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Mental Health Practitioner: Tyler Woods, Ph.D

Cathy Sivak, Contributing Writer

Education Information and Advice

How did you decide to study holistic psychology, counseling and holistic health? How did you find your schools?

By accident! I was going to go to school to be this great psychotherapist and heal the world. In my first semester I took an anatomy class. Because I had taken nursing before, I asked the school why I needed anatomy, the advisor said just take it. So I did. I told the instructor I already knew anatomy. She said, “Really, then which chakra is the kidneys in?” I had no clue what she was saying. What was a chakra? The instructor was a healer who embraced me and worked with me for over four years. It was through my apprenticeship with her that I discovered holistic psychology and healing. The school I went to is an alternative learning school. I did not go to a degree factory. The school challenged me to think outside the traditional box. So I did.

What did you like and dislike about your holistic/naturopathic education? How did it build on your previous educational experiences in the field of social work? How did it differ?

I did not dislike anything. Nor did it differ from my other education because as I said I went to an alternative school for both my BA and MA. The college wanted you to take a chance and take risks to reach out and learn beyond what traditional learning would have asked.

I used to work at a clinic at which I supervised psych interns. Again, the social service field is really cut and dry. There is no room for a holistic point of view as much as follow the directions whether the client likes it or not. So for me, the big difference is about choice versus no choice.

What do you know now, that you wish you knew before you pursued your education in the mental healthcare field?

Great question! I wished I would have known several things. First, I wish I had known that being in the mental health field means pleasing a board and not the client.

What factors should prospective students consider when choosing a school? What should students expect from a holistic mental health curriculum? How available are hands-on learning experiences?

Here is the main thing to remember: pick a school that has accreditation! Expect a well rounded curriculum. Make sure there is an internship involved. Make sure there is a great deal of homework. Make sure there are days and weeks, even months, when you say, “This is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

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