day class met after the fire began, it honestly felt like bathing in a river. Surrounded by heat on all sides, this was an important part of my personal journey and process. I see and remember the impermanence of all things but have also seen the beauty that can come after destruction and heartbreak. All things are temporary, it is our attachment to the perception of permanence which creates suffering. “
“The way you Emmy guided the class provided an incredibly safe, supportive, and loving atmosphere. Her openness and candor allowed for us to be vulnerable and open as well, and also encouraged me to talk more openly about the topics with others/clients.
For me, I believe a key point from all of the classes is how important it is to learn how to listen to our mind, body, and spirit and trust our inner wisdom. This is prevention, and this leads to more integration of the self, thus wellness. Releasing the mental grip we may hold on unhealthful emotions and thoughts create space for positive thoughts, open-mindedness, and adaptable thinking, leading to feelings of joy, self-value, calmness, and safety within one’s body, one’s Self, and one’s life. The body, mind, energetic self, and spirit are our healing agents and modes towards wellness when given the opportunity.
What I found most valuable of all the meditations taught was the Interactive Mindfulness with scripts provided for different scenarios. Practicing on one another, observing others, the feedback and encouragement from Emmy and the other students tremendous helped in building my self-confidence in listening to and trusting my abilities and intuition so I can work more deeply and effectively with my clients. Professionally, this has helped me adapt treatment techniques. I now use the Interaction Mindfulness Meditation either solely or as a dialoguing technique with Reiki and/or CST, which I have found it to be incredibly effective in processing emotions and reducing pain. It is just as important to guide a person to identify where they feel positive emotions in their body and where they feel safe in their body so they have a resource to rely on. Providing techniques that actively engage someone in dialogue while teaching body awareness, how to feel safe in the body, and to understand the connection between thoughts, emotions, and the body teach self-management skills for stress and pain, leading to greater self-awareness, self-empowerment, and self-compassion. Personally, this inspired me to see a somatic experiencing practitioner for a few sensations to further learn about and understand my “emotional body”. I have learned about my emotional body and the wisdom it possesses by learning to feel the sensations of emotions. Then I started a “Body Book” to journal and dialogue with my body.
The importance of teaching a systematic progression of techniques at an appropriate pace for the client, enabling ample time for a client to develop resources (i.e. diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation, safe place image) that s/he can independently rely on or during deeper self-exploratory work with a therapist. Professionally I have been doing this, but this has been a good reminder for me to really focus on pacing—allowing enough time for the client to become adept and confident in developing and using his/her resources. Personally, this helps me to realize that breathing, progressive relaxation, and other techniques to induce a relaxation response are just as important as using other, more intricate or complex meditation techniques. It builds a foundation for progressing in meditation. Some days I realize I do not need to do a more complicated meditation, but instead, would benefit more from a simple meditation of focusing on my breath and just “being.” This is healing in and of itself.”
“This holistic healing certificate program has helped me deepen my personal practice and inner healing journey, as well as strengthen my skill set in order to assist others on their journeys. At the start of this program I was eager about holistic healing but lacked the confidence, knowledge and experience to apply it to my life and career. Now, I am using everything that I’ve learned on a regular basis and I feel so much more aligned with my life’s purpose.
The fundamental component to holistic healing begins with understanding the mind body spirit connection. That we are dynamic beings consisting of a physical body, a complex mind and a timeless, boundless spirit. Holistic healing involves addressing all parts of ourselves to heal. It is understanding that the mind body and spirit are interconnected and if there is disharmony or dis-ease happening in one area, it can affect other parts of our self. It is recognizing that humans are not just physical beings in a physical world and then and only then can we unlock our true potential to facilitate healing.
Holistic healing also aligns with the health prevention and wellness model, which promotes healthy lifestyle routines, self-care practices and balance in our daily lives, so that we can prevent disease. Disease is linked to stress, stress weakens our immune system, stress causes us to not eat healthy, exercise regularly, or take time to relax and rebalance. Stress also releases cortisol into our bodies, and over time this leads to various manifestations of disease. Stress causes anxiety, depression, overthinking, the list goes on. For example, unhealthy lifestyle choices lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, all of which are highly preventable. The health prevention and wellness models’ aim is to prevent, verses waiting until disease has progressed to severe levels and then trying to treat it. Most of the time the damage is done, and can be irreversible or require lifelong medication to attempt to alleviate symptoms and return the body to a homeostatic state. If we honor the mind body spirit connection we can align more closely with a health prevention and wellness frame of reference.
There are various approaches to healing holistically, but a very integral component which must be addressed first is our intuition. Intuition allows us insight into ourselves, it’s our inner knowing, that gut feeling, the higher self which communicates with us. Many people override this ability without conscious awareness, secondary to the analytical mind. The mind will likely take over and rationalize our thoughts. This suppresses the ability of our spirit selves to assist with our healing. Our spirit can also be understood as our energetic self, combined with a connection with our higher self witness consciousness and any other spiritual support (spirit guides, angels, passed loved ones, god, etc.) that we align with. By strengthening this connection we can better access our inner knowing and allow it to assist with our healing and health. Once this is more easily accessible we can progress more deeply and effectively with holistic healing approaches.
Thanks for everything! It was such a lovely experience taking all your courses.”
“By taking my first step towards this adventure as I signed up for the Holistic Healing Certificate Program, I was able to go within on a journey that I did not think I would ever allow myself to experience. I have learned so much through understanding more about the mind-body-spirit connection, prevention and wellness, intuition, relaxation and meditation, energy healing and interactive mindfulness that was a foreign concept to me previously.
This deep journey over the past 8 months has taught me so much that it’s difficult to put it all into words. Some of the key elements that stand out to me are: from the basics, I have learned the importance of meditation from a physiological standpoint. I somehow found myself in the pattern of being in the fright mode and during this class I understood that being in that constant state of stress has so many detrimental repercussions to the body. It’s amazing that I see or speak to people now and I have so many thoughts on what they may be going through and how I could support them if they were ready to open up and become vulnerable.
It really begins with understanding the mind-body-spirit connection is the foundation to anything we do in our lives and what we hold ourselves accountable for. Understanding that the mind and all of our thoughts can have a positive or negative impact on our body systems is a vital part of life. Often illness or pain will appear to manifest in our physical body, but there is a connection that links it back to our mind and/or spirit. That is why it is essential to treat the whole person and not just one aspect to pain or suffering. As important it is to keep our bodies healthy by eating right, exercising, stretching, getting enough sleep, etc., its also important to keep our mind healthy. Our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, levels of stress and so on impact our physical body. We know that by reducing stress, taking deep breaths and relaxation techniques, physically our heart rate and blood pressure can be reduced, it brings more oxygen to the brain which reduces our stress hormone (norepinephrine) and can help in attention and decision-making skills. There have also been numerous studies on how meditation and changing our thoughts from negative to positive and positive affirmation can impact us on a genetic level.
As occupational therapists, almost our entire profession is built upon prevention and wellness. We are constantly learning that we need to sit in a certain way to avoid physical strain on our necks, shoulders, trunk and wrists. We know the importance of wellness in the patients we see and the exercises we can give them in order for them to live a life where they can participate in their meaningful occupations. If we are proactively exercising our brains with positive thoughts and calmness in any situation, we are avoiding a major breakdown in functioning when life can take us to that point. If we have these “tools” in our box and knowing the importance of how to bring down our flight or fight response, we can use them in any life situation that is handed to us. Just like physical exercise is to prevent us from getting a serious injury, mental exercise can help us to prevent serious injury to our minds. Too often, without even knowing it, we form certain habits that may not be healthy for us. If people find themselves in a habit of a cycle of negative thoughts or “unhealthy” coping mechanisms, it can lead them into a trajectory of a cycle of repeating those same patterns. If there is an interference to help others understand how to cope with stressors before they even come along, it can prevent the cycle of making a tough situation completely unbearable. Prevention and wellness are about maintaining a healthy quality of life if and when a situation does come up. Having more knowledge of stress triggers, coping mechanisms, etc. brings awareness to a person and gives them strategies of how to maintain overall health.
For me what really hit home was the executive functioning piece that you can gain by all types of meditation and just calming down the mind. I realized how difficult it was for me to relax enough to make decisions. Also, because so many constant thoughts were clouding my brain, it was difficulty to remember things and felt a sense of memory loss. Practicing listening to my intuition has honestly given me confidence more than anything else. I have been in the practice of second guessing myself and relying on multiple opinions before making any decisions. But after learning techniques to quiet the mind and listening to my intuition, I feel like I have been more confident in making simple decisions without going back and forth in my mind. Often, I’ve ignored my intuition because it was not the answer that I wanted to hear at that time. However, as life naturally unfolded, many signs pointed back to what I knew was true. I believe a lot of time and hurt among many things can be gained by listening to our intuition. This can also have great implications as an occupational therapy practitioner and just medicine in general for helping others listen to their intuition medically as well as investigating someone’s health further if our intuition is guiding us to it.
That leads me to how all of this information has helped me professionally as an occupational therapist. Not only has it helped me become a better employee while gaining more focus and trying to go about each day with a new positive perspective. It has also helped me be more present with the children I work with. It will continue to help me professionally as I would like to have my own clients and focus on holistic health and by practicing all of these techniques myself, I can have a better understanding of my clients. I see things in a new light and it feels as if I can understand what people are going through from a new lens. I feel like I have more tools to offer to them if they are open to feeling better from a mind-body-spirit perspective.
Thank you for leading me through this deeply connected journey and I am so grateful I took that final push after years of contemplating whether I should enroll or not. I can’t thank you enough for your patience and guidance Emmy! You are truly an amazing spirit and strong mentor! I cannot believe how much I feel the transformation within myself in the past few months and I cannot wait to keep growing and transforming in this new light that you shone upon me. My heart is filled with so much gratitude that I cannot even express.”