Many people discover the healing arts after being sparked by something deeply personal; Valeria Neiman, a graduate of SWIHA’s Integrative Healing Arts Practitioner program, is a shining example of igniting this passion and turning it into her profession.
Sixteen years ago, Valeria found herself in the role of caretaker for her then-partner. He suffered from several different ailments and traditional medicine wasn’t producing many answers. After watching him undergo countless failed treatments, Valeria realized there was something vital that Western Medicine had been ignoring: the mind-body-spirit connection. This revelation motivated her to investigate alternative healing methods.
The more I researched, the deeper in love I fell with understanding the mind, the body, and how nature can help bring us back to wellness.
Valeria was relentless with her pursuit, pouring over studies and collecting various natural remedies. She soon found herself as a wellness resource not just for her partner, but for others around her as well. It quickly became clear: she had discovered her true calling as a healer.
As the saying goes:, she muses, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
Valeria previously worked as a teacher, graphic designer and food server. She believes all of those jobs prepared her to step in to her purpose; she acquired patience, creativity and a profound love for her fellow humans. Valeria knew she had to incorporate these gifts into her newfound passion for healing.
She took a leap of faith in herself and enrolled in to the Integrative Healing Arts Practitioner program, specializing in Clinical Hypnotherapy. At SWIHA, Valeria found the support and flexibility to combine the modalities she’s passionate about in way that resonated with her. She credits this freedom with her ability to individualize sessions and produce surprising results for her clients today.
I had already started discovering several techniques on my own and SWIHA offered me their knowledgeable shoulders for me to stand on and see even further.
Linda Bennett must be mentioned, Valeria emphasizes, as she presented the material in such a thorough and loving manner that I understood each baby step along the way. I am fascinated by hypnosis and how the brain works and each class was even more magical than the last.
However, Valeria confides that her healing arts education was not always a fairytale journey. She was so excited by the material that she incorporated much of it as a self-healing protocol, trying each tool, exercise and activity for herself. Such deep introspection was immensely challenging.
I faced my shadows and slayed many dragons that I had hoarded in the dungeons of my subconscious.
Valeria emerged from this internal battle victorious—growing mentally, spiritually, academically and emotionally through the healing process. She graduated from her program with a respect for each individual’s journey and the knowledge to effectively support them through their challenges.
SWIHA significantly changed my life in the sense that it gave me the confidence in myself that I needed in order to trust my intuition more fully.
Guiding Others Through Grief
Yet again, she found her direction steered by a personal event. After witnessing the passing of a family friend, Valeria was motivated to volunteer as a hypnotherapist at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas.
It was not part of any vision I had but the Universe placed that path in front of me and I did not question it, she says.
At first, Valeria was unsure if she possessed the emotional fortitude needed to handle the complicated energies that come with death. However, instead of shying away from discomfort, Valeria welcomed it with open arms and began to work with those who were closest to transitioning.
Through the use of specially adapted hypnotherapy scripts, she works with patients to alleviate anxiety and discomfort, release resentments, and even re-visit fond memories. She also supports those grieving by attending bereavement support groups and offering healthy coping tools to those adjusting to a life without their loved one.
Some group members resist the guided imagery part—they take relaxing as a betrayal to their loved one. But, the ones who follow share what a gift it is to relax for a moment and just be a little more “OK”.
Burdened, Little Souls
After her work with the hospice center, Valeria was offered the opportunity be a part of Camp Erin, a bereavement camp for children ages six to seventeen who are struggling after the loss of a loved one. She was entrusted with the youngest age group—the oldest child being no more than ten-years-old.
Young children frequently believe they are the cause of what happens around them, which makes navigating such an emotionally complex situation especially challenging. Valeria knew, however, that this is what she was being called to do. She worked through their grief with the use of Neuro-linguistic Programing, resiliency-building activities, art therapy, aromatherapy, and guided imagery.
In three short days, I was blessed to see the transformation of these burdened little souls back into children who could smile without guilt, play, and laugh as all children deserve—yet with such wisdom that most of us don’t have until we’re much older, if ever.
I’m honored to have been a part of that. With tools I gained through SWIHA, I’ve been able to aide in giving sixty children their childhoods back. It is—by far—the most rewarding experience in my life, thus far.
She is eagerly awaiting her return to Camp Erin next summer.
Valeria is continuing forward with the same proven tenacity. She aspires to bring guided imagery and meditation to Title I schools, partner with a chiropractic office, and eventually begin her own private practice as a hypnotherapist.
One thing is for sure: she’ll hold true to her vision of merging the worlds of traditional and alternative medicine in order to treat the full being—mind, body and spirit.
Her words of advice for future healers?
Be prepared to face yourself in the most visceral way possible. It’s very difficult, yet very rewarding. Also, write—A LOT. Plan your time wisely, and make sure you include some fun, light-hearted activities to bring balance in to your life.