Many essence makers and practitioners have thought deeply about the phenomenon of the healing crisis, which Rose Mattax discusses elsewhere in this issue. We wanted to present some of these ideas in a panel.
"A healing crisis is a moment of opportunity. It is usually accompanied by pain and discomfort and leads ultimately to profound awareness. Quite often it is a time when something surfaces from our unconscious, like a submarine surfacing from the depths of the sea.
"...During a healing crisis, we are faced with the opportunity to see something about ourselves that we may not like or that shocks or surprises us. It leads to the moment that we can embrace awareness and expand our sense of who we are. It is the stuff of which consciousness is made.
"For most of us, our first tendency when in pain or discomfort is to find someone or something on which to place the blame. On several occasions, I have had people tell me that their flower essence formula made them go through a difficult time. They want to blame the essences for their discomfort. Flower essences do not make something happen to us. They don't force a situation on us. Flower essences highlight, or help us see, something that is already happening within us. " (p.51)
Vibration's co-editor, Donna Cunningham adds:
"How you present the idea of a healing crisis to others is an important consideration. If you make it sound too hard, the person may not even start the remedy. Additionally, it is entirely possible to influence suggestible people into having a crisis, just for the sheer drama of it or because you told them they were supposed to have one. Many essence makers try to get around this possibility by couching their remedy descriptions only in terms of the positive results you gain from taking the essence, not the problems and issues you may be trying to address.
"Certainly, changing negative attitudes and expectations can be important in changing the type of experiences we attract. Still, pretending the phenomenon of a healing crisis doesn't exist can be a disservice to vulnerable folks who are then blindsided by it. Therefore, it is crucial to present the possibility of the healing crisis in a balanced way.
"I raise it as a possibility, while assuring them that not everyone goes through it. I stress that it is temporary and explain how and why it helps in the healing process. I give them examples from ordinary life like the good cry that makes you feel better or the spat that helps couples clear the air and begin handling friction better. I say, 'If you have any questions at all about how this is working, or if you experience any strong reactions, give me a call.' Armed with this kind of information, most people come through a healing crisis well and continue taking the remedy mixture until it has done its work."
Deborah Bier, Vibration Editor and maker of Whole Energy Essences, places the healing crisis and its renewal of old symptoms in the context of the practitioner's attitude:
"I like to tell clients that their symptoms are a way they have of communicating with themselves...the symptoms serve to get their attention about something which needs to be healed within. If every time we experienced disharmony we took action to immediately right ourselves, there would be much less need for us to create symptoms at all. But of course, we don't do that. It is in this way that people's symptoms themselves serve the purpose of putting them on the path of healing and growth."If I am able to help the person decode the suffering they are having into understandable text about their world experience, then they may come to be more inquisitive about and accepting of their symptoms and of themselves. However, it is not MY (or some other authority's) interpretation of what their symptoms mean that counts. It is the meaning the client attributes to their suffering that is the real teacher.
"Helping clients become aware of the messages within their symptoms is not the same as blaming them for their suffering. Such judgemental behavior can be common among practitioners, but actually works against our being fully human and present in the session. Because on some level and in many ways, we all suffer in the same manner. Compassion, gentleness, empathy -- and often a sense of humor -- are key to the proper practitioner attitude. To offer otherwise is to create new disharmony in both client and helper." (For more on blaming the victim, see Annabeth Meister's article elsewhere in this issue.)