November 3, 2006
Dear Therapeutic Touch Colleagues,
I am not able to attend Teachers’ Day nor Vision and Reality this year because I am presenting at another conference this weekend. (1)
However, there is a major issue currently facing TT in Ontario on which I would like to offer some input. I learned recently that a member of the TTNO Board called a Recognized TT Teacher and asked her to stop teaching Heart Support because “it was not Therapeutic Touch.”
There is a universal need and response to support the heart centre because it provides an immediate sense of non-judgmental support to the very core of one who is sick, sad, recovering or dying. It is one of the simplest gestures one can offer in support of another being, and that simplicity of gesture has always been at the heart of therapeutic touch itself. For a TT practitioner to do this in a deeply centered state is normal, and this is the essence of any form of Heart Support.
Cathleen Fanslow-Brunjes has taught her Hand-Heart Connection as a basic part of TT almost since its inception, with the apparent blessing of her mentors, Dora and Dee. In Ontario, some variation of Heart Support (2) has been incorporated into TT classes and accepted in course curriculums since the early 1990’s.
At the Ontario TT Gathering in April 2000, when asked how many of the eighty-five participants used some form of Heart Support in their treatments, over 80% of those present said they did. Over the years, there have been many articles in In Touch referring to Heart connection in the TT treatment, as well as many presentations at Vision & Reality and at The Gathering.
To say that Heart Support is not a part of Therapeutic Touch is simply untrue given the history of this work. To attempt to delete it from TT curriculum and treatments is literally to take the Heart out of Therapeutic Touch. I believe that it would cause such dissention that it would weaken the Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario and would result in a significant loss of membership, including my own.
An argument has been offered that TT research is based on a standardized form of TT that does not include Heart Support. Scientific inquiry is about expanding understanding and incorporating new learning into the most current hypotheses to be tested. Neither science nor Therapeutic Touch is static. To insist that TT is unchanging runs counter to the truth of the work, and is a prime example of fear expressed through resistance to change.
Another argument offered is that because the founders of TT or long-term teachers say something is so, it must be true and adhered to by everyone in the TT community. This is not a validation of truth. When Therapeutic Touch was presented to the academic community as a subject for research, control of the work was given over to the process of exploration through practitioner use and formal research of the work. No one person or select group of people hold the absolute truth of this work, because that truth continues to unfold as Therapeutic Touch develops.
In May 2000, I wrote “A Proposal to the Therapeutic Touch Networks,” (3) in which I identified some of the changes that we are seeing in Therapeutic Touch and I proposed that “a statement of support for exploration, sharing of information and the growing of TT be written into the mandate of TTNO.” Further, I proposed that “a process by which ideas can be added deleted or changed in the framework of Therapeutic Touch be developed; and that that process be one of democratic discussion and vote by the body of Teachers and Practitioners.” Perhaps the time for this is now.
(1) I have been a Tellington TTouch Practitioner for Horses and Companion Animals since 1984 and am presenting at the Celebration of the 30th Year for Tellington TTouch in Phoenix, AZ this weekend.
(2) Barbara Janelle, “Heart Support,” In Touch, Vol. XII, No. 3, August 2000. Also in Embodiment of Spirit: Learning Through Therapeutic Touch and Interspecies Communication, 2003. This is also on my website listed above.
(3) Barbara Janelle, “A Proposal to the Therapeutic Touch Networks,” In Touch, Vol. XII, No. 2, May 2000. Also in Embodiment of Spirit and on my website.