A Joining of Two Careers | Acupuncture and Counselling Skills

Joining Maritime Business College was an avenue for Alasdair Lowe to combine two careers in acupuncture and counselling skills.

Prior to enrolling in the Counselling Skills/Social Human Services program in September 2023 he was a 2022 graduate from the Acupuncture program at the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“I’m hoping to try and create a bit of interest in how acupuncture might relate to the counselling field,” said Lowe.

Noticed a need early on in his career

Dating back to his time in the acupuncture student clinic some of his appointments were taking longer than usual because there was a counselling need and he took the time to speak with his patients. It didn’t change after he completed the program when he and a classmate were running a clinic together assisting clients with digestive problems, dietary restrictive problems, musculoskeletal pain and more.

“I’m not the kind of person that sets somebody up to open up and then abandons them,” said Lowe.

At the time, he felt for some patients counselling was something that had to happen before the person could receive the treatments he was providing. For example with dieting he would discuss the person’s mindset and headspace in addition to what he was doing with acupuncture.

“The more that I found myself dealing with that, the more I felt I needed official skills,” he said. “Coming from an acupuncture background in North America I’m particularly concerned with ethics and correct practice.”

“We’re basically integrating something that is foreign into our system. There is resistance, so I think it’s very important for people to be doing the best work and be open to having their work scrutinized to create a level of trust that I dare say people have lost after COVID.”

Concern was growing

As he had patients who were dealing with issues that were more complex he grew concerned because he was unable to support them as much as he needed or wanted to.

One of his clients was a child who was dealing with distress from identity issues.

He added there was a certain amount of acupuncture that could assist with that, but they were fine medically and found themselves spending more time having discussions.

“I think we should have credentials in order to validate what we’re doing,” said Lowe. “That creates a system where people can trust things without having to do incredible amounts of investigation.”

Started doing some research on counselling skills programs

After doing some research Lowe found Maritime Business College’s program. One of the things that attracted to it was the option to complete it in 60 weeks.

He’s happy with his decision to enroll. The course has been excellent and guest speakers like Paul Mackenzie and Lisa Giles are incredibly good at delivering the information they convey.

Since he started the program, he has updated his LinkedIn profile letting people know he’s studying at the college. That resulted in an increase of interest in his profile and more interaction with people on the platform.

Helping the underserved community

One of Lowe’s focuses following graduation will be on underserved communities. In order to help people in those areas he feels bedside manner and credentials are important.

“There has to be something that people can feel that you’re tied to, that they can speak to if you do something they don’t like,” he added.

A combination of the two careers could take some time. One item he’ll need to deal with is ensuring patients have proper coverage for both services.

“The hope is to integrate the things together, but I think there needs to be checks and balances,” he added. “It’s likely the integration will be a much longer part of the process.”