As the Relationship Manager at City Wellness Collective in New York City, my job is to vet holistic practitioners. I have unique insight into the quality of practitioners in the wellness industry, and the challenges of discerning differences in experience and commitment to healing. Through calls, in-person meetings, and trial sessions, our team determines if someone is a good fit to join our membership of excellent practitioners.

We’ve found that holistic care can be curated to make a good fit between practitioner and client more likely. We thoroughly vet our practitioners to ensure high-quality care for clients who enter our space. And it’s not just clients who benefit: each member joining our collective knows that their colleagues have gone through the same process, which helps create an esteemed environment. And the number one quality we look for in a potential candidate? Authenticity.

If you are just launching your holistic practice, there is no better foundation than authenticity. Why? Well, for one thing, passion will keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Clients are not always guaranteed; there can be ebbs and flows throughout the year. More importantly, the quality of care you will be able to provide will be of a higher caliber if you truly believe in your modality and work as a means to help others.

So how do we gauge the authenticity of a practitioner? At City Wellness Collective, we look for candidates who:

Invest in quality certifications. It is important to understand that not all certifications are created equal. From our perspective, a weekend training does not make you an expert, or necessarily proficient in working with clients. When evaluating certification opportunities, you want to ask, “how much will this teach me” instead of “how quick is this program” or “is this the cheapest option?”

Are genuinely passionate about their practice—and know how to articulate that passion. We look for practitioners who are either full-time, or are passionate about becoming full-time with their practice. This passion ultimately translates to a positive experience for the practitioner and the client. I’ve had multiple interviews where a new practitioner mentions that they saw [insert modality here] as an opportunity to leave a job that wasn’t fulfilling, or that they had just graduated school and saw our collective as a way to “get” clients, or that they really just wanted to figure out a way “to reach more people.” These statements aren’t necessarily bad, but if healing is just a hobby for you, you may not stick around when times get tough.

Know their unique perspective, and thus what kind of patients they can serve. Having a “why” is quite the branding buzzword these days, but it’s valuable—it’s the reason you decided to help others. Maybe you recovered from a traumatic experience, or maybe you witnessed a family member go through a radical transformation, and decided to dedicate your life to do the same. Your “why” will keep you motivated on the days where running your own practice gets lonely, or if all of your clients go on vacation the same week. Your “why” allows you to connect with clients who could benefit from your services: you know this works because it worked for you, so you can relate to their way of thinking.

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Clients want the person guiding them along their wellness journey to be passionate and experienced, so they can feel confident working with you. As a practitioner, you want to be the person who is best suited to authentically help someone else. It’s the age-old “treat people how you want to be treated” rule—quite literally.

Johanna Penry is the Relationship Manager for City Wellness Collective in New York City. She is also a digital marketer, yoga teacher, and plant-based chef.

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