Choosing A Healer/Therapist

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Choosing a Therapist/Healer

 If you decide you might like some help from complementary therapy your next step will be to decide which therapy.  There are so many!  However, if complementary therapy is on your radar you will probably have some idea of what you might need.   I can’t write about every possible type of therapy here, because I don’t know them all, but I will mention some I have experienced.

 For example, back problems, neck pain, joint issues can often be helped by chiropractic treatment or acupuncture.  Sometimes a good aromatherapy massage can be very relaxing for tight muscles as well as stress, both of which can be the underlying cause of neck or back pain.  Bowen treatment can help physical issues and emotional issues as well. 

For emotional or mental stresses there are many choices – psychotherapy or some form of counselling are the more ‘conventional’ forms and can be very effective if you find a practitioner whose work suits you.  I particularly like Transactional Analysis, a form of psychotherapy I have found very helpful, not just with current emotional or mental issues, but in learning strategies for life.  Complementary therapies like Reiki, Energy Field Healing, Shamanic Healing and more can be very useful when life becomes overly stressful and for dealing with old, longstanding issues.

Homeopathy and herbal medicine are excellent for all kinds of physical and emotional problems.  They are my family’s first port of call for any cold, cough, flu, allergy, injury, stress, upset.  And it doesn’t have to be either/or.  Complementary therapies work very well in conjunction with conventional approaches, if that is what you prefer or need.  Discuss it with your therapist. 

There are advantages and limitations to every kind of therapy, so it will depend on you and what you want from it.  Reiki is very gentle and passive, whereas Energy Field Healing is more active - the healer actively seeking out old, non-serving energies and lifting them away, mending damage to chakras or layers.  If you don’t like needles, acupuncture won’t be for you.  If you want a ‘quick fix’ complementary therapies may not be able to provide that.  Real healing can take time.  However, therapies like homeopathy can give instant and good results, but for deeper, long-lasting healing you may need to allow more time.  The great benefit of homeopathy and herbal medicine is that they are very effective, with none of the side effects of conventional medicines.

The internet is a reasonable source of research material for therapies.  It’s how I discovered acupuncture had been proved useful for the problem for which I was seeking help.  Recommendation from people you know is a very good way of finding a therapy which might help you.  

In the end the only way you can truly know if a therapy will suit you/help you, is to try it.  You only have to go once and if it isn’t for you, you are in charge and don’t have to go back. 

Once you know which therapy you want to try, you need to find a healer/therapist.  There can be many healers trained in any one therapy.   How do you choose?

Probably the best way is through personal recommendation, from a friend or family member who has seen a particular healer and can tell you about them.  Or from a healer/therapist you already trust who might be able to recommend someone.  Apart from this there are sometimes ‘taster sessions’ at healing centres.  Next to that, today, the internet and websites are the most common ways of seeking out a therapist. 

I can’t tell you which therapist will suit you, because we are all individual with our particular difficulties and needs.  I can tell you what I look for in any healer/therapist I see and as a working healer, I am very particular about who I let near my body and, perhaps more importantly, my Energy Field.

I may, for instance, check out qualifications.  When I searched out an acupuncturist I looked at her website, noted the school of acupuncture she said she had trained at, and contacted the school to check her qualification was genuine, as well as the school’s opinion of her.  This was important because she was going to be sticking needles into me!  I wouldn’t go to such lengths for less invasive therapies, but don’t feel bad about checking anything you need to – it is your body, your health. 

Some therapies, like Reiki, are taught in a less formal way and although there are organisations which provide Practitioner Lists, I wouldn’t discount a therapist just because they were not on one of these.  Membership can be very expensive and complementary therapists don’t earn much!  Many healers work in a quiet, private way and do a good job and there are ‘healers’ out there who trumpet their skills loudly and aren’t actually that good. 

When I contact a therapist for a possible appointment I look for a pleasant, open manner, with reasonably prompt replies to emails or phone messages.  I prefer an authentic person, someone who sounds real rather than putting on any kind of airs or graces.  I don’t want a saint or a robot, just an ordinary, caring human being.  Simple good manners are important;  a pleasant greeting when I arrive, a thank you and goodbye when I leave, and a sense that they are genuinely interested in me and willing to give me a reasonable amount of time.  On one occasion I saw a therapist who, at the end of my appointment, gabbled out instructions about what to do after the session, at the same time as she was hastily stripping the couch getting it ready for the next client.   I felt hurried and as if I was intruding rather than being valued.  I did not go back.

On another occasion my first appointment was supposed to last an hour and a half.  I pointed out at the start that I had only 2 hours in the nearby car park.  The therapist assured me I would be finished in plenty of time.  She then proceeded to talk for a great length of time about herself and her son who, she impressed on me, was a doctor.  I still don’t see the relevance of this.  She finally took a very long history from me – some of it I thought unnecessary and irrelevant - and when I mentioned my parking time limit again, she rushed through 20 minutes of treatment, ordering me to turn over and back on the couch so quickly and so often I ended up with vertigo the next day – and charged me quite a sum for the session.  She was still talking at the end and I had to drop the money on the desk and leave!  How I didn’t get a parking ticket I don’t know.  I shot out of the car park with seconds to spare.  This is not the way to treat clients!  I did not go back. If a client mentions to me that they are on a time limit – picking the children up from school, for instance – I check what time they need to leave, assure them I will watch the time for them and I make sure I do just that, so they can relax. 

I need someone who respects me and my person, someone who asks my consent and guarantees confidentiality, as well as expressing empathy.  I need a healer who is reasonably intelligent and knows their subject, so they can tell me what is going on with my body, energy field, chakras, muscles or meridians, whichever is appropriate to the therapy, using clear language and proper terminology.  I want to be able to ask questions and have them answered, but I also look for honesty.  No one person can have all the answers and I prefer a simple, “I don’t know, but I can check it out,” rather than bluster. 

I need the work to be effective, so I feel some improvement after I have been seen.  This is not about being fixed all in one go.  Real healing can take time - and often also effort on the client’s part.  Even if I just feel better being with the person, able to unload a little, and their attitude is supportive, that can be enough for me to return if I feel the therapy itself will be helpful – if not straightaway, then over time.  Because I feel energy moving in my body, I usually know straightaway if an energy therapy is working for me or not.  For more physical therapies like chiropractic/massage/acupuncture it should be possible to feel some improvement from each session. 

As well as qualities important in choosing a healer there are qualities which put me off.  Look out for these.  A healer who tries to tell me how often I must see them, particularly if they tell me I must not see anyone else while I see them, or that no other complementary therapy is any good, is a distinct turn-off.   I am not averse to the suggestion, for instance, that weekly or fortnightly sessions might be advisable for a period of time, BUT as the client it is important to me that I remain in charge of my healing process and my person, as well as my chequebook! 

I do not generally mind where a healer works, so long as the setting is appropriate for the therapy, clean, tidy and acceptably quiet.  It is important to be reasonable.  The world is not silent and no-one can help cars going past if a healing room is on a street front or, with one therapist I see, in an upstairs room above a hairdresser.  The room should be warm enough, with fresh air and no overpowering odours.  It can be pleasant to have a few objects in a room, such as a poster about the therapy, calendar, crystals, a lightly scented candle perhaps, and so on.  I prefer my healer to have a personality, to be human, to be REAL. 

Because I am asthmatic I prefer not to have incense burning in the room while I am there, but I have no objection to the smell of a room where incense has previously been burned and moxa (used by some acupuncturists) doesn't trouble me.  If you have difficulties with incense, sage (used by some shamanic practitioners) or moxa ensure you mention this – although a considerate therapist would always ASK first before using these things.

Any good therapist will respect boundaries – yours and theirs.  If it is appropriate there should be some explanation, however brief, at the start of any first appointment, about the therapy, how they work, what they might be doing.  It’s fairly obvious an acupuncturist is going to put needles in you and will therefore be touching the body and you may need to remove some clothing.  For an aromatherapy massage you would expect to have to undress to some extent, but for other therapies it’s not always so clear.  I give every new client a thorough explanation of how I am going to work, including assurances that I do not touch the physical body at any time without asking their express permission and that they can stop the session at any time if they are uncomfortable.  And if you feel uncomfortable in any session, with any therapist, always remember you are free to leave at any time.

No one therapist is ever going to be right for every client because we are all individuals.  Bear this in mind and if you see a therapist who doesn’t suit you, if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, simply move on and look for someone else.   You will find the therapist/s who are right for you. 

To finish, here are some websites I’ve used in the past, which may be helpful:  The Alliance of Registered Homeopaths  Northern College of Acupuncture  British Acupuncture Council   British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy   UK Association for Transactional Analysis   Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council   International Federation of Aromatherapists   The Aromatherapy Council UK Reiki Federation


DISCLAIMER (The Small Print)       

These are just my current thoughts. 

Thoughts can change as we learn and grow.

You may disagree with me, but I am nevertheless entitled to my thoughts.

You don’t have to like my blog or take any notice of anything I say.

It is important you always make up your own mind - about everything.

I am not you, and don’t know you or the details of your life. 

Therefore, you are responsible for any decisions or changes you make as a result of reading my thoughts. 

Finally, nothing in any of my blogs is intended nor should be taken as medical or health advice.  Always research for yourself and talk to doctors or therapists you trust (conventional or complementary).