“What do you believe about using Reiki with people who have mental health problems?”
Two voices respond here.
Voice 1: For over thirty years I worked in the field of mental health as a community outreach worker and as a counselor on both locked and unlocked mental health units. My clients are people suffering with a devastating illness. They are not the illness. To learn more about mental health conditions.
Offering Reiki to anyone with mental health issues may seem as daunting and scary as a free climb up a sheer cliff. The rough and rocky exteriors outlined by a bad haircut, disheveled, torn and stained clothing, incoherent speech, or a glazed over stare are invitations to look with greater depth and understanding. To read a personal story.
To keep my bearings, I remember that gravity is my friend. Keeping my feet on the ground is essential. That’s the value of daily practice in the System of Reiki.
Acceptance of my need to feel safe allows me to be fully present during Reiki treatments. I am aware that clients with a mental illness are much more likely to be dangerous to themselves than to others. I listen to my intuition but not to the fears that my ever busy mind churns out. If I don’t feel comfortable or safe offering a Reiki Treatment, I will refer out to another Reiki practitioner who is more skilled.
During a Reiki treatment my choices are simple. I can engage with an “illness” by distancing, or I can be present and practice compassion. Offering Reiki to clients who are depressed, suicidal, or psychotic does not shelter me from feeling pain and sadness. These feelings are a way to opening the heart as I look inward at myself and accept what I see in others.
Glance again at the drawing of a cat by Kyosai posted at the top of the page. The contours of jagged mountains outlined in fur create beauty through harmony and balance. The transformation of the rough and rocky exteriors of every illness begins within.
Voice 2: As Reiki practitioners and human beings, we do not want to add to the larger, ongoing stigmatizing of individuals with mental illness that has been prominent for way too long. As long as we are engaged in the act of "Othering" we are not living in the space of connection and compassion. To me, it is a form of social violence and social injustice to stigmatize others. As Cornell West notes, "Never forget that Justice is what Love looks like in public.”
I do not have a professional health care background; I only have experience in my professional Reiki practice. About half of people seeking Reiki treatments in my practice have a diagnosed mental illness, are on medication, and may also be involved in ongoing therapy with a mental health professional. Some have been in and out of psychiatric facilities. By choosing Reiki treatments for themselves, these clients, like all of our clients, have a deep curiosity, even a deep knowing, that there is something restorative to their entire being in a Reiki session. The Reiki practitioner is not involved in diagnosing or labeling. Instead, we safely companion those with whom we share Reiki. Some statistics.
A professional Reiki practitioner may choose to learn about the health conditions their clients bring "to the table." If someone is coming for a Reiki session who is living with Parkinson's Disease, for example, I may choose to do some research about PD in order to have both an objective grasp of the facts from the research, as well as the subjective experience of the client should she wish to share that with me. It would be no different for a mental condition as it is with a physical condition. Indeed, the co-morbidity and blurred lines of physical "versus" mental conditions can make the distinction I am making here rather meaningless. Last time I looked, our heads were connected to our bodies. So being a Reiki professional can mean a commitment to continuing our own education about all the forms of suffering our clients may bring. We may, in fact, be more effectively caring and supportive to our clients by doing so. To learn about drug-free alternatives in caring for individuals with mental illness.
Both Voices Duet:
“The secret method of inviting happiness through many blessings. The spiritual medicine for all illness.” ~ Usui Mikao
When we practice Reiki healing diligently, we will come from a space of no fear and no worry.
When we practice Reiki healing with openness and discernment, we become the compassionate healer.
When we practice Reiki healing with sincerity, we are full of gratitude for this healing practice and the presence of all beings in our lives.