Maybe you’ve found yourself looking for a Reiki healer, but you’re not sure who will be the right fit — that’s totally normal! Feeling comfortable with someone is good start, but here are some more tips and tricks for making sure you choose a competent, compassionate healer who has your best interests at heart.
When choosing a healer, it is not rude to inquire about their training credentials.
One of the best and worst things about Reiki is the training process. On the one hand, Reiki certification is usually inexpensive compared to massage school, acupuncture school, or graduate degrees in social work or psychology, so there is a much lower barrier to entry for people who feel called to be healers. This is great news for those folks! However, it’s also quick…….. sometimes too quick.
Most of the Reiki practitioners in private practice in the United States have learned Reiki in 3-day workshops. In fact, some of the workshops being taught actually encompass all three Levels of Reiki training — Levels I and II and Master Level — in one weekend! Imagine not knowing anything about Reiki on a Friday and then being considered a “Master” and feeling qualified to practice on strangers by Monday. Is that a healer you can trust with your body, with your soul?
Another popular way to become “certified” (yes, I put that in air quotes) nowadays is to buy an online course. The instructors of these courses proclaim that their videos are sufficient training for someone who’s never heard of Reiki to become a Reiki Master and open their own business. The trouble with that is, there is no one to answer the student’s questions, no conversation about the intricacies of professional practice. Watching a few years-old videos by oneself doesn’t prepare anyone for working with the public – would you trust your body and soul to a professional who “learned” acupuncture or psychotherapy via YouTube?
Since most states have no governing board to ratify or standardize the training process, these practices proliferate. Ethics training especially seems to be one of the topics on the chopping block when folks develop these quickie-courses. Therefore, it’s important to find out how long the healer has trained, in what ways and with whom. Was it a human or was it a video? Longer training doesn’t necessarily translate to better healing, but the odds that the healer has been educated by a live person on ethics and working with the public increases with more intense and consistent training.
2. Ethics and Shadow Work
I maintain the hope that many of us do this work for our communities in order to help others with a high level of professionalism and ethics. But, just as there are predatory & manipulative persons in every occupation, the healing community also has its predators, manipulators, thieves, sexual offenders, and other types of disingenuous folks.
Now, not everyone is a criminal or wolf in sheep’s clothing, but we all have inner issues we should be working to heal. Therefore, personal ethics are really the most important aspect of choosing a healer. Training times and outcomes vary, but the true test of a healer is their ability to treat their clients ethically. This can only be done when the healer understands and deals with their own feelings, needs, traumas, projections and shadows.
What does this mean? It means a healer must do their own, continuous self-work to avoid projecting their own trauma and drama onto their clients, or using their clients’ healing as a way of avoiding dealing with their own issues. A healer must be sure to never use a clients’ healing experience to pad their own ego. Pride in the work is one thing, but to use a client as a pawn to pump themselves up is wrong. The healer must be able to see the client as an valid, worthy and equal person, not a means to an end (financially or emotionally.)
It’s hard for healers, who are very giving people by nature, to accept help or receive energy work sometimes, but it is incredibly important for maintaining humility, doing deep self-work, and understanding energy work from both a client and practitioner perspective. If you are thinking of hiring a healer, it is not rude to ask them what sorts of self-care they do, what types of energy work they receive and how often.
3. Listening Skills
One of my favorite things about Reiki is the slow pace of sessions, which drastically contrast our Western medical model. Honestly, I hate going to my regular doctor because I don’t feel listened to or cared for — it’s a 40-minute wait for a 5-minute whirlwind of a session with a distracted doctor who’s just looking at an iPad while firing questions at me. It’s maddening! Thank the gods that in Reiki healing we don’t need to use that model.
I also love giving someone time and space to be heard, really heard. How often do we get that, in our sound-byte, fast-paced world?
When choosing a practitioner, pay attention to how they listen to you, and how they speak. Although it can be hard to call up a stranger, it helps to test the waters over the phone. Do they let you lead the conversation? Do they take the time to listen to your questions and fully answer them? Do they offer you choices of treatment? Do they take the time to explain their particular style of healing and why it works for them?
Or do they just dictate to you how the session will go? Do they cut you off mid-sentence, to tell you how they can fix your problems? Do they make the conversation all about them? All of these are clues as to their listening skills. It’s important to choose a practitioner you feel can hold sacred space for you, and deep, active listening is a part of holding space.
Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, since every person’s needs are different and every healer’s skill sets vary. But hopefully this gives you a good start on choosing a healer that is right for you!