Thoughts on Working with the Emotional Field
By Barbara Janelle M.A.
Evelyn MacKay’s early work with the Emotional Field led me to explore a number of ideas that proved very useful in my TT practice. One of the most valuable understandings and experiences to come from this work is the recognition that in Therapeutic Touch we work with the whole being, and that we cannot single out the Emotional Field for treatment.
Evelyn’s early work in seeking the emotional field at some distance from the physical body was very helpful to me because I took it and used it in three ways:
- The impetus to move further away from the skin led to my exploring the edges and unruffling at the most prominent one to address a localised problem in the field. This is often very effective in making observable changes in the body: reduction in swelling, bruising, pain, etc. as well as brightening the facial countenance. (1)
- The recognition that we have full access to the field at some distance from the skin and do not need to be within 6 inches of the body at all times affected the way I give treatments. In attempting to stay within a few inches of the skin, practitioners often get into very uncomfortable working positions which can take them off center. Positioning the hands more than six inches from the skin makes Unruffling more fluid and helps keep centering deeper as the concern about accidentally touching sensitive areas is eliminated.
- Working with difficult/dangerous animals becomes easier and safer. Animals stay relaxed and we both remain safe. In working with edges at a distance from the physical body there are usually perceptible changes: increased relaxation (breathing deepens, muscles relax, head carriage lowers) and frequently pain is reduced. In addition, animals often show a marked change in behaviour and increase in trust in the practitioner.
As I began to examine my work with the “emotional field,” I became aware that I wasn’t dealing with just the emotional aspect. All aspects of the person were there, including the “physical” problems. When I read Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion two years ago, I really began to question the distinctions of “emotional field” and “physical field.” In her book, Pert makes the point based on years of research that there is no separation between physical and emotional and mental aspects. THEY ARE ALL ONE!
As my use of Therapeutic Touch continued, I also began to realize that the field largely determines what is addressed, the order in which it is addressed and how incoming energy is accepted and used. The practitioner does not determine what is dealt with in TT. Indeed the only sense that I have in the treatment is that I am working with the whole being!
Another question that arose in working with the “emotional field” is that when the practitioner asks permission to work with this, the receiver is often afraid and very defensive. This can result in a receiver putting up a barricade to the treatment.
I believe that the distinctions of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are fantasy that grew out of the human approach of dividing the world into manageable parts for examination. Attempts to differentiate and separate have led to some pretty strange thinking by human beings. One example where the belief in separation has been taken to an extreme is the common understanding in allopathic medicine that doctors are only dealing with the physical body. Baloney!!
I also believe that in TT we are dealing with the entire being. This is demonstrated time and again by the effects of the work that so often surprise and indeed astound us, with their wide-ranging impact on the person. We tell the receiver that TT works with the whole being and simply ask permission to proceed. We do not ask permission to work with their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. We ask to work with their whole being. And we do not meet with the fear that is often expressed when asking to work with the emotional field.
A third point has already been referred to and that is that in every treatment, the field is in charge. It presents its condition and the order in which it is to be treated. It also leads the treatment through its response to work, and through intuitive information given to the practitioner.
So in essence I am saying that we cannot and do not work with one particular aspect of a receiver. We cannot do this because the field/being is indivisible and because the field not the practitioner, determines the course of the treatment.
Thank you to Evelyn MacKay
Evelyn’s exploration led me to deeper and more profound understanding of Therapeutic Touch. She reminds us that we do not work with only the physical when we do TT, an attitude that we might have adopted from allopathic medicine. My ideas about how all the fields link grow from hers, and it was her willingness to explore that led to my own investigation. I thank her for her work. When we as teachers and practitioners share ideas, ultimately we grow information and understanding for the entire Therapeutic Touch Community.
1. Barbara Janelle, “Working With the Edge: Scanning and Unruffling,” In Touch, The Therapeutic Touch Network (Ontario), Vol. VIII, No. 2, June, 1996