The Secrets of Powerful Healing

Self-Healing in the Healing Arts

By David Ross, World School Faculty Member

Prospective students sometimes ask us why there is such a strong emphasis placed upon self-healing at World School. We’re glad to field these questions because it gives us an opportunity to share what is truly one of the most important topics for professionals in the healing arts–perhaps even in life.

We often explain that we have this focus because we’re a “holistic” school. Yet the fact that we’re holistic in our orientation is only a small part of a complete answer when it comes to understanding both the clinical and spiritual roots of self-healing work.

At one level, we at World School, emphasize self-healing and personal growth work for massage therapists and coaches because it meets our needs as educators to know that we’ve equipped you fully to have a successful and lasting career in the healing arts. Why is this?

Everyone we’ve ever met who’s been in the healing arts for over fifteen years, when asked what has been most important to their success in working with clients typically says a couple of things. One, they acknowledge it’s their “healing skills.” Yet when pressed further, they usually admit that their healing skills are largely due to something intangible like, “my presence” or “my intention” or “my vibration” or “how tuned in I am” or “my empathy.”

Can you see that these are all intangible qualities that are usually the product of significant self-healing and personal growth: empathy skills, mindfulness practices, intention work, self-healing, etc.?

In other words, successful coaches and massage therapists typically do a lot of personal growth work. In fact, did you know that massage therapists on average take 24 hours of massage continuing education credits each year (American Massage Therapy Association).

Another way of saying this is that experienced professionals realize that the work they do on themselves deeply influences healing success with clients. This is why World School has developed such an enormous breadth of self-healing, transformational courses.

Accepting Your Own Needs for Self-Healing and Self-Care

At another level, the reason why it’s so essential that massage therapists do self-healing work is that virtually everyone who is successful in this career is very determined to contribute powerfully to others. It’s a drive they can’t stop, nor would they want to. In fact, it’s that drive that keeps them going in the career no matter how many times they become discouraged. Unfortunately this drive is usually far less about contributing to others and far more an unconscious attempt to heal themselves.

Over the years we’ve discovered that every single student who comes to our school has had some healing crisis in their own life, perhaps with themselves or a loved one. What we’re about to say is meant with the greatest respect for you: it’s the pain and suffering of the healing crisis that unwraps and empowers the drive to help others to be free of pain and suffering. People want to contribute to others because they empathize and understand what it’s like to have pain.

The upside of this is that the pain gives birth to the drive to contribute and persist in this career over time. Yet there’s a really dark side to this issue as well. For the majority of professionals in the field of the healing arts, the drive to contribute to others reflects unresolved needs to fix themselves and stop their own pain in some way. And this compulsion interferes significantly with their ability to support others.

For many a habitual pattern exists to focus on other people’s pain so as to drown out awareness of their own emotional pain. This is what is referred to as co-dependency: focusing on another person’s needs as a way of mood altering (like any addiction of any kind) to avoid their own pain. Now we’re not saying that mood altering is “bad.” We are saying, however, that when it becomes an unconscious habit, it can destroy a person’s quality of life.

“Fixing” in the Helping Professions

The helping professions are filled with professionals who are endlessly trying to “fix” others despite being unaware that they’ve never dealt with their own pain and met their own needs.

By “fixing” we mean focusing on what’s wrong with another person to the exclusion of what’s well. Now the downside of trying to “fix” others is that the more the therapist sees a client as “broken” the more a client tends to see themselves that way. The more a client sees her- himself as broken, the more likely they will keep recreating that reality for themselves. They unwittingly reinforce their condition by perpetuating the focus of attention upon what’s wrong rather than placing attention upon where they are going. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon of the mind as “the power of suggestion” or “the placebo effect.”

The best example of this is the well-documented research showing that medical symptoms tend to increase as soon someone receives a diagnosis. Additionally, the nascent field of Positive Psychology is founded upon attempting to remedy this very issue. Powerful healers support clients in focusing on a positive, inspiring future rather than seeing themselves as needing to be fixed.

The Cost of Unresolved Co-dependency Patterns

Failure for a healing arts professional to recognize and actually deal with these issues frequently leads to at least three predictable outcomes.

First, as we discussed, the professional may unconsciously reinforce the clients complaint.

Second, these issues if unresolved, may spill over into personal relationships and undermine the ability of the healer to have meaningful love relationships free of co-dependency patterns and painful boundary issues.

And third, it may lead to career “burn out” because the motivations to contribute to others come from thought patterns that “somethings wrong here” rather than authentic acts of giving and generosity. This “burn out” is accompanied by a loss of passion and often horrendous amounts of negative self-talk, or what some people refer to as “self-esteem issues.”

What’s Available Through Self-Healing Work

There’s an alternative direction that a healer may take that not only releases the unwanted unconscious patterns of self-fixing but actually transforms the unresolved healing issue into a self-redemptive and life-affirming experience.

When the healing professional examines her-/himself and takes full responsibility for their patterns by addressing them, a few magical things happen. It’s not really “magical,” per se, that’s just how people describe their experience of transformation. In fact, with the right training and personal growth work, it’s all really quite predictable.

Here’s what often happens. One, the drive to contribute shifts from “fixing” to healthy and authentic generosity. As this occurs, healthy emotional and physical boundaries start to form naturally, enhancing all personal and professional relationships. Contribution comes now from inner abundance rather than a sense of obligation or a compulsion to “fix.”

Additionally, the healer taps into the energy of her/his heart. Some describe this in spiritual terms, others describe it scientifically. Regardless, when this happens the individual starts flowing healthy biochemistry while at the same time tapping in to deeper capacities that flow energy and facilitate healing to extraordinary degrees.

And then as a result of all this, the thought patterns that lead to career burn out diminish, passion arises and life affirming self-talk expands. This is because the energy of contribution has transformed from unconscious self-fixing into something that affirms life.

Said a little differently, in the process of self-healing, the “healer” transforms her/his quality and capacity to facilitate healing for others. The healing arts professional shifts from the self-absorbed, mood-altering, compulsive, fixer-healer into the empowered being who now facilitates healing for others through their “presence,” their “intention,” their “vibration” and their “empathy” (like the experienced healing professionals we discussed earlier). The healer “heals” themselves further and in so doing fulfills the destiny of that her/his healing crisis precipitated earlier in their life: to explore a life of contribution and fulfillment.

Summary: Healer, Heal Thyself.

And this is why World School has dozens of courses in self-healing. It’s because healers need it for themselves first.

It’s because it’s clinically responsible as educators in the healing arts to create an environment where transformation at this level can occur…and irresponsible not to.

It’s because we want you and your gifts to flower and flourish in this world and for you to fulfill your greatest destiny as a healing facilitator.

We want you to embody healing in your own life because that is what gives others access to it. That is, when you transform your own life, the world transforms around you naturally.

After all, that’s why you’re interested in the healing arts in the first place isn’t it? Are you open to exploring your greatest potential? Are you open to your personal transformation?