THE THERAPEUTIC TOUCH TREATMENT: A TWO-WAY CONVERSATION
By Barbara Janelle M.A.
When I teach, I try to instill the awareness that the Therapeutic Touch treatment is a two-way conversation, a partnership as Grant Hallman calls it (1) with the energy field. The practitioner speaks to the field through centering and visualization. The field gives information in return by its responsiveness to the practitioner’s work, its impact on the practitioner’s level of centering, and with images and intuitive prompting.
THE PRACTITIONER “SPEAKS” TO THE FIELD
By centering, the practitioner helps to establish through a resonance affect a level of peace and relaxation in the recipient’s energy field. This also reminds the field of its wholeness. The Practitioner’s visualizations may speak of wholeness, energy flow and full field function. Hand movements, while a form of conversation, are really metaphors for these visualizations.
THE FIELD “SPEAKS” TO THE PRACTITIONER
The field speaks to the practitioner throughout the treatment by:
1. How it responds to the practitioner’s work. The field does not mechanically respond to TT procedures e.g., the effect of unruffling may be immediate, may take a while or may not happen. The field determines the response and its timing.
2. Giving images intuitively to the practitioner that can then be used to develop working visualizations. As example, when I worked with a friend who had a respiratory condition that was very slow to respond to medication, I received an image of a clogged pipe. I took that image and in my next unruffling and grounding moves presented the field with a visualization of a plumber’s snake dislodging the block and draining occurring. The field changed rapidly and by the end of the treatment, my friend could breathe better.
3. By accepting, rejecting and modifying the practitioner’s work. For example, attempts to send a colour into the field may be accepted or may meet with resistance that causes the practitioner some difficulty in holding the visualization: the colour that is visualized changes to another one. In my experience, the field largely determines the amount and frequency (colour) of the energy that it takes in. If the practitioner ignores the information from the field and persists in sending a particular colour, the field will resist and that will ultimately stress it. In turn, the practitioner will find it very difficult to maintain center.
4. Providing information about the order in which work should proceed. It is common that deeper layers only become apparent after the practitioner has addressed general flow through the field and grounding. The practitioner may find that the field determines the order in the progression of the treatment. Indeed, with a severely disrupted field, this progression may take several treatments. In a series of treatments that I gave some years ago, I was amazed to find a very strong discrepancy at the lower spine in a woman during the sixth treatment in ten days. How could I have missed this in earlier sessions? Then I realized that the field had not been ready to show this disruption, until several other minor ones had come to balance first.
5. Affecting the practitioner’s level of centering. This normally occurs when the field is suggesting that the treatment finish. The practitioner’s depth of centering decreases and the question, “Should I be finishing the treatment?” arises. However, it can also occur if the field is resisting the treatment or some procedure in the treatment. The field puts up a barricade that not only reduces the information that the practitioner receives but also reduces his/her level of centering. The opposite is true too, when the treatment is progressing well, the practitioner’s level of centering may deepen greatly.
AN EXERCISE IN EXPLORING THE CONVERSATION WITH THE FIELD
With the understanding that energy is constantly flowing through the field and that Therapeutic Touch is simply supporting that flow, I offer the following exercise, to be done in pairs, to illustrate some of the points given above:
Step1. One person centers and unruffles the other’s arm from shoulder to hand and supports the flow of energy out of the hand into the floor (grounding). This ensures an unimpeded flow.
Step 2. Then the working partner chooses a colour (blue, green, or yellow) and with an unruffling movement sends it into the field at the shoulder, through the arm and out the hand. Both practitioner and receiver should notice how this action feels to them and what if any impact it has on their breathing. Was the visualization of the colour easy to hold for the practitioner? Lightly unruffle and ground again to ensure that there is no energy build-up in the field.
Step 3. Again with a movement to support the flow of energy down through the arm, the working partner invites a rainbow of light from the unlimited supply of energy around us, to come into the field at the shoulder, move down through the arm and out the hand. Accompanying this is a suggestion to the field to take in, as much energy as it needs, in whatever colour is most appropriate for it. Again both partners should notice how this feels and what if anything happens to their breathing. Finish with a light unruffling and grounding.
Step 4. Change roles and repeat the exercise; then discuss experiences.
Please try this exercise to establish your own experience before reading my comments.
I have lead many classes and conference groups through this exercise and the comments in response to it are that the attempt to send a colour into the field is often met with resistance on the part of the field. This is experienced as a heaviness of feeling and holding of the breath on the part of the receiver and the difficulty of maintaining the colour image and depth of centering on the part of the practitioner.
On the other hand, the invitation to the field to choose the colour and amount of energy taken in results in comfort, relaxation and deeper breathing on the part of the receiver. The practitioner finds both breathing and centering deepening and the TT procedure is almost effortless. Feelings, impact on breathing and centering are all part of the information from the field.
We enter a treatment willing to listen to information from the field and without preconceptions about how the treatment will proceed. We continually monitor for clues from the field about its needs and how to proceed – clues that come in felt-sensations in our hands, images, intuitive prompting, and changes in our breathing and level of centering.
We work with the field rather than impose on it our own ideas about what its needs and how the treatment should proceed. The field knows how to move toward healing, and our work is simply to support that process. The act of TT truly is a partnership, with the field as leading partner.
1. Grant Hallman, “The Art of TT,” In Touch, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Spring 2002
2. Barbara Janelle, “The Field Leads the Dance,” In Touch, Vol. X, No. 4, November 1998
3. Barbara Janelle, “Therapeutic Touch – Affecting the Field: An Experiential Session,” Vision & Reality 2000 Conference Papers, Markham, ON (November 4 & 5, 2000) (reprint of “Some Insights on Therapeutic Touch,” Southwestern Ontario TT Conference Papers, Waterloo, ON April 28-30, 2000)