Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Am I a Healer?

Am I a healer?
Lately, this question has been coming up. It was brought to my attention by one of my new students, who is an MD, and has the view that Reiki practitioners are, and should refer to themselves as "healers" or they are not bringing respect to what they do. According to Debra Katz,
"Any person who attempts to help another living being to transform them to a greater state of health is a healer. They don't need a medical degree because the energy used doesn't come from a pharmaceutical company or a corporation (at least not yet!). Reiki is the most well known modality of energy healing in the western world. If you ask a person what they do they will say they are a healer before anything else. If you ask a physician what they do they usually will say they are a doctor before they say they are a healer. To say a person who does Reiki is not a healer is like to saying a person who sings is not a singer or a person who drives a car is not a driver. It makes no sense."

I agree, to a point.

However, my opinion differs in that there is a connotation of arrogance to saying "I am a healer." It implies that those who I offer healing energy to are passive recipients, rather than participants in their own healing. I prefer to think of myself as an energy worker, one who works with subtle energies, Reiki being primary. I facilitate healing by offering one the opportunity to receive the healing that he or she is ready for. There is a dialogue, a give and take, and the recipient must be willing and open to receiving the Reiki energy. I am not "making you heal" as the word "healer" implies. I am offering healing energy to you, in the hopes that you will receive benefit from the energy.

It's a little like teaching, really. Yes, I am a teacher. That word is completely acceptable by the masses as being one who offers knowledge, and who facilitates another's ability to assimilate the knowledge. As a teacher, I have this knowledge, these skills, to offer you, the learner. You can decide that you cannot or will not learn what I am trying to teach you. You can decide that I am not a teacher that you can relate to. In that case, you can choose to find another teacher or subject that best fits with your needs. In this role of teacher, therefore, I am more accurately "a facilitator of your ability to increase or assimilate new knowledge". I can't make you learn any more than I can make you heal. That part is up to you. I can do my best to make the knowledge clear, to adapt to your unique way of learning so that it makes sense to you.

So as a "healer" I am attempting to offer you energy that you are able to assimilate into your own, to then benefit from this energy in the ways that make the most sense to your needs.

The problem is in the connotation, rather than the definition here. It sounds arrogant to say that I am a healer. I am a healer in that I work with healing energy. I am not a guru, or one who can "make" you heal if you are not ready to heal, or willing to heal on some level.

In another sense, we are all healers - people who recover from illnesses. We heal ourselves, so we are healers. But the word "healer" is taken more widely to mean one who heals other people. I don't think I do that. I present the opportunity for others to receive healing energy. That I'm comfortable saying.

Do I want you to heal? Yes. I want you to feel better, I want you to enjoy and benefit from the beautiful energy that is flowing through me to you. I am deeply grateful for the ability to be connected to the Source of Reiki energy and to be able to pass that energy to you. I am also extremely grateful for the ability to pass this ability to others who wish to learn to do the same thing. I am a teacher.

So you won't find me putting "healer" on my business card. It says Reiki Master Teacher.

Reiki Master comes with its own connotations, for I am not a "Master of Reiki" (there's that guru connotation again). But it's easily explained that Reiki Master is a level designation that means one has received the proper training and attunements to enable one to teach and attune others. Like having a Master's degree - it is a definition of training. It doesn't make you any more holy or genius than anyone else.

So to Debra Katz, and to my Reiki student, MD, I say, I am in the practice of working with healing energy. In that sense I may be a healer, but I will not refer to myself that way for the reasons that I don't want to be mistaken for someone who will heal you. Only you can heal you. I can offer you energy that can help you heal, and will joyfully do so.

We are all healers.



alexandra said...

Lovely! I hear your high self speaking through the human body. Beautiful.

Charms Of Light said...

Beautifully stated Alice. That is exactly how I feel too!
Much love & blessings, Caryl <3

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate the manner in which you honored the words healer, energy worker, teacher and master. I often struggle to find just the right way in which to talk to others about Reiki and how I envision myself a part of it. I may have to "borrow" your explanation! Your piece carries great energy!

Rev. Naware, RMT said...

I respectfully honor your insights and thank you for sharing them with us all! I completely agree with your thoughts on what a "healer" and a "teacher" do, I have some of my own offerings though. To me anyone who holds a position in which they have had to gain knowledge and/or experience to adequately practice (and even those who have a natural knack for certain things) are facilitators of that. A facilitator can HELP you, but they never make you. It is always your conscious desires and effort that bring about the healing, the learning, etc. And even if you consciously wish to accept something, if you do not accept it on ALL levels it will impede the process.

Recently I have just had a long discussion on the use of connotation vs denotation in dealing with other people. My point to my student was this, "When you use a word, you not only deal with your own definition of it, but also the definition of anyone else you are addressing." This can cause much confusion and even debate when people are not on the same page to so speak.

I personally refer to myself by my title, as a Reverend & Reiki Master/Teacher, but also in general as a "Spiritual Healer". When I say these two terms I am referring to the fact that I am a spiritual person using a healing technique that is not what one might consider traditional medicine. I do energy work. But I also always sit and speak with my clients and students before embarking on the healing or learning journeys. I explain my philosophy, how I personally work, and feel them out to see if we fit together.

These additional thoughts may help! My Mission Statement (


My Healing Philosophy (

Marla Levie said...

Thank you for sharing your insight. I found it very interesting.
Marla Levie
President, Focus on Aging

Alice Langholt said...


Thank you for hearing me. This was something I needed to say. So glad to share thoughts with you here and on Twitter. Love, Alice


So wonderful to see you! Thank you for your comment and your support. We are truly sisters in the light.

Feel free to borrow or quote anything that resonates with you that I might offer. I'm honored.
Love, Alice

I love the point on connotation that you make here. That is the point - the connotation is the subjective value of the word, and it's at the whim of the listener. So my intended meaning of "healer" and someone's interpretation through his or her own experiential knowledge or veil of understanding, may be very different. The clearer we are, the better in cases like these.
Thank you for sharing your perspectives with us - you enrich my blog.
Love, Alice

Thank you for gracing my blog with your comment. Come back again.
Love and light, Alice

Susan Martinez said...

Wow, I really enjoyed your blog and the distinction you make as beig fascilitors of healing. It is so true. As reiki practitioners, yes wer are healers in a snce that we are conduits. I really enjoyed reading your blog and your point was well stated.

Thak you!

Susan Martinez,Reiki Master/ Teacher
Healing Lotus Yoga & Reiki

Ash said...

Very beautifully written. This is why I prefer the word channel instead of healer, because there is no ambiguity here. I am merely channeling the energy that does all the work, and this helps in keeping the ego out of the way

Anonymous said...

As a Reiki practitioner I think of a healer as someone who facilitates healing. For me it doesn't mean that the receiver is passive; they are still active participants and they are responsible for their own healing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they made me think about it and clarify it for my own benefit.