By Barbara Janelle M.A.

In Touch, Vol. XI, No. 3, September 1999

For many years, I put limits on the effectiveness of my work, whether that work was Therapeutic Touch, Tellington TTouch, or Interspecies Communication. After finishing a session, the little voice inside me would ask, “What if there was an immediate major improvement in the person/animal as a result of this session?” I would cringe and respond, “Oh, not as an effect of MY work!” I could accept a little change but not a big one. I knew that my response in a direct way limited the effectiveness of my work. Interesting.

I have examined my motives for doing TT a great deal and realize that I have fallen into all of the major traps that I wrote about in “Centering,” but here was another that it has taken me years to recognize. The fear of being attached to outcome combined with a fear of being too effective was limiting my work. I was afraid to own my role of practitioner in Therapeutic Touch treatments.

Recently, I spoke to Kevin Heckendorn, a friend and highly skilled Shiatsu therapist here in London. Kevin said that he too had had a problem with this until he found a way to deal with it. He said, “Now, when I finish a treatment, I say, ‘I am open to a miracle!’”

This beautiful statement addressed my need to release a specific outcome and trust the process of the person. As I started to use this phrase, silently at the end of a session, I felt a shift in myself and in the impact of my work.


This spring, I presented these ideas to participants in an Advanced TT workshop in St. Catharines and received some valuable understandings in the discussion that followed. The thought of “being open to a miracle” was well received and it was the role of practitioner that drew valuable debate.

We teach and are taught in TT that the Practitioner is a facilitator, an instrument, a conduit of healing. We do not do the healing, rather the recipient does. So is the role of practitioner important? Yes, because we practice to hold a vision of wholeness, and we practice to hold a focus that enables communication with the field, and we deepen our feelings of compassion and honouring for the recipient.

In an irreverent atmosphere where too many teachers and practitioners seem to dismiss the depth of TT with statements like, “TT is not brain surgery” or “TT is not rocket science,” TT is too often shallowly understood only as a lightly focused waving of the hands. Those who go deeper recognize that Therapeutic Touch is a journey into a plane of infinite possibility and knowing. For this journey, the practitioner must develop meditative discipline and self-knowledge; both are essential and demanding trainings.

A Therapeutic Touch treatment done on a superficial level can be effective on minor ailments, but what of the depth necessary to work with someone in coma? For a cut or a bruise, the recognition of congestion in the field and use of unruffling and grounding to support better energetic flow can be accomplished within a lightly centered state. To work with a comatose patient and hold the image of wholeness and the awareness of infinite possibility requires maturity, imagination, groundedness and deep centering. To achieve these things is a process that takes time and dedication and experience.

The physical body, whether human or animal is a remarkable healing mechanism, but we also know that healing is more than a physical and mechanical process. Health is a function of all of the levels of the human or animal: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. In the Therapeutic Touch treatment, we access all levels of the being, delicately and respectfully. We enter a realm of possibility and touch frontiers of understanding that are changing us as individuals and as a species.


Doreen Sullivan spoke eloquently in the St. Catharines workshop when she said, “We are all part of the miracle.” What we do in a TT treatment is not minimal. We set a framework in which magic happens on all the levels that make up the being. We establish a framework, we do not set the outcome. We provide an impetus toward wholeness and recognize that powerful universal forces of compassion and order are brought more strongly into play through our work.

Owning the role of TT Practitioner and recognizing and accepting the power of Therapeutic Touch are part of the deepening and maturing understanding of our work. So let us own our work, our abilities, our dedication to service, and the possibilities of TT. And let us be open to a miracle!