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(C) Vanessa Hannah Bright, 2016-2017

depth Psychotherapy Works

Psychotherapy for Holistic Practitioners

Before healing others, heal yourself.

 

~ Lao Tzu

Acupuncturist treating a patient.

I know firsthand that healers need healing. When you spend any portion of your time helping other people, no matter what modality you use, you need to make sure to take the time to "do your own homework", as one of my instructors used to say. That is, take the time to understand your own inner life, your feelings about the work, and also your non-work life. Take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally.

Much can arise as a result of working with people. I recall being a beginning acupuncture trainee and being very anxious about meeting new patients. Would they trust me? Would they be nice? Or would they be skeptical and critical? I felt like I had to walk a tightrope every time, and felt like a fraud without understanding why. When a patient got triggered or upset, if they played around with boundaries, if they protested when I asked for payment, I was at a loss. These, and many other issues - such as those around connecting, boundaries, self-esteem, money, and any other internal reactions to your patients - are important to explore and understand in depth. 

The deeper you know yourself, the better healer you can be. The more you take care of yourself, the more present you can be for your patients. This is true whether you are a body-based practitioner (like acupuncture, massage, and so on), an energy healer (such as Reiki), or whether you are a talk therapist of any modality.

To sum up, here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of some of the issues that psychoanalytic psychotherapy can be helpful in exploring when it comes to being a healer:

  • Boundaries

  • Issues around touch

  • Money

  • Self-esteem / Self-worth

  • Feeling like a fraud / impostor syndrome

  • Connecting with patients

  • Difficulty saying "no"

  • Balancing work with personal life

  • Responding to patient reactions

Exploring these issues (and many others) in depth can give you a much greater sense of self-understanding, and thus help you be a more aware and effective healer. Having myself been both a body-based practitioner and now a talk-based practitioner, I have a keen insight into ways to blend the two while maintaining proper boundaries. In addition, I am aware of the myriad of personal issues that tend to come up while working with people in any capacity.

Vanessa Hannah Bright, L.Ac., L.P.