By Barbara Janelle M.A.

Southwestern Ontario Therapeutic Touch Gathering Papers, April 2003, St. Jerome’s University, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON

What does the field respond to? Centering, intention and attention seem to be the primary actions that support the field in moving to greater order.


As soon as the practitioner centers the field begins to shift. In the course of a treatment, greatly deepening center not only aids assessment (1), but also does more to shift the field to greater wholeness than anything else. Building in “deepening center” during the treatment is very important. Pausing to do this also gives the field a chance to process work that has been done as well.

Here are simple exercises to demonstrate this:

Exercise A – In Assessment, briefly assess the field or a portion of the field, then significantly deepen center, and reassess the field

Exercise B – In mid-treatment, pause and deeply, deeply center. Return to the treatment and notice what has happened in the field

Deepening Center seems to result in an expansion in the field, steadier rhythm and greater lightness. Easing of congestion and better energy intake occur.


Field as Partner. There is a considerable difference between entering the field with the focus of doing something TO it and entering the field to work WITH it. In the first case, the field goes on guard and may even put up resistance to treatment. This can occur when the practitioner fails to continuously monitor the field, notice its response, and ask what its needs are. In my experience, one of the most invasive and least effective things a practitioner can do is to decide where energy should go and strongly direct it there. It is so much more helpful to offer energy, and then allow the field to take what it wants and direct it to where it is needed.

The field as the leading partner in the treatment, largely determines the order and progression of the treatment, as well as providing intuitive insights that can lead to effective visualisations. In a recent treatment, the image of the field floating and silently inactive led me to “speak” to it about grounding, order and musical harmony. I did the speaking with images and through experiencing a remembered concert.

Grounding. In TT we work with the intention of supporting a downward flow of energy through the field. This directional flow is greatly enhanced by grounding visualizations, e.g., imagining the feet and tail bone or root chakra growing roots into the Earth.

I find that an even more effective way of assisting grounding and increasing the energy flow through the field is to ask the living, conscious Earth to hold the receiver’s field. A tremendous sense of rootedness results, as well as the sense of being gently encompassed by the Earth. The field moves toward greater order and harmony.

Pausing many times during the treatment to attend to the grounding allows the field to process work and take in more energy. It also increases connection throughout the field.

Hand Movements as Metaphor for Intention. Therapeutic Touch hand movements are driven by intention. Simply waving the hands around without awareness or intent is ineffective. Rather than doing too many movements in the field, I believe it is more important to make each movement count by instilling it with intention.

Each unruffling pass acts as a wave through the entire field, even if it is only done locally within the field. An unruffling pass helps dissipate congestion in the field, brings more energy into the field, and supports integration and wholeness in the field.


Attention is a catalyst for change. Listening to the field, being with it and seeing the beauty in the receiver support the field’s return to greater order.

Attending. One of the things we must remember in TT is that the field knows how to function well. In many situations, simply attending to/being with the field is sufficient support for it to remember and move toward better functioning.

Listening. I will often come across something in the field that is slow to shift. My experience is that this is a situation that holds information. If it feels appropriate to involve the receiver, I will ask if the person is aware of the area. Usually the answer is yes. I invite the person to ask the area/field what it wants him/her to know. That information is for the receiver. I do not need to know the answer.

On other occasions when it is not appropriate or possible to involve the receiver consciously in this, I will ask the field what it wants known. By hearing and acknowledging the field’s needs, dissipation of congestion and greater order usually occurs. Sometimes the information leads to a visualisation that I then use in the treatment.

Where once I might have given the information to the person by imbedding it innocuously in conversation, I now follow TTNO Teacher Cheryl Dickson’s suggestion (2) of simply returning it silently to the field. This does make the information available to the receiver and I do not engage in a “psychic reading,” which has no place in the TT treatment.

Heart Support. Seeing the beauty in the receiver combined with deep centering is the essence of Heart Support (3). While in most cases this is done in combination with holding the hand or some other physical or energetic “contact” with the heart chakra, it can also be done by simply holding the awareness the person/being within one’s own heart. This seeing with respect, honour and caring shifts both practitioner and receiver into deeper relaxation and greater trust. The field blossoms and brightens.


The depth of centering, the focus of intention and the quality of attention that the practitioner brings to the TT treatment underlie the formal treatment structure. These are the important aspects of Therapeutic Touch and the practitioner can trust them to have an impact on the field.


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

2. Cheryl Dickson spoke eloquently about this idea during a panel discussion at the 2003 Southwestern Ontario Therapeutic Touch Gathering.

3. “Heart Support,” In Touch, Vol. XII, No. 3, August, 2000.