Psychotherapeutic Reiki: A Holistic Mind Body Approach to Psychotherapy
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Psychotherapeutic Reiki: A Holistic Mind Body Approach to Psychotherapy

Psychotherapeutic Reiki

by Richard Curtin, Psy.D.

At the heart of this approach is the position that psychological symptoms and conditions are organized and maintained by ki (subtle energy) in the human energy field and are stored and carried in the physical body.

Traditional psychotherapeutic approaches do not address subtle energy and they tend to downplay or ignore the role the body plays in symptom formation. Traditional approaches do not seek to treat the energy blocks that underlie the effects of negative conditioning, stress and trauma nor do they do enough to promote awareness of a symptomís interconnected parts: energetic, mental, emotional, behavioral and physical.

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Psychotherapeutic Reiki

A Holistic Mind Body Approach to Psychotherapy: A Training Manual
By Richard Curtin, Psy.D.

This manual is for psychotherapists and counseling body-workers who have a basic knowledge of Reiki. Learn more >

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Psychotherapeutic Reiki is an approach with interventions that bring systematic attention to the relationship between the body and the mind, that utilize Reiki energy treatments to work directly on blockages in the human energy field in order to modify conditioning and release held trauma energy.

The treatment of psychological problems and conditions in the practice of Psychotherapeutic Reiki is organized around four treatment tasks; Practicing Presence, Exploring the Body-mind, Releasing and Clearing Energy Blocks and Installing Corrective Experience.

Practicing Presence

The first task, Practicing Presence, focuses on the relationship clients have towards their symptoms. Although it is understandable to want to minimize, deny or distance our selves from our symptoms out of judgment, fear or pain, in many cases this only serves to intensify them and obscure their meaning. Practicing Presence involves the use of techniques for helping clients to open to their symptoms in a non-judgmental and accepting manner while receiving Reiki. A basic technique for Practicing Presence is the Noticing, Allowing, Opening and Relaxing exercise. (NAOR)

While giving the client Reiki have them focus on the presenting problem or primary symptom. Instruct them to bring their attention to the present and notice any bodily sensations, images, thoughts or emotions that arise. Instruct them to experience these symptoms as fully as they can while allowing these symptoms to be just as they are. As the client opens to their symptoms have them pay attention to any resistance that arises and try to let it go. Encourage them to breath slowly, deeply, evenly, and relax around their symptoms.

This exercise helps clients to open to their symptoms, explore them more fully, decrease the fear they have around them and increase their insight and sense of control over them. Paradoxically, turning towards our symptoms and embracing them can help to diminish and transform them.

Exploring the Body-Mind

Exploring the body-mind takes being present a step further by investigating the clientís symptom picture more fully. While the client is receiving Reiki we explore the origin and meaning of his symptoms and define the nature of his interconnected parts: physical, emotional, mental, relational, spiritual. A basic technique for exploring the body-mind is the Exploration and Release Technique.

Mind and emotion exist in every cell of the body which means that the unreleased and unresolved effects of traumatic experience may be lodged anywhere in the body. Reiki can be used to investigate areas of unreleased trauma, bring out their meaning and assist in their release. When you find an area of tension, pain or held energy, give Reiki to it while instructing the client to breathe deeply, slowly and evenly. Have the client hold an attitude of relaxed attention and acceptance while they allow their intuition to bring to mind any thoughts, images, memories or feelings being held in this part of the body.

Releasing and Clearing Energy Blocks

This task involves the use of techniques for letting go of held trauma energy, painful memories, thought and emotions and for releasing the energy charge underlying them. A basic technique for this task is the Mental-Emotional Release Technique

This technique is adapted from Weston (1998). To begin, the therapist has the client lie on his/her back on the massage table. The therapist then has the client pick a color and imagine this color under the therapistís hands, which are placed on the clientís heart chakra and solar plexus. (The heart chakra is the emotional center and the solar plexus is an energy center relating to the mind and mental activity.) The therapist gives the instruction to the client to bring to mind a troubling memory, thought, or feeling that causes intense emotion. As memory and feeling come up, the client is instructed to send these reactions into the therapistís hands. As the client does this, the therapist will feel heat coming into his/her hands. As the client sends the mental and emotional reactions into the therapistís hands, the client will sense that the color under the therapistís hands is beginning to fade to white and this is an indicator that release is occurring. At times as a release is progressing, the client may have another memory or feeling come up and when this occurs, the therapist should encourage the client to send this new reaction into his/her hands. Usually after 10 to 20 minutes, the client has released as much of the charge as they are going to at this session.

After discharging strong emotion, many people feel an energetic void where their troubling thoughts or feelings had been stored in the body and it is important for the therapist to give Reiki to fill this void. It may take repeated sessions to resolve a serious traumatic memory, but often progress is noted after only one session.

Installing Corrective Experience

The fourth task, Installing Corrective Experience, involves the use of techniques for starting to think, feel and act differently and with positive intention. Techniques in this category seek to input new information into the clientís body-mind and energy field. After clients have released blockages, this new information is installed in the form of affirmations, positive images, successful outcomes, corrective thoughts and beliefs and positive feelings that promote states of healing, happiness, contentment and well-being. We replace painful thoughts, judgments and beliefs with positive, loving and compassionate messages. A basic technique for installing corrective experience is the Sei He Ki technique.

Dr. Usui, the founder of Reiki, taught particular hand positions to be used when installing information in a clientís field. This technique requires the use of the three Reiki level two symbols. After placing these symbols in his hands, the therapist places his dominant hand on the back of the clientís head and his non-dominant hand on the clientís forehead. The therapist keeps his hands there for two or three minutes while both he and the client silently repeat the new information they wish to install. Then, the therapist removes his non-dominant hand from the clientís forehead and gives Reiki to the back of the clientís head. (The Spirit of Reiki, 2001)


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