The tradition of storytelling has a long and illustrious history dating back from cavemen drawing on rocks and stone walls to portray news, warnings or victories over obstacles all the way forward to video blogs and chat-rooms on the internet. Everyone has a story and most people enjoy telling and hearing them. Witness the number of times certain videos are accessed or articles are read to see the power of a story told well.
Storytelling also has a therapeutic effect when a person is relating an incident that happened to them or they witnessed. It gives the storyteller a chance to really look at the event and feel the emotions they were going through during the episode. The listeners can then interact with the storyteller by asking questions or making observations that perhaps the storyteller had not considered. This is especially helpful if the listener(s) is a trusted person who has no relation to the events of the story so may be objective in their questions and comments.
Warriors of ancient times were encouraged to share their view of the battle so that a wider account of the situation could be analyzed for future skirmishes. It also served as a way to decompress from the rage of war and allow the warrior to integrate back into the daily activities of the clan or tribe while acknowledging what they had gone through. With our acknowledging difficulties or trials we can then acquire the appropriate means to get through them, becoming better in the process.
One way in using storytelling as therapy is the client can relate the incident that seems to be blocking their progress telling it in a manner of their choosing. Then the practitioner or therapist can question them regarding the story to gain clarity as to the who, what, where, when and why of the details that can be remembered. Together they can explore the wider picture of the whole event which may sometimes delve into historical events or people to gain a broader scope of all the implications for the recent happening. Putting this all together can give the client a clearer picture as to why the event happened and how they can learn from it.
Another way of using storytelling in therapy is for the practitioner to relate a story either from a different tradition that has a similar circumstance to the client or use another client's story (while protecting privacy) that has similar elements to your present client. Then allow the client to observe the similar elements for themselves and how they may see their own outcome to their present circumstance differently. The practitioner can use well placed questions and gentle guidance to help the client see possibilities instead of obstacles.
The telling of stories has been a time honored tradition and when an entertaining narrative has been used in a therapy session it tends to stick in the mind much better than instructions given to follow. Stories capture our imagination and all things become possible. Next time you are stuck in your thinking or behavior, tell the story of how it came to be and weave your own tale to flesh out the details. It is then that you can create a happier ending. By Dr. Catherine Denton
What is Reiki?
The practice of Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui as he was taking a Buddhist training course in 1922 on Mount Kurama. It is said he had a mystical revelation where he gained the knowledge and spiritual power of what he called Reiki. He opened his first clinic that same year. It is reported that he taught his system to over 2000 students with 16 of these going on to complete the Shinpiden or Master Level.
The word Reiki is broken down into two parts: rei- spirit, miraculous, divine and ki- gas, vital energy, breath of life. Many explain the meaning of Reiki as being universal life energy. All of life is energetic to some degree with each atom vibrating at different frequencies. Rocks are made up of denser low frequency minerals that vibrate at a slower rate than perhaps a humming bird with its higher frequency lighter minerals. This energy can be channeled to flow or it can be blocked causing stagnation. The application of Reiki can help stagnate energy to flow again and thereby causing the life force to to as it was meant to do in a body.
This is not a “magical thinking” process. Touch is a powerful tool when applied with caring and intent. A parent soothing a child in distress or an adult grieving a loved one is often cared for by using touch in some way. Stroking a beloved pet is soothing for the animal and for the person petting. Reiki channels that intention in a deliberate manner from the practitioner to the client using their hands placed on or slightly above the clothed body. The Western version has prescribed hand placements while the Japanese version uses a more intuitive approach.
During a Reiki session the client is in repose either on a table made for this purpose or they can be in a chair or bed when using this technique in person. There is also a technique for using Reiki on a person distantly. For most people a session of Reiki is relaxing and refreshing. Afterward the client may feel a bit dizzy or light headed due to the energy being manipulated in the body. Intake of water is essential as the body uses its stores of this vital liquid to help the stagnate energy flow once again. Water also flushes out the toxins that have been released by the body.
There have been scientific studies done on the efficacy of Reiki. In the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine we find a study in Using Reiki to Decrease Memory and Behavior Problems in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer's Disease where in the course of the study it was found that there were statistically significant increases in mental functioning, memory and behavior problems as measured by standardized tests after the application of a course of Reiki treatments*. In another case reported in this same journal a severely ill 54 yr old man with hepatitis C was treated with high doses of interferon therapy but developed profound anemia and neutropenia (compromised immune system). After the application of Reiki therapy the immediate clinical result was improvement in the patient's absolute neutrophil count (ANC) which shows improvement in the immune system and he could therefore resume the interferon treatment without problems**. Other studies and explorations are reported in the peer reviewed journal.
As with any skill there are degrees of effectiveness in respect to the practitioner and their own innate ability. Some people are more in touch with their own energy awareness and their focused intent on their client. There are also degrees of receptiveness when it comes to the client and what they perceive as helpful. This is true in the regular medical profession as it is in anything to do with individuals and their needs. Whatever the case the Reiki energy does what it does regardless of these factors. Reiki allows for a relaxed state to be obtained so the body and mind can heal itself as the body was designed to do.