By Barbara Janelle M.A.

In Touch, Vol. XIV, No.1, Spring 2002

I heard the thump on the window and ran outdoors to gather the little brown bird in my hands. It was deeply stunned so I started a Therapeutic Touch treatment.

For almost twenty minutes the bird moved in and out of shock as I worked. The grounding was a little thready but still there. Finally I paused to confront my own fears and needs in this treatment – could I accept the bird’s dying if it came to that? Was my own need for the bird to recover pulling me off center? I certainly recognized a building anxiety and tension in myself.

I chose to hold the bird quietly, close my eyes and deeply center. I do not know how long I stayed in this place of very deep peace – a place of no fear, no shoulds, no wants, no planning or problem solving; simply a place of being. As I returned to an awareness of my surroundings, the bird opened its eyes and seemed to grow larger in my hands.

I watched as it looked around. Then I did a little more work on the junction of the right wing with the body. I filled a shoe box with evergreen boughs and set the bird in it. Moments later, the little Ovenbird (as I discovered later in my bird book) hopped onto the edge of the box, raised its crown of orange feathers and started to sing. It sang with great gusto for more than five minutes. Then it flew up over the porch railing and off into the woods.


Some years ago, Carolyn Buchanan showed me that deepening center shifts assessment and treatment into a more profound state. (1) Donna Logan Van Vliet augmented this in her suggestion “to allow space for change to happen.” (2) I remember too, Merlin Homer’s wonderful presentations on Centering and her comment that she will occasionally do a TT treatment by only centering.

For several years, I have been exploring the impact of deepening center on the field. If I encounter a significant discrepancy in the field that does not respond to unruffling and energy modulation, I will pause and deeply, deeply center. When I return to the treatment, the field inevitably has shifted toward greater order, sometimes dramatically so.

Through experiences like the one with the bird, I grow to understand more and more Merlin’s emphasis on centering. Indeed, centering and compassion are truly the essence of Therapeutic Touch.




1. Barbara Janelle, “On Wholeness,” In Touch, Vol. X, No.1, February 1998

2. Donna Logan Van Vliet, Presentation to the Southwestern Ontario TT Gathering, Waterloo, ON, April 27, 2001. See also Barbara Janelle, “Exploring the Beta Quadrant,” In Touch, Vol. XIII, No.2, Summer 2001.

3. Merlin Homer, Presentations on “Centering,” Vision & Reality Conferences of 1997 and 1998, Toronto, ON.