As educators, we (the authors) train people from diverse health-care backgrounds, and we’ve reviewed many codes of ethics—all of which contain language that states the practitioner should cause no physical, mental or emotional harm; will practice only within his or her scope of training; will demonstrate respect and compassion; and will not offer medical diagnosis unless licensed to do so. Issues with regard to sexual misconduct—appropriate draping, boundaries and confidentiality—are fairly explicit and consistent.
All of these guidelines are important, but awareness of energetic space and the energetic relationship shared between a client and a practitioner are rarely mentioned. It is our belief that energetic ethics must come to the forefront of professional training.
Every bodywork or hands-on-healing session contains an energetic exchange that takes place on multiple levels: within and between the client, practitioner and physical space. In order to be fully present for our clients, we also must be self-aware and in a place of health and balance. If we are not self-aware, regardless of our intentions, it is difficult to be in alignment with our professional standards of practice and ethical codes, much less practice with an understanding of energetic ethics.
Guidelines for energetic ethics include:
• Holding a space for the growth and healing of clients without crossing the line into expectation of what form that growth and healing will take.
• Leaving your emotional garbage at the door, so whatever frustrations, anger, distress and anxiety you may have accumulated during the day are not part of your energetic field as you work on someone else’s.
• Being able to distinguish between wanting to help and needing to help.
• Being able to establish and maintain clear boundaries as you move through sessions.
• Being prepared to act and respond with integrity when a client expresses discomfort.
Equally important is how you care for yourself, so the energetic exchange between you and your clients is healthy. This requires frequently tuning in to your energetic field and doing something to support your personal path to optimal health.
Practitioners of any hands-on-healing modality have a responsibility to maintain their energetic hygiene. This is a huge part of the broader concept of energetic ethics. People who care for others professionally sometimes neglect themselves—but it is not possible to offer optimal service when you fail to allocate time to nurture yourself.
Are there simple things that bring you back to the best part of you? This might mean connecting to a time in your life when you felt truly at peace. Care of others begins with care of self, just as energetic ethics begins with ourselves and spreads to others. When we do not live with the essence of authenticity and integrity, we cannot act within the bounds of energetic ethics. If we are not true to ourselves, we cannot be true to others. How can we encourage clients to take care of themselves if we are not taking care of ourselves?
Here are some simple rituals that go beyond changing linens or washing hands. Use them to center yourself and change the energy of your session room between clients:
1. Open a window, even if only briefly, to allow in a fresh flow of air.
2. Light a new candle (be aware of sensitivity to scent).
3. Fill a glass of water before every session; it will collect energies released during the session. Empty and refill the glass with water as part of your preparation for your next client.
4. Inhale a cleansing or energizing essential oil.
5. If you work with sound tools, take a moment to ground yourself with a Tibetan bowl, the steady beat of a drum or tuning forks.
Just as you wash your hands and change linens in your session space between clients, take time between sessions to clear your energy field or the energy of your previous client from the physical space where you work. Grounding ourselves between clients—taking a cleansing breath to tune into our energy field to ensure that when we greet our next client we are fully present and able to provide the highest quality of care—is of critical importance.
Many people come for work on their souls as well as their bodies. The soul needs to be acknowledged on a different level, from a different level. You may already be doing this, and if you are not, intention and compassion are all you need. You will immediately feel a shift in the energy at the beginning of a session when you greet clients in this way and provide enough time for them to talk about their expectations for the session.
Remember: Ideally, an energetic container, or sacred space, is created every time we come in contact with the physical and energetic bodies of our clients. When we are clear in our own energy and respectful about how we interact with our clients’ energies, the magic happens.
Ellen F. Franklin is CEO of the Kairos Institute of Sound Healing, which created the Acutonics Healing System. An author and leader in sound-healing education, Franklin travels throughout the world teaching. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly Jackson is a senior faculty member of the Kairos Institute of Sound Healing. She can be reached at email@example.com.