Lawrence Ellyard on Founding the International Institute for Complementary Therapists


PUBLISHED: March 6, 2024
Lawrence Ellyard International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT)

Spanning over 30 years of experience in natural therapies, Lawrence Ellyard’s career is rooted in a profound understanding of holistic well-being. Equipped with a master’s degree in transpersonal studies and a background in transpersonal therapy, he strives to blend his expertise with his commitment to nurturing the body and mind. His passion for natural health became a driving force in his life, serving as a guiding light for his career.

Ellyard started his journey as a solopreneur when he launched the International Institute for Reiki Training. Seeking to navigate the intricate landscape for the natural health industry as the organization’s founder and director, he developed a vision over the years—to unite practitioners of multiple complementary therapies under one umbrella.

However, to realize what he envisioned, Ellyard recognized the need for a team. In the absence of a predefined hiring formula, he relied on his gut instincts to select individuals who resonated with his company’s values—namely, people who could work together as a team to serve others and take accountability for their actions and words while having fun and delivering joy every day. The founder describes this transition as a gradual process, marked by strategic decision-making and his commitment to building a cohesive team.

Ellyard’s efforts led to the birth of the International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT), which he founded in 2002. The organization, based in Byron Bay, Australia, offers membership, insurance, resources and community for complementary therapists around the world. Ellyard says that during the early stages of its inception, he compared codes of practice and ethics from various associations and therapies to craft a code specific to the company—combining professionalism with flexibility while catering to practitioners of diverse modalities.

IICT’s global expansion

IICT’s growth didn’t stop there. Through negotiations with insurance partners, the organization compiled a list of then 120 recognized complementary therapy modalities. This list later expanded to include new and emerging therapies. Ellyard claims this made IICT the first organization to actively recognize and support practitioners in Australia.

When it comes to IICT’s overseas growth, Ellyard credits Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week. The book, which includes a strategy that involves looking outside of your region for new business opportunities, sparked the founder’s desire to expand his company globally. This revelation eventually resulted in Ellyard delving into the UK market. He says that despite initial challenges, IICT eventually secured an official insurance provider and successfully launched in the UK in November 2011.

As Ellyard identified a gap in the professional representation of the psychic arts, IICT entered the United States and Canada under his leadership in 2013. To address the unique challenges of this particular field, the organization established its own criteria for what it deems to be adequate standards in an effort to foster credibility for spiritual healers and psychics.

Ellyard recalls a breakthrough for IICT’s international operations in 2015, when a UK insurance provider extended coverage to most of Europe—consequently spreading the company’s reach to 33 countries across the region. The founder says this solidified IICT as an international symbol of freedom for complementary therapy practitioners.

IICT’s impact now

Today, IICT claims to have a roster of 10,000 members across more than 35 countries, representing the practice of over 1,100 modalities. The purpose behind the online community is to serve as a platform for members to implement their healing talents and impact lives globally. Ellyard says IICT’s success lies not only in its online presence but also in the tangible, positive influence its members exert in their communities.

Ellyard believes IICT has become a quiet revolution in the complementary health industry, offering a broad and flexible atmosphere for practitioners worldwide. As the community and membership base continues to grow, he takes pride in being part of this collective journey, leaving an indelible mark on the international landscape of natural health and therapy.

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