Energetic Healing = Body + Energy + Trauma Therapy
As a psychology student in the 90s, I heard the message: Don’t mess with spirituality. We can’t measure it. It’s private.
But now, a tsunami of change is sweeping the therapy world . . . and this change is spiritual. Recovering from religious abuse, we need approaches that nurture our spirituality.
Body, Energy, and Trauma therapies overlap in every way.
If you follow my blog, you know about trauma therapy. One type, EMDR, jump-starts the adaptive information processing abilities of your own brain to metabolize lots of information quickly. But trauma therapy includes many elements – and religious trauma therapy should address thoughts, emotions, belief structures, relationships, and body issues. All aspects of a person become wounded in spiritual abuse, so a healing program should address them all.
Body & Energy Work
This is a broad category of holistic practice that activates the body’s subtle energy systems to remove energetic blocks, stimulating the body-mind’s natural ability to heal.
Energy includes everything we know that allows movement or activity to happen: heat, light, electrical, chemical, motion, etc. Emotions hold energy and flow through the body in an energetic system, much like oxygen moves throughout the respiratory system.
Energy therapy – or energy work – includes music therapy, tapping and other kinds of therapeutic touch, Reiki, Qigong, and many other traditions, some focusing on light or sound (e.g., drumming) or magnets. These techniques originate in the ancient traditions of Asia, or in ancient Shamanistic practices from other parts of the world.
My experience of energy work transforms and strengthens me. I may not be able to explain all that happens when I lie down on the massage table in my energy therapist’s room, but I get up feeling big hunks of old, weighty sadness falling off me. I feel more alert for days afterward and the immovable issues that have kept me stuck magically shrink and fade.
Something’s happening there.
What is energy?
I get very skeptical sometimes. The left-brain scientist-practitioner in me says, “What kind of energy?” But then the answer comes to my right hemisphere . . . the part that understands intuitively.
Everything is energy: atomic, heat, light, electrical, chemical. Energy is all around us and moves constantly.
Everybody has access to the energy all around. We can be deliberate about moving and directing it.
To learn more about energy work, I went to Reiki training. Reiki is one example of alternative healing energy, with roots in Japan. To learn the method, we used meditation and breathing techniques to help us channel energy, through our hands, into a person’s body. My teachers, Dave and Brenda Lappin, say Reiki focuses the loving energy of the universe. Doing Reiki, I get deeply relaxed, more alert, and find rays of hope about a hopeless situation. Maybe energy therapy is a deliberate, concentrated form of prayer?
How it all ties together
Okay, so back to trauma work . . .
When we do trauma therapy that includes a focus on body (as in EMDR and eye-movements, attention to where you feel emotion in your body, etc.), we naturally engage energetic systems in your physical self. Even if we don’t call it energy.
EMDR is inherently spiritual. It helps us transcend the logical, thinking (adult) mind and find a more child-like connection to The Divine. Where most religious systems use logic (left hemisphere process), EMDR engages all parts of the nervous system, which allows our spiritual awareness to expand.
Lisa Schwartz works at the intersection of medicine and mysticism in her new brand of trauma work, CRM (Comprehensive Resource Model). This approach blends psychology, spirituality, neurobiology, and shamanic power and animal symbols. And although this may sound too woo-woo for you, those of us working in trauma therapy are learning it’s not enough to engage your logic alone, your physical body alone, or even your emotions alone. We’re more than the sum of our parts.
Listen to ReConceive to learn more about these overlapping forms of healing.