So many new clients ask me "what's a shaman?" Good question. A shaman is a person who works in "non-ordinary reality," which is a kind of space between the physical world and the spirit world, though we also work in the latter two worlds as well. We work with spirit guides of many kinds and known by many names: power animals, guides, angels, helping spirits, etc. Each individual shaman has his or her own guide(s) with which they work. Working with our spirit guides and those of our clients, we look at a client's energy on a physical level, an emotional level and a soul level to determine the cause of a client's symptoms or problems, then work to correct those problems where we can. Although the work is done in non-ordinary reality, the results appear for the client in the physical world.
Every indigenous culture has its own shamans, sometimes known by different names. The Western cultures have lost their tradition of shaman, but not the people who inherently have those abilities. There are certain core shamanic practices used by shamans in different cultures, such as soul retrieval, deposssession or clearing, energy extractions, and counseling. No amount of training, "certification" or traditional education can make someone a good shaman, though it can help introduce the shamanic student to techniques to access, find and use spirit guides and non-ordinary reality. Only by working directly with and listening to one's guides can someone become a good shaman.
When choosing a shaman to work with, recommendations from others are great. You can also check the list at www.shamanicteachers.com for a list of those who have gone through Sandra Ingerman's excellent training and have demonstrated a level of proficiency in one or more techniques.