Healing People with Schizophrenia through Shared Acceptance of Clients' Realities and Shifts in Bioenergy Fields
by Yuliya L. Cohen TDCE, BACS, ERT
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The field of psychotherapy holds to the basic premise that what is experienced by people with schizophrenia is not normal or real. As a result, in psychotherapy there has always been a major emphasis on trying to help clients give a full account of their inner reality in words, pictures or other symbolic representations, admit they were delusional, and through learning to measure reality with the yardstick of the therapist to regain full grasp of normal reality. Bruce W. Scotton (2002) points out that “Although traditional psychiatry and psychology have made impressive strides in the understanding the human mind and the brain, they adhere to an unnecessarily restrictive view of the psyche and its functioning, and in doing so they refuse to follow the scientific method. Specifically, our current sciences of the psyche fail to examine the data concerning, build theories to explain, and work therapeutically with spiritual experiences and experience of nonordinary reality."
The goal of this article is to expand the existing model by questioning and rethinking assumptions about the basic nature of client’s non-ordinary experiences. This article describes a non-traditional approach to treating people with schizophrenia that involves authentically accepting the person's story and symptoms as a valid reflection of an inner crisis, and treating the person's positive symptoms by respectfully using each aspect of their story as a direction from which healing can proceed towards spiritual integration and symptom resolution.
The starting point of all these stories is the healing professional asking the person to describe their inner reality and then engaging and treating them from within that reality.
This report is divided in the following sections:
1. A brief overview of the challenges and perspectives on treating people with schizophrenia.
2. A story of my personal path to healing
3. A discussion on shared intentional focus and the validity of inner reality
4. Case examples describing the challenges of reframing and resolution in achieving a successful treatment outcome
5. Discussions of bioenergy field alterations that facilitate healing for these people.
6. Summary of the approach and conclusions.
Key words: Schizophrenia, paranoid, delusions, healing, quantum fields, Energy Restructuring Institute
My personal path to healing
I was born in Russia into a family of physicists and academicians. I grew up in a world where science was in a state of a constant flux, as new theories were inexorably replacing old ones. This experience influenced my beliefs that a strict adherence to traditional models was intrinsically unscientific.
My earlier studies were in the unlikely field of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) engineering at Kiev Technical School of Civil Engineering. Working as an HVAC industrial system designer, I was introduced to the physical world of energy, flow and matter - the nuts and bolts of systems that provide us with the most essential comforts of life.
When I immigrated to US, I studied computer science at Brandeis University and later joined a research team at Siemens Research Institute, involved with pioneering research into human-computer interfaces.
For me, being a healer was not a choice, but a calling. I came to realize my abilities through a personal quest. As a newlywed in 1983, I was diagnosed with a very large fibroid tumor. I was told by numerous doctors that an immediate hysterectomy was the only treatment.
As a software researcher, I thought that just as in a program, one should be able to find what went wrong in one's body, and where, and then undo, and correct the problem. I could not understand why it should be different with the human body. I thought that medicine failed science and nature in some fundamental way, and that l needed to look elsewhere for answers.
During this time I was given my very first intuitive reading, during which the psychic told me that I was born to be a healer and that my mission in life is to help many people to find freedom from suffering, Neither of us knew at the time what the word 'healer' meant.
And that is what happened. I began my quest - discovering and exploring alternative modalities. Three years later, after I had discovered the source of my own condition, and improved it enough to give birth to my first son, I realized that my calling is to assist others in taking charge of their own health and wellbeing, and to discover and develop a fundamental system based on universal laws and principles of healing. This system of Energy Restructuring enables us to resolve effortlessly and gracefully the issues with which we are faced, just like a well designed engineering system – in an energy intelligent way. In the process, I developed my intuitive and psychic abilities to allow me to see and trace energy, so that I could directly analyze and verify the structure of clients' trauma states and follow the effects of the energetic treatments.
Even though I have studied various healing modalities with various teachers, my most important growth came from the nine years of training I received from the HLCC "Crucible" program, directed by Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere, a world-renowned healer, scholar and researcher in the field of Energy Healing (http://www.rosalynlbruyere.org/).
I founded the Energy Restructuring Institute to carry out research in the emerging fields of Energy Medicine and Energy Psychology. Over the course of 25 years I became an expert in the area of anxiety and trauma. I have enabled thousands of people to heal from their most severe fears, anxiety and trauma in a way that is safe, lasting and with a sense of ease – using my energy restructuring system in combination with Energetic Displacement Reintegration (EDR) - a pioneering methodology for correcting energetic displacement (Cohen, 2006)
Over the years, I have worked closely with medical doctors, psychiatrists and therapists who have an interest in complementary therapies. These professionals, along with my clients, have benefited greatly from my ability to turn the difficult concept of non-verbal energetic interactions into a skill easily and naturally accessible to all.
Challenges and perspectives in treating people with schizophrenia
According to the NIMH, schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, recurrent and therefore disabling mental condition termed a 'mental disorder' that affects about 2.4 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 and older. This disabling disorder appears to have afflicted people throughout recorded history. Schizophrenia manifests as:
· Psychosis - a loss of contact with reality which may include beliefs that others are plotting to
· Hallucinations - in the form of visions, voices or sounds.
· Mood problems –wide swings of emotions with no external cause.
The exact causes of this disorder are not known. Scientists are studying a variety of factors that may contribute to the development of schizophrenia, including genetic factors, brain chemistry, as well as lesions in the brain from head traumas, strokes, tumors and infections.
Medications may alleviate or completely control the symptoms of schizophrenia but are problematic because of frequently intolerable side effects. An NIMH study led by Jeffrey Lieberman (2005) concluded that medications alone are not sufficient to cure the disease. This is also confusing and problematic to people suffering from schizophrenia because they may feel they are cured when their symptoms abate. Then they discontinue their medications and the symptoms return. As long as this condition is viewed largely through the eyes of pathology, most people with schizophrenia will continue to suffer throughout their lives.
The case report below demonstrates that new therapies are called for, where conventional approaches are very limited. The approach I describe and other related transpersonal therapies can offer a broader perspective. Transpersonal psychology pioneered by Dr. Stanislav Grof and others seeks to loosen the rigid conventional structures through which schizophrenia and related conditions have been viewed. The transpersonal approach reflects the impulse towards a more open-ended exploration of a client’s present experience, beyond labeling it dismissively as false and pathological.
Grof (1990) proposes a theory based on the core assumption that people who are traditionally considered to have mental illness are in fact undergoing a spiritual crisis that we do not know how to approach and heal. To the extent that we as therapists and healers can engage our creativity and open our minds to the multidimensional nature of reality, we can help our clients enter a realm of freedom where they can be their truest self.
Grof explicitly excluded cases where the cause is some organic change in the brain due to illness or physical trauma. In that case such a condition cannot be approached this way and therefore cannot be successfully treated.
The case reported in this article provides evidence that challenges even the exclusion of a physical brain disorder. It describes a powerful transpersonal therapeutic approach that through a combination of psychology, spirituality and subtle energy therapies, brings resolution of the symptoms to a client with clinically diagnosed schizophrenia. The treatment I will describe allows for a conscious unfolding of a client’s own story as it embraces all the symptoms without having to negate the story or the symptoms through insistence on rational reasoning alone. And it demonstrates success even in the presence of an unsuspected organic brain disorder, which was uncovered in the course of treatment.
When an approach is used that does not view the expression of schizophrenia as a brain abnormality, clients emerge from their affliction with the bolstered confidence, restored sense of dignity, deeper connection to the self, and trust that there are tools for graceful and lasting healing. They can then live in their body and in the world with trust in the implicit order and wisdom of the Universe.
Medicine today is at a frontier of an immense change. A new trend is emerging – the convergence of western and complementary approaches. The new shift will inevitably bring about a change in the way mental illness is viewed and diagnosed. We will be reminded that what may seem like distinct conditions, coded through grouping of symptoms and distinct labels of diagnosis, is simply a matter of classification and not necessarily an accurate reflection of some hardwired truths. I say this because in the inner world and experience of the clients and in the mind of the healers who view this condition as a crisis of the soul and a form of energetic fracturing there exists no such chasm, and the boundaries between what seem like unrelated conditions blend and dissolve.
Shared intentional focus and the validity of inner reality
I received my first insights into schizophrenia from my mentor and friend Dr. Samuil Slonimsky, a former department head at a St. Petersburg psychiatric hospital.
The main idea he taught me is that in order to treat people with schizophrenia, I have to enter the universe of the client. It is important to not just 'pretend,' but rather to do one's best to enter the person's reality as completely as possible – no matter how strange that reality is.
To emphasize this point Dr. Slominsky recounted a small experiment he performed with a schizophrenic patient in the St Petersburg psychiatric hospital whom we shall call 'N':
The patient told me that he kept seeing a swirling ball of light that moved around the room and that he could not stop. Even though everybody thought that N was delusional, I decided to relate to N as if he was actually looking at something tangible and real. I asked him where that ball was right at that moment. N pointed to the upper left corner of the room. I focused very intently on that location and conjured a ball of light. Once I had firmly imagined the ball in the upper left corner of the room, I did something unorthodox. I imagined “moving” the ball of light to the upper right corner of the room. I wanted to know whether I could affect the patient’s reality.
“Where is it now?” I asked him
“Oh, he shrugged his shoulders, it just moved to the right corner. Like I told you, it keeps moving around.“
Encouraged, I decided to move the ball of light to somewhere that the patient never reported seeing it. I intentionally “moved” the ball into the room next door. I then asked him if he could still see the ball of light. He confirmed that he did but added that for some strange reason the ball was no longer in the room, but behind the wall in the other room.
“That is really strange; it’s never done that before”, he remarked.
Dr. Slominsky told me that as a result of this incident he came to two conclusions
1. Patients always report some form of inner reality that is meaningful to them.
2. If we do not dismiss it as a pathological and illogical state of mind, we can enter this reality with them, and affect it through intention alone towards resolution and wholeness.
Dr. Slominski’s story of N brought to my mind a different question. Curiously, the diagnosis of schizophrenia tends to be rare in children. Could it be because we eagerly embrace rich fantasies in children? Children, in fact, are encouraged to create and connect to inner worlds replete with imaginary characters. Is it just that when we grow up we expect that connection to cease for the sake of normality?
I recollected how my older son as a little boy told me about these “swirling balls of light” that used to hang out in the upper corners of his bedroom. I remember inquiring if that was something that made him scared or uneasy in any way. He said it did not, that he liked to play with balls of energy. Given that I was learning about the world of energy work myself, I did not think much of it, attributing it to his imagination. Somehow we never talked about it again.
Inspired by Dr. Slominski’s story, I asked my son, now an adult, if he could recollect the story of the swirling balls of light. “Oh, yeah, he responded cheerfully. I used to see them all the time, it was fun.” “Used to? You’re not seeing them any longer?” I asked. He said he didn’t. When I inquired why, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know. It felt like making a connection with a different world. But it wasn’t what everyone around me was doing. I guess I wanted to be normal. Peer pressure, you know. So I stopped connecting, stopped paying attention to it. I guess I could do it again, but then there are so many other things to do and to focus on these days. I probably wouldn’t find the time.“
Could it be, I asked myself, that in listening to our patients and treating their story as pathological, we may create an implicit barrier to further creative examination that would lead to resolution and wholeness?
As I was working on this article, a thought crossed my mind if I could through my intention send an “energy ball” to Dr. Slonimsky and make him aware of this project. Two days later I receive a call from Samuel. I had not heard from him for almost a year. I told him about the article, and of my son’s story of losing his connection to the world of subtle energies. He acknowledged the fact that in his experience many children who are psychic and intuitive have a natural connection to the other-dimensional world. In the process of growing up they break this connection, like my son did, which would be around the age of 18. This marks a healthy transition into adulthood in a world that has insulated itself from these connections. Those who are unable to break the connection to the multidimensional world of subtle energies, particularly in the presence of early childhood trauma, continue struggling. They find themselves stuck in the alternative reality that they now view through the distorted lenses of trauma, without a way to ground their experience – in a world where their reality is not understood or supported. This fact alone may account for the usual onset of schizophrenia at the age 18-25.
So then we may be looking at two major factors:
1. A person’s early childhood predisposition toward an intuitive psychic connection with the world of subtle energies, and whether that connection was interrupted or continued into the adulthood; and
2. Presence of childhood trauma or a trauma later on in life, in relationship to the stresses involved in (1).
If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail
It is becoming increasingly clear that diagnosing mental disorders is not at all simple, and is unlikely to lead to definitive understandings of this problem as long as psychiatry and psychology are rigidly grounded in the biomedical model. Given the uncertainty in the diagnosis, a growing number of children and adolescents are being diagnosed with serious mental disorders and given drugs than may be unnecessary and that carry significant risks of side effects
Of those who get treatment, most obtain it from primary-care doctors, not mental-health professionals, and that leads to an even higher risk of misdiagnosis. According to Allen Frances MD, who was a chair of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) task force, despite all the good intentions, there is a serious misdiagnosis problem, particularly in the area of early identification and preventative treatment of Psychosis suggested in DSM-5. He writes that “even in the most expert of hands of (i.e. in very highly selected research clinics), at least two of three people who get the diagnosis do not go on to become psychotic. Of great counterintuitive interest, the longer the research clinic operates the lower becomes its rate of correct identification. With time and spreading reputation, the clinic attracts increasingly heterogeneous referrals – so that it is more difficult to discriminate from among them those who are truly at risk for psychosis." Dr. Frances estimates that a most conservative ratio of wrong diagnoses is two thirds. He believes that this false positive rate will jump from 70-90 percent if the diagnosis would be made in general medical practice, rather then a specialized research clinic. “This means, that as many as an astounding nine in ten individuals identified being at risk would not really be at risk for developing psychosis, this represents between 3-9 kids and young adults for every one correctly identified…This is a clearly the prescription for iatrogenic public health disaster,” concludes Dr. Frances (Frances, 2010).
Scott Peck, MD asserts that these kinds of failure are so destructive to psychiatry that the predicament can properly be called “grave.” He writes, “American psychiatry is, I believe, currently in a predicament, because its traditional neglect of the issue of spirituality has led to five broad areas of failure - occasional, devastating misdiagnosis, not infrequent mistreatment, and increasing poor reputation for inadequate research and theory, and a limitation of psychiatrists' own personal development" (Peck, 1993).
Our modern worldview is altering beyond our wildest imagination, as the old forms are crumbling across the board – in politics, finances, science, medicine and bio-energy therapies, and not just in the fields of psychiatry or psychology. Yet there is still a fear that stepping outside the conventional structures, something dangerous is going to happen. Instead, something liberating is going to happen.
Our imagination holds the keys to the future. We are capable of manifesting creatively only to the limits of our imagination. And our patients are challenging those limits. In their desire to be recognized, to be witnessed they beckon us to step outside of our limits towards our own personal growth. When our fear and resistance can turn to curiosity about how we can change the lives of our clients, then we can assist them in reframing their experiences, so that even what appears as 'pathological' can nevertheless fit into the overall spiritual development of the person and do so along DSM lines.
You may wonder at the start of your healing journey with people who have symptoms described as schizophrenic if you could help them tackle their delusions, their paranoia and their inner associations, with all their anxieties, fears, projections and agitation from these perspectives. I am happy to tell you that profound transformations are possible with these people, and happy as well to share with you my stories of successes in helping them and my view regarding certain aspects of the theory of how the process works.
Most importantly, I hope you will learn how to trust yourself and harness the power of your imagination. A little step to the left, a little step to the right, and with practice and trust we can succeed. Such was the path of my personal journey from an HVAC designer to the empowering, exciting and creative times as an author of this article.
Case example 1: The challenges of re-framing and resolving what are considered delusional thoughts in conventional psychiatric assessments
Mary was a woman in her early thirties, whom I saw in my private healing practice. According to her report, she was receiving disability compensation due to schizophrenia. Mary had been on disability for at least six years due to her impaired ability to work, study, or provide self-care. Mary suffered from persecutory delusions of mistreatment, of being harassed, conspired against, spied on, falsely attacked, or obstructed by people she encountered in her life, including member of the church she belonged to. She also was prone to mood fluctuations such as agitation and angry outbursts. At the same time she was a very spiritual, religious and highly sensitive person who was acutely aware of other’s emotions and energies, and who had deep connection to nature.
Among other complaints, she had a particular paranoid delusion. An immigrant, she felt that secret police from her country of origin conspired against her. She explained to me that as she was leaving her country, the secret police agents had burned something into her brain and she had a persistent sensation of burning inside her brain near the top of her head. She believed that the agents had done something to her brain to keep track of her. Her family assured me that she had never had any political involvement or encounters with the secret police. They said however, that her paranoid delusions began after a bout with meningitis not too long before their emigration. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain. It appeared she recovered from the illness medically but somehow not psychologically.
This case study describes a step-by-step energy medicine intervention that leads to a successful and complete resolution of her paranoid delusion that “the secret service burned something in her brain to track her.”
I wanted to investigate a possibility that her schizophrenic symptoms were actually related to some organic brain condition. As she was lying on my healing table I asked her where that painful spot was in her head. I was convinced that this was all in her mind, but was curious if I could detect the source of her discomfort in a way that would explain her experience. She gave me a description of the location of the discomfort and the physical sensations she experienced.
I energetically 'scanned' that region of her brain, and to my surprise I found a small area that felt like an unhealed brain lesion, inflamed and burning. Over the years, I have perceived such lesions in the brain that resulted from head traumas, strokes, tumors, or infectious diseases like meningitis. It was conceivable that the source of the burning sensation in her head was not imagined, but an organic problem such as a side effect of meningitis.
I do not find in my records where exactly in the brain I perceived the lesion. My recollection is that it was in an anterior portion of the frontal lobe. The main point here is not where exactly that location was, but the fact that my intuitive scan confirmed her description and her symptoms.
Fortuitously, I have worked with people who had accident-related brain injuries in the past and successfully treated the effects of brain lesions using a particular energy therapy technique called Brain Balancing, pioneered by Rosalyn Bruyere.
The challenge was how to treat both her physiological and psychological symptoms from within the framework of her secret service story.
To tell or not to tell?
Now I was faced with a dilemma. The traditional approach calls for a healing practitioner to be completely, 100% honest with their clients. Did I then have an obligation to impress upon Mary a rational explanation for the burning sensation she felt in the brain? To explain to her that her burning symptoms were caused by a brain lesion probably resulting from her meningitis, and unrelated to the secret police activities?
I decided not to tell. My assessment was that telling Mary the whole truth, that her burning sensation was caused by meningitis rather than by the secret agents, would invalidate her experience and shatter her trust in me. Simply put, she would not believe me, and her psychological symptoms would persist. My experience in general is that telling people with schizophrenia that their experiences and reality are not true is counterproductive.
Great thinkers and spiritual leaders have grappled with this question of honesty. Many teachings strongly recommend, “Do not lie.”
The policy that I follow is to be in integrity. I cannot lie, but also I am not required to tell the whole truth indiscriminately. Dr. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, says, “First, never speak falsehood.” And in withholding truth, Peck says, the primary factor should always be the person’s “capacity to utilize the truth for his or her own spiritual growth.”
This art of discernment is one of the most advanced skills in diplomacy – how much to say and when, without lying, and at the same time without necessarily revealing all the details. As parents we often withhold information from our children, if a child doesn’t have the capacity to use this information in a productive way. Similarly, as a clinician when dealing with a client’s story that challenges my sense of reality, I do my best to find a way to give them truthful information without challenging the context of their own story.
Try this meditation: Imagine that you are both the wood and the fire that consumes the wood. When you focus your awareness on the part of you that is the wood, you hurt; it’s painful to feel your sense of solidity disintegrating. But as you shift your attention to the part of you that is the fire, you exult in the wild joy of liberation and power.
It may be tempting to visualize yourself more as the fire than the wood. But if you’d like to understand pronoia it its fullness, you’ve got to be both wood and fire simultaneously.
- Rob Brezsny
Healing from Within the Story
So without negating Mary’s story, I simply told her that I had found the burning spot. I explained to her that she was in luck, because I had successfully treated problems like this before. I asked her to concentrate on the burning sensation while I performed energy therapy and to let me know when and if her sensations changed.
As soon as I felt the burning sensation in her head resolved, she also reported that she could not feel it any longer. “It is all gone!“ she declared. “I am fine now. This was awesome, thank you so much!”
I was genuinely surprised and thrilled at the same time. Was it possible that’s all it took to treat this disorder? Could it be so simple?
I checked with her carefully. “Are we all done? No more concerns?”
She thought for a moment, and then said emphatically “No, it’s not at all done”. “I may be OK, but THEY ARE STILL DOING IT TO OTHERS. I AM HEALED, BUT THEY KEEP HURTING PEOPLE. I CANNOT BE OK.”
I sighed deeply. Of course, it could not be that easy. What was I supposed to do now? In her delusional state she additionally assigned to herself not only the role of victim, but also of liberator. Frankly, I wondered if I had made her condition worse.
Once again, I remembered what Dr. Slonimsky had taught me: “Enter the client’s reality as completely and sincerely as you can.” I reminded myself that he was successful in moving a ball of light from one room to another and changing the patient’s perception. I had to think for a moment of a parallel I could make between the two stories. What could I plausibly do to those imaginary secret police agents from a healing room, here in the US that would change Mary’s perception? How could I enter her story so that I could change the outcome from within the premises of the story itself? I had to make her story real inside of me. For a moment, it felt as impossible as jumping off a cliff. She was watching me intently. Any insincerity on my part now would discredit me in her eyes and make me lose my connection to her.
“Ok,” I said slowly and convincingly. “I appreciate your concern for others, your desire to stop the wrongdoing, and the goodness of your heart. We do need to protect these people from the secret police. You understand, however, that we cannot physically stop the KGB from here. However, there is a way in which I can energetically disable their power. I have done that before. We can take away their power to burn this tracking device into people’s brains. They will still think that they are in charge of the process, and it is working, but it will not. What they do will have no effect from now on.”
I also had another idea to actually elicit her help in this process as a way to constructively engage her concern and create a positive change in her inner perception.
“You can join me in this.” I told her. “You can use the intensity of your desire to stop the secret police from hurting others to fuel the energetic block I’ve set for them. You have very strong energy. We can do it together, as a team to make sure it really works. Tell me when you know that we have succeeded.”
And so I did it - suspending all disbelief, I created in my mind a detailed picture of us placing an imaginary block on secret police agents burning things in people’s brains. It was as if the two of us were in a movie, where we had control over the script. I conjured the scene with as much honesty and authenticity as I could muster. I was in uncharted territory and wondered if it really was going to work. Finally she decided we were done.
This time I felt truly elated. This strategy worked brilliantly. My mentor, Samuil, was right in his theory. She was healed just like that!
“Are we done now?” I inquired, positively confident. She went into deep thought once again. She shook her head, “no, we are not done yet”. “What is it now?” I asked, puzzled.
She responded, “They stopped what they are doing to new people, but WHAT ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE TO WHOM, LIKE ME, THEY’VE ALREADY DONE THIS TO? What about all those people that are still suffering?”
I could feel her mind clutch for a new obsession. A sense of despair and resignation wrapped around me as the thought crossed my mind that this will never end. She will just keep coming up with reason after reason to maintain her delusions. That is the nature of schizophrenia. In the end, this condition may be just as incurable as it is generally thought to be. I was simply being naïve and my expectations unrealistic.
Then a question crossed my mind. Is her process of inquiry necessarily a sign of a mental illness or a matter of interpretation? What if she were a research scientist or an engineer, simply working through all the possible ramifications of a problem? Yes, the subject is a delusional story, but her way of thinking about the story was totally logical. Maybe, rather then viewing her through the lens of mental illness, I could instead regard her as being intelligent and paradoxically rational.
“This is all really very clever of you,” I responded. “I have so much respect and admiration for how logical your mind is. You really are taking care of all the aspects of the secret police actions. And your heart is so big and caring. Yes, let us figure out how to help all these people.”
From my perspective, this next challenge was really easy both to address and stay in integrity. There is a practice in energy therapies that when a healing takes place, you broadcast the vibrational frequencies of the healing so that anyone with the similar problem gets that healing. I often end sessions on that note. My clients find that gives a larger meaning and purpose to their suffering and a sense of greater connection to the source of healing and to people as a whole.
I explained the concept to her and she was enthusiastic to do it with me. “Let us visualize it together,” I said. We did this.
Once again I asked patiently whether there were any remaining problems. I was expecting and fully prepared for more objections.
She thought again, in her mind, reviewing all the aspects of the problem, and then with a sigh of a relief said: “We are done. That will be all.”
“Are you sure?” I prodded. “I am,” she said. “I feel at peace and very satisfied that we have helped all those people heal. It is painful for me to watch how others suffer. I have suffered so long. I always go to church and pray for everyone being nice to each other. “
And that was it. The last page of the story was closed in her mind. Her inner reality was respectfully acknowledged and re-framed. She came out triumphant and empowered. And with the burning sensation gone, there was no reason any longer to revisit that situation. We never discussed whether or not her original story was a delusion.
Additional Observations on Mary’s Story
Some months later I met with a friend who is a clinical psychologist. Excitedly, I told him Mary’s story, and he asked me whether I had confirmed the success of the treatment by having the client acknowledge that she was delusional and that the “situation with the secret police” had never happened. I was shocked to find out that that was the part of the formal psychological evaluation protocol for assessing the success of a treatment. My criteria for success were that Mary had a sense of resolution and no longer had any compulsion to live and act from her secret police story. Given the nature of the treatment and the connection of trust that we had built with each other; telling her that all along I had never believed her story would have only damaged her.
Earlier in this article I mentioned how years ago along my journey of the exploration of mental illness, I came across the book “The Stormy Search for Self” by Stanislav Grof. His transpersonal approach made me begin asking the charged question: if I do not view psychotic symptoms as an illness, how can I interpret the story of a paranoid person within a different context? Yet even in Dr. Grof’s view, when symptoms are caused by some organic change in the brain due to illness of physical trauma, the psycho-spiritual approach is not an appropriate course of treatment. With the advance of subtle energy therapies, Mary’s recovery challenges even that exclusion.
And here’s a word of warning to psychiatrists asking clients whether they have been 'cured.' I continued working with Mary to resolve remaining manifestations of her schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and mood problems. Once these symptoms stabilized as well, I asked her if I should talk to her psychiatrist in order to re-evaluate her diagnosis, so that she would no longer be considered to have schizophrenia. She became alarmed. She asked me not to make any contacts with her doctor, because any change in diagnosis would mean she would lose her disability benefits. She was willing to walk away from her delusions, but not from public assistance.
The Biological Energy Field (BioField)
In the right hands, and in the context of shared reality, psychotherapy and healing are poetry and art, a magical journey for both the therapist and the client. Still, the path of exploration and re-framing is as much science as poetry and art.
To enter this exploration with the client, to navigate the non-ordinary realities that take them outside the insulating membrane of the conventional reality, we need a wider vocabulary. In my book “Energetic Boundaries – The New Paradigm for Effortless Healing,” I propose that we need a better understanding of what happens with physical and psychological trauma. As a practitioner coming from the engineering/energetic/intuitive paradigm I am acutely aware that current psychological understandings are incomplete because psychotherapy is missing the interface between biological science, quantum field physics and spirituality and conventional medicine is missing the psychological in addition to missing all the rest of these levels. My understanding of these matters is supported by a growing body of research (Benor, 2001a; 2001b) and by the clinical experience in my own practice and the practices of healer colleagues. In a universe where the ultimate truth of Newton’s theories have been augmented by quantum fields, it should not be surprising that there is an energy field surrounded by an insulating energetic membrane that is an observable reality, not just a metaphor for people's psychological personal boundaries. This energetic boundary, which is shaped and regulated by consciousness on all levels of a person's being and according to universal rules and principles (Cohen,2007) is a starting point for exploring the regulating function of the information flow exchange in human interactions and experiences.
On a quest to craft a master theory of reality, adding energy field membranes to the equation offers us what we have been hoping for - a way to understand why the reality we experience appears to us the way it does. Mathematician and psychologist G. Spencer Brown (1969), makes the claim that to enter into a relationship with the universe or any part of it, we need to define those relationships by means of clear boundaries. That is how we become aware of things and chose what we want to interact with. In discerning the boundaries between the inner world and the outer world, boundaries allow us to see deeper into the ways those worlds interrelate.
During the course of the past century we have made significant advances in understanding the bewildering complexity of how the physical body works. We had confined our attentions to our physical body only, since it is dense enough to be visible to the eye, and since it can be measured and tested reliably with physical and electronic instruments.
Our new vocabulary will outline that we have a physical body and a subtle energy body marked by an energetic membrane and that they are both equally real. One of them you can see, one you may not be able to see at first, but it is a physical reality and you can learn to see it with practice. The moment you even realize that the structure of your energetic body is there, your healing journey begins.
In 1994 the National Institute of Health adopted the new term 'biofield' to describe this subtle energy field that extends out from the body. In fact, all living things are surrounded by an energy field. Bruce Lipton (2005) writes that “all organisms, including humans communicate and read their environment by evaluating energy fields.”
As yet, practitioners in the fields of medicine, biology and mental health, and even in my own field of energy healing, do not have a definition for the human energy field as a functional organic membrane. It is fascinating to note that this bioenergy field is something that even those who know it is there are still struggling to describe and define. I want to explain more about this important anatomic structure that is still hidden and mostly unacknowledged by mainstream medicine, but which I find is a crucial concept in treatment of psychotic disorders and other psychiatric symptoms
The first step in research is to define the question(s) we are addressing. So what is the energy field and how do we maintain a healthy protective membrane?
In its compact form, the energy field typically spans the space defined in proportion to the size of one's outstretched arms as in the well-known drawing by Leonardo De Vinci - “Study of the human figure after the Vetruvious."
This famous drawing of the encircled human figure of da Vinci has been widely popularized. We find it on covers of books and magazines, various illustrations, artwork, and even personal business cards. However, little is known regarding the meaning behind this drawing. I will take on the role of a psycho-energetic Galileo and propose that in this rendering of the Vitruvius’ image, the symbolism conveys deep and complex information.
Just as the earth is no longer flat, the circle that inscribes a man in the drawing is not merely two-dimensional. It is more then a statement of the proportions of the human body. It is, in fact, a three dimensional, spherical energetic structure that defines the space of a person’s biological energy field ('biofield') surrounding our body. For the most part, the deeper significance of this circle around the body has been missed.
Many healers and medical intuitives, including prominent teachers in the field such as Donna Eden and Carolyn Myss state that a fully functional biofied spans the distance of a person's outstretched arms. A stick figure with outstretched arms surrounded by a circle is a logo for the Carolyn Myss's website. In my personal healing work and in the experience of my clients and students, the energetic membrane is actually at the edge of the field and found at just that distance. You can experience it directly as well with various exercises and practice using energy restructuring techniques (Cohen 2007).
The energy field is both personal and universal. It is essentially what gives us life. Bruce Lipton has demonstrated how a cellular membrane is essential to intercellular communication. In my book, I show that the energetic membrane of the energy field is a structural and functional equivalent of a cellular membrane. Using energy restructuring methodology, we can identify and describe how energetic pathways work.
The energetic membrane is structurally semi-permeable. It enables the energy field to absorb and metabolize energy, maintain coordinated operation with physiological systems in the body, communicate with other fields, and to engage in appropriate protective responses to external stimuli. The energetic membrane of our field is a structure that controls in a very practical way how we can monitor and measure what we observe in life and how we influence and regulate our interactions. It can be thought of as a mechanism through which energy information flows.
According to the conventional perspective, we perceive the world through the physical senses of seeing, hearing, smell, taste and touch. These mechanisms of perception, through the five sensory factors, explained solely as functions and structures of the nervous system and the mind, have been well identified in physiological and neurological research, However these are only part of the story, since “conventional researchers have completely ignored the role that energy plays in health and disease.” Lipton (2005)
The new conceptual framework I am very briefly summarizing here describes how we have an even greater capacity to perceive the outside world through the “invisible” function and structure of our energetic membrane. The time has come to recognize that our experiences are shaped through the complex interactions of interdependent energy fields and not just through the mechanisms of the mind and the brain. Up to now, tracking our experiences through the energetic lenses has been the road much less traveled. Yet you simply cannot understand human experiences without understanding the power and intelligence of the human biofield.
Using this new framework, I will also consider briefly some of the ways in which trauma affects the biofields. I will illuminate a path of energetic field integration to offer insights into the remarkable responses achieved in the course of 25 years of working with hundreds of people with disorganized and confused senses of reality (a number of whom were formally diagnosed as schizophrenics), enabling them to relinquish their psychotic symptoms.
Trauma and illness can strip away the energetic membrane and leave an organism diminished and vulnerable. It also will alter and distort perceptions of reality and leave one plunged in the strange world of voices, hallucinations and greatly exaggerated forms. These are the telltale symptoms that a client’s energy field and membrane have been compromised due to their inability to regulate energy information flow.
I need to make it very clear that I do not believe that simply taking medication and thinking rational thoughts always leads to cures of psychosis. We need more than just positive thinking or pharmaceuticals to achieve control of our body, our thought process and our life.
Mainstream psychology and psychiatry have not explored these bioenergetic mechanisms and structures with the passion with which they pursue new drugs. That is unfortunate because there is scientific evidence that energy-signaling mechanisms are many times more efficient in relaying environmental information then physical chemical signals transmitted via biological systems such as neurotransmitters and hormones (Mc Clare 1974). We can begin to tailor psychotherapeutic models and develop mechanisms that alter cognition by modulating the energetic structures in the same way we modulate chemical structures with drugs.
The bioenergetic processes of healing involve restoring and repairing a client’s biofield and its energetic membrane. If you have no way to regulate your experience, you cannot change it. This second example supports the theory that energy restructuring methodology coupled with the shared acceptance of a client’s reality is effective in resolving schizophrenic symptoms as seen through the report of a client’s experience. This report demonstrates that you can take people with problems of psychosis, and by teaching them an awareness of the energy field techniques you can help them to control information flow in the framework of their experience of delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. The actual energy restructuring techniques practiced by this client can be found in my book (Cohen, 2007). When energetic intelligence is present, mental health is present as well.
Case Example 2. Living on both sides of the bioenergy membrane.
This is the report of a client resolving and controlling her psychotic symptoms, using energy restructuring principles for restoring the energy field membrane.
For better or for worse, 'Catherine Primavera,' a shy, thirty year old medical researcher with big soft brown eyes and dark black hair, was never given an actual official diagnosis after seeing a succession of doctors in a major US hospital where she worked at that time in a research department.
She became severely depressed after her divorce, when she found herself completely alone in this country. She signed up with a dating website and got connected to some weird people. In order to counteract their influences and to develop herself spiritually she began praying in synagogues and churches, taking yoga, and attending various spiritual workshops, which I believe advanced her dissociation and worsened her condition. Catherine was a very health conscious person, so there was no history of drug or alcohol abuse.
In my private practice as a healer and energy restructuring coach, my task is to bring people back into full integration, not to offer a diagnosis of mental illness. My purpose is to do quite the opposite – to assure these people that regardless of their symptoms or experiences, everything that has happened to them has a reason and a purpose, and a way to be healed. But if hard-pressed to give her experience a medical label – it would be a diagnosis related to schizophrenia.
According to traditional medical sources, people who are afflicted by this condition may believe that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. Catherine believed she was being energetically and psychically attacked at a distance by an individual, or possibly a group of people living in another state, whom she met through the internet dating site.
Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior, suggest to the person thoughts and ideas, tell them to do things, or warn the person of danger. Catherine’s head was full of voices of all of these sorts.
People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. That is because a person who struggles with this disorder sees, hears, smells, or feels what no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel. However, sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking and experiencing. Catherine was such a person. When I first met Catherine, she may have looked fine on the outside, except for the white hat that she was wearing at all times, but what she was saying and thinking and feeling sounded so out of touch with reality that it often challenged and stretched my own limits of comfort.
My first psychiatrist was recommended to me by my primary physician. The way this doctor looked at me and the way she questioned me, I knew that I could never tell her all the details of my story. I could not even attempt to explain that I have visions and hear voices. Because even when I started telling her that I was depressed she already could not give me any useful advice. I could see in her eyes that she had no idea what I was feeling, and that she was only pretending to understand. All she had were intellectual ideas but not a real authentic human connection. The best recommendation she came up with was for me to spend more time outside and socially. When I told her I was already active dancing and attending different workshops, it became clear that she could not help me at all.
I decided to research my next doctor and selected a psychiatrist who worked at an integrative medicine clinic in a leading US hospital. When he asked me about my background, I told him that I worked in a research position in a medical institution.
This time I thought that telling him some of my symptoms was safe. I told him
· I heard voices mostly when I was alone
· I had a sleeping disorder – I could not sleep because of voices.
· I started wearing all white because a spiritual teacher she studied with briefly told me
that white protects from outside interferences. I wore white even in bed at night.
· I also saw visions. I would sit on the bus, close my eyes – and there in my head would
be a voice and a picture that would come with it.
I did not tell him the main reason I thought I had those symptoms - A certain person whom I met through the internet, who I suspected was associated with a political group, all of whom were intent to harm me. They were committing an energetic crime against me, attacking me psychically and energetically from a distance. I had a burning sensation in my body - it felt like a fire was burning in my chest. But before I could tell him something like that, I wanted to see his response first to my symptoms of hearing voices and hallucinations. I decided to keep this story private till I could find a person I could really tell it too.
The doctor listened to me compassionately, but I do not believe that he took me seriously. If I had to speculate why he did not take my symptoms seriously, it would be because I was working for the research department of a medical institution. That had to be the reason. I would have to guess this – he just thought that with the “all white clothing” thing, I coming across more as a spiritual person, rather then a mentally sick person, perhaps as someone who could belong to a religions order. It also could be that what I told him just scared him. So he told me something like he was not doing things like that any longer and that was it.
Next I tried an energy healer who helped me with my nightmares. We would write down my dreams and analyzed them. That helped me with dreams but not the rest of my symptoms.
The healer referred me to another alternative psychiatrist who studied energy medicine and energy psychology. After she listened to my symptoms, she told me that there was a person who could help me, and suggested that I saw Yuliya.
When I came to see Yuliya I was so drained of energy. My head was full of voices, full of visions and full of sleeping disorder. So outside of work I was busy with that. I tried to occupy myself with other things, anything – dancing, yoga, workshops. Everywhere I went I was wearing a white hat, even all day at work. Wearing the hat helped me to concentrate and shield me from the voices.
I also started going to a synagogue and a church to pray. I was looking for anything that could help me. At the same time I began experiencing a sensation of burning in my brain and on top of the head. I was not sure if that happened from praying or because I had a serious infection
for which I had to take an antibiotic. It really hurt, it was burning so much.
So there I was feeling that somebody was talking in my head, and that something was moving around it and burning. It was very strange. One time I had a vision that a black worm was crawling in my head. I thought maybe that was my virus.
When I told my story to Yuliya, my first reaction was that I was no longer alone.
I told her that I saw blue lights, and she assured me that seeing energies is a gift. She explained that I can learn how to use this ability in a way that would strengthen and empower me. She gave me the book she wrote and told me to hold the book to see if I can tell what the energy of the book feels like to me and if it is something I would like to read. Right away I knew I was in the right place.
Yuliya could connect with me to the voices in my head. Her being able to do that had such a big impact on me. Because if she could connect to the voices I hear, and be a functional, normal person in her own life, then I can be too, with all my symptoms. It was very reassuring.
When this whole thing first started, I did not think that I was sick and no one told me I was. But at the same time I had no one with whom I could share the stories of what happened to me and all the symptoms I’ve experienced. I was so alone with all of this and that is what was so scary. But with Yuliya I trusted I could share, because not only did she understood what was happening to me, I was reassured that I was undergoing a spiritual crisis, and whatever was going on with me could be healed and re-framed by me in a reasonable, meaningful and empowering way.
Together we began exploring my inner reality, Most of the time I was surprised that she was pointing out things that I did not think were the source of my problem.
First of all, I was caught up in straightening out things with all those people who I felt were persecuting me. Yuliya did not disbelieve my story. Instead, Yuliya explained to me that at this point in my life it was more important to rebuild my own energy and state of well being, rather then to deal with global, political, or psychological views and intrigues of others.
Before I met Yuliya I thought that the voices and the messages in my head were really important and it was essential that I continually investigate their meaning. When I began working with Yuliya, I realized for the first time that I did not have to understand everything that the voices tell me. Yuliya told me I can ignore them, at least for the time being, till I heal. She taught me to place more importance on what my body and my feelings were telling me, not on what I was told by external sources, whether real or imaginary. It was more important to find a connection to my own inner voice. She explained that the information that can be fed to me is endless, and one can go crazy because you can never get all of it. Instead we need to start with giving importance to the simple realities of life, - how you sleep and eat, and how you communicate with people.
She explained that this happened because the energy field membrane that surrounds and protects me got damaged and stopped functioning. During the healing sessions and when I started to apply the basic energy restructuring techniques she taught me for restoring and rebuilding my energy field and restore functioning of my membrane, I started to feel more protected at night and in my dreams, because even on the deeply subconscious level, I started feeling protected.
What was really amazing was the shared connection that Yuliya and I established. It was with me not only during the session, but also during the rest of the time. Even in my dreams I felt that she was there by my side, protecting me. I could feel it as energies that in my mind were representative of Yuliya. Gradually, I started to reconnect with my own dreams, not delusions or hallucinations. This is very important to me. Dreams are private, and need to be mine.
I learned that I can stay protected in my energy field. I understood I do not have to project out of it to investigate the voices and the energies that were trying to interfere with me. I realized I was projecting a lot. With time my energy became so integrated even on the subconscious level, that staying in my energy field started happening automatically.
We also found out the source of my condition. I was surprised to discover that all that happened to me was connected to a divorce from my husband and separation from his family.
I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship with my husband, a scientist. He kept taking me to see the movie The Beautiful Mind for me to watch and he was telling me – look, no matter what I do, I am not doing so badly compared to John Nash, the character in the movie. He and his family were consistently putting me down. In addition, sometimes he forced me to have sex with him even when I did not want to or was just too exhausted to do anything. He never took no for an answer. Sometimes I would take a blanket, lock myself in a bathroom and sleep in the bathtub. Yuliya helped me realize the full impact and consequence on his abuse on my energetic well-being.
Finally one time he hit me and I fell down the stairs while my sister vas visiting, That was a final straw and I left.
Somehow, I always had a belief that if something happens in my life, the trauma is not accidental, but an opportunity to change myself, and explore new possibilities.
That is why I was not scared of what was happening to me. But, when you start on that path of exploration in the middle of a crisis, it is good to know the way, and the rules, and most importantly, have reliable guidance. Otherwise you can quickly get derailed along the way.
When I saw Yuliya, I knew I had found the guidance I was looking for. The main thing about Yuliya’s approach to energy restructuring is that she addresses my problems on all levels. My whole being was met and integrated - body and soul.
Using her system I am integrating all the levels of my being – my beliefs, my feelings, my health, my interests. With my integration, the majority of my symptoms are gone now. The heavy headaches, the heavy pressure I felt on my shoulders, the burning sensation in my head and my chest, the voices in my head almost completely disappeared.
There was one session I will never forget. I remember coming home and sleeping so safely, so soundly, as if I was back in my body fully after a long, long time. I was a very warm and welcoming feeling.
When a crisis like this happens it is very important to integrate everything, not just the symptoms. But when you go to a hospital and see a psychiatrist they only see a part of you that is unwell based on your symptoms. This does not give the stimulus to move forwards towards self-growth. I think these doctors need both support and help themselves to realize that there are all these other levels to a human dimension.
I understand now, that no matter what happens, you must remain yourself, you must hold on to your energy. Otherwise all the explorations are meaningless. You have to know yourself and stay yourself.
Now I am more confident with myself, protected and positive. That made me more open to people, and less afraid.
When Catherine came to see me she was looking for a practitioner with whom she could feel safe to share all her symptoms and who could be accepting of her reality, while offering an alternative framework for her experiences and symptoms of energetic fragmentation. She was seeking relief from her sleeping disorder, and tools for being able to have control of the voices, visions, and intrusive energies.
My goals included:
1. I had to establish a shared connection with Catherine in order to begin exploring her inner reality.
2.Together, we had to uncover the root causes of her condition. In the course of treatment Catherine gradually discovered the full impact of the underlying cause of her psycho-spiritual crisis: the ongoing emotional and physical abuse in her marriage and subsequent divorce, as well as the earlier separation from her original family members who still resided in another country.
3. I needed to assist Catherine in the energetic restructuring of her energy field and repairing of her energetic membrane, by employing and teaching her energy restructuring techniques. Having a healthier energy field allowed her to monitor and regulate her interactions and experiences.
4. Catherine needed help to focus on her own body and her life, and to achieve clearer choices and desires, The insulating function of the healthier energy field and its membrane moved her into an easier space of comfort and a safer sense of personal presence – as her symptoms began to shift and resolve. She learned how to find the inner voice that arises within her own energetic space and her own senses.
In the process of her healing on multiple levels of her being, Catherine learned that the experiences of seeing, feeling and even hearing energies, were not obstacles but gifts that were doorways into her spiritual development. She began to view her symptoms as a form of energetic intelligence she could employ for her own benefit, to strengthen her family connections and to navigate through life challenges.
The bioenergy field provides a protective scaffolding within which the re-framing process can take place. Catherine discovered how to use her energetic membrane to shield herself from unwanted energetic influences, to shut out external voices and visions, and to regulate stressors in her work environment. Enveloped by her energetic membrane, her senses were more protected during the day and in her dreams, both on conscious and subconscious levels.
To give you a better sense of practical applications of this framework, below is an example from a session with Catherine. It describes how we used the concept of a protective function of the energetic membrane to re-frame her experiences and shut off voices and intrusive energetic influences.
I asked Catherine how she had been doing.
She responded, “I feel there is an external energetic influence pulling on my energy, pulling me out from the left side of my body. I even have a pain in my heart and tightness on the left side from the pull. When I pay attention to it I also hear some messages, some names,”
“So what is your experience when it happens?” I asked.
“Like I said, there is this sense of pulling by an external intrusive energy source,” she explained emphatically.
“OK, what I am actually asking you is to describe to me your inner process. When you are experiencing this pull, how do your respond to it. What is your immediate first reaction to the sensation of the pull? Could you please clarify this for me?”
“When I sense the pull, I wonder what is this energy that is pulling on me, what is it about? I guess I am looking for the source of the pull and the meaning of the message. So I start instinctively looking and searching for an explanation of what is manipulating me.
“Ok, that is the answer I was looking for. I want you to realize that in the world of energetic membranes, this search for the meaning is what will engage you in the pull. It makes you vulnerable, because you become preoccupied with the search. You end up reaching outside your energetic membrane towards that pull for an answer.
Instead, I would like you to say, "I need to put my curiosity on hold. The answer is not the most important thing for me right now, neither is the source of the pull. At some point in the future I may decide to investigate the meaning and the source of the pull, and that investigation will yield the understanding I seek, but not now. It is more important now that my energy is not pulled outside of my membrane. That is the single most important thing for me right now for my health. I am disengaging form my investigation, so that all the energy invested in the question gets pulled back into my energy field and becomes available to me.
I added, "And one more thing: since this is a world of interactive energy fields, imagine that in the process of disentanglement, the source of your pull is being contained within the membrane of its own energy field.”
Catherine took my advice and employed energy restructuring techniques to disengage mentally and energetically from the perceived pull. Immediately, she felt a warm rush of energy re-integrating throughout her body, and her body relaxed as the tension melted away. That was her clue that this approach worked.
“I can feel the difference,” She confirmed. “I had not realized there was such a cost. I hadn’t looked at it in the way you presented it to me. I do tend to engage in analysis. After all, it is part of my work as a medical research analyst. But I agree, it is very important for me to get well and I can reach an agreement with myself to stop analyzing these pulls.” She smiled.
During our next session, I inquired if she was still experiencing the pull.
“Oh, that.” she said, ”No it stopped. I did as you told me. I said to myself, 'It does not matter where it is coming from. Don't give me the story. Don't give me the picture. Don't give me any names. I don't care why it is there. I don't care how it got there. I no longer care about what it is trying to tell me. I just want my energy to get pulled back inside my membrane and not be consumed by external influences. I also imagined the source of the influence to be contained within the membrane of its own energy field, just like you told me. It was as if I had put a blindfold on it”
In all our communications, be they real or 'imaginary voices,' we struggle to resist being controlled by others. An energetic membrane is an essential concept for understanding much of what occurs in our world, and a great facilitator in our lives because it offers us such control and protection.
The dimensions and processes that have been described so far honor the perceptions and needs of clients. As a result, I found most of my clients willing and able to engage with me in this process, where we develop a common language to which it is easy for them to subscribe because they are trying to make the situation feel right and be comfortable. They also feel safe that I am being on the same wavelength with them.
To sum it up: We see the world as we are. When Catherine changed her paradigm, her whole world changed. The concept of the protective energetic membrane allowed Catherine to control her behaviors and her experiences. Changing the state of her energy field changed how her mind worked and presumably also altered how her brain functioned. No longer swept by paranoid thoughts or external influences, she regained her normal sleep patterns, her peace of mind, her energy and the quality of her social interactions. As her thoughts came in harmony with the new paradigm of energy restructuring principles, she learned to focus her curiosity on matters of energy and spirituality toward developing a relationship with her own healthier energy field – rather than struggling with understanding, regulating and controlling those factors which were external to her energy field.
In experiencing life we do what I call 'template matching' with our energetic state. In this process, we rewrite our neural programming dynamically and continually. It is important for our health and wellbeing to shift our energy field states toward positive, life-generating states and perceptions – as we eliminate ever-present, debilitating energy-draining states. We need to assist our clients on this journey by helping them to re-frame and re-structure their experiences, no matter how our clients perceive or present them.
Medicine today is at a verge of an immense change. A new trend is emerging – the convergence of western and complementary approaches. The new shift will inevitably bring about a change in the way mental disturbances are viewed and diagnosed. We will become aware that what may seem like distinct conditions, coded through grouping of symptoms and distinct labels of diagnosis, are simply conveniences of classification, and not necessarily accurate reflections of some hardwired truths. I say this because in the inner world and experience of the clients and in the mind of the healers who view these conditions as a crisis of the soul and a form of energetic fracturing there exists no such chasms, and the boundaries between what seem like unrelated conditions blend and dissolve. What has been pathologized as disease is actually psychological and spiritual dis-ease. In fact, progressive neuroscientists are starting to propose that as we move towards integrative and holistic approach to diagnosis, we will begin to view the DSM as a manual of non-integrated states rather then as distinct disease conditions.
This brings us to a consideration of a differential diagnosis. How does one distinguish a person with schizophrenia from a person with a paranoid personality disorder, or someone who has an organic brain disorder? The last one is easy, since when there is a history of viral or bacterial brain infection or of brain injury, the physical affect on the body has to be addressed and resolved. Residues of such infections and traumas may persist as psychological disorders. To the extent that organic trauma is no longer a lingering issue, the mental issues of hallucinations or delusions can be addressed exactly in the same fashion, regardless of diagnosis, but based on the state of their intuitive/psychic awareness and timeframe of the trauma that precipitated their emotional crisis.
Basically, in my healing work I look for a timeline when and to what extent the energetic fragmentation took place. Interestingly enough, several of my friends and renowned teachers who are 'natural psychics and medical intuitives,' had either birth trauma, or were born prematurely, or both. Two of them were left to die in the hospital – one was saved by her mother, another by a passing nurse. For other people this connection may open up through a near death experience later in their life, or with a spiritual crisis related to some life trauma.
The way I see it, the person's inner perception of reality changes, either through an illness or a crisis. Once this happens, the safety membrane (psychological and energetic) that separates them from the multidimensional nature of reality is altered. Their experience can be re-framed though never really forgotten. And that is where spirituality comes in: you teach people how to integrate their expanded world and restore the safety. Both Groff and Timothy Leary pierced those states of reality intentionally during their LSD experiments. That is how these renowned therapists gained their personals insights into the multidimensional nature of reality. Since I personally was never in favor of such drug experimentation, I have chosen a more arduous path of dedicated spiritual training. It has a clear advantage, since it allowed me to explore outside my energetic membrane, to enter and navigate many aspects of alternative realities at will. My clients continually help me to expand those dimensions as I join them on their explorations.
Summary and Conclusions
The field of psychotherapy came to accept the basic notion that what happens to schizophrenic clients is not normal or real. As a result, in psychotherapy there has always been a major emphasis on working to help clients give a full account of their inner reality in words, pictures or other symbolic representations, to admit they were delusional and to regain a full grasp of 'normal' (i.e. conventional consensual) reality.
This presents a challenge. On one hand, you do not want to promote clients’ delusions. On the other hand, by not accepting and supporting their story, you deny their reality. You need to engage your creativity to take them from where they are to a point of resolution.
Simple guidelines for helping people with their schizophrenic symptoms
· Let them tell you about their experience and symptoms.
· Do not try to always make conventionally rational sense of what they tell you. It is more important to re-frame the story, whatever the story happens to be.
· Ask them what is their concern.
· Ask them why it is so important.
· Listen carefully and gain as much detailed information as possible from what they tell you.
· Everything they report to you is a useful pointer in the right direction for integration and resolution.
· Tell them that everything they experience has a reason and a solution.
What clients want and need
I found the majority of my clients to be very spiritual and extremely sensitive people. Underlying their often bizarre stories lie deep concern for community, and for fairness and honesty in interpersonal relationships.
They want an acknowledgement that you can witness their beliefs and inner experiences, and you can validate these by re-framing them as expressions of deeper truths. Any reference to conventional rationality makes them feel wrong. If you come to see their experience as a problem, then all you will be dealing with is a set of problems, rather than with the person who has the problems.
Make it flow
As mentioned above, I have a very unusual background for an energy therapist. My earlier studies were in computer science and before that, in heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineering. So in a sense I am an energy plumber/engineer. This accounts for my practical approach to the process of story resolution. Because, if a toilet is stuck – how important really are all the details of what’s stuck in it and how it looks? You know what it is; it can look pretty bad, but an exploration of every last detail is not really that important. My main concern is to make everything flow again.
Simply recognize that there is a build-up of emotional pain, that this build-up makes their condition worsen, and that the symptoms are just as they are presented. Their pain says, “Why don’t you recognize what’s happening to me? There is truth to my story, to my experience that lies beyond the words, and I am expressing it through my story.”
“When another recognizes you,” writes Eckhart Tolle (2005) "the recognition draws the dimension of being more fully into this world through both of you."
If you can open your eyes to inner dimensions of your client’s reality, you can open the door that keeps them trapped in their story. So be prepared to stay open and centered regarding any problems you are presented with. It will challenge your limits. It will test your faith. But in the end it will make YOU grow.
Through the process of creative resolution and re-framing your client’s inner reality, you yourself will begin to explore the multidimensional nature of our very essence as human beings. As you strengthen your client’s sense of self, you will also expand your own sense of who you are and what you can do.
It is believed that the nature of consciousness is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. The human race seems to be getting more empathetic and even more psychic. Many of us are having experiences that were previously thought to be the province of mystics or the mentally diseased. Many, like me, had to peek behind the curtain of our energetic safety membrane to gain awareness of non-ordinary states of consciousness, and to discover the most useful truths and insights into our clients' experiences.
I am encouraged that there is an ever increasing number of highly educated and scientifically trained seekers who cultivate a more expanded awareness of reality outside the traditional framework. This is the frontier of healing interventions. Learning about the distorting influence of the compromised energetic membrane, and the restorative power of a restructured, functional energy field on our internal programs and perceptions through which we see the world is a good first step in this direction
The more you work on that level and in that space on a daily basis, the more this principle becomes part of your reality. Wouldn't it be helpful if we were taught in school about the awareness of such profoundly important mechanisms that control the structure of our emotional interactions? Sadly, this subject has not, as yet, gained sufficient acceptance to be included in general public awareness, much less in school programs. The goal of my work is to pioneer that change.
Through these wise words of mystics the concealed symbolism of the energetic boundaries is revealed with a renewed sense of meaning:
There is a time for being ahead, a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous, a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe, a time for being in danger.
The Master sees all things as they are, without trying to control them.
He lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.
- Tao te Ching
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Yuliya L. Cohen (TDCE, BACS, ERT) is a healer, energy restructuring coach, alchemist, psychic and a spiritual teacher. She is the originator of the Energy Restructuring System of effortless healing. Formerly an engineer and computer science researcher, she is a founder of Energy Restructuring Institute.She is an author of "Energetic Boundaries – The New Paradigm for Effortless Healing" and an upcoming book “The Four Gates To Recovery: The Forgotten path of Returning to Wholeness from PTSD, Anxiety and Panic Disorder
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