©2002 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
When you are committed to flower essences as an adjunct to healing
long-standing difficulties, the process may take quite a while. Childhood
wounds like abuse, the loss of a parent, or growing up in an alcoholic family
leave a heritage of complex and deep-seated life patterns. In order to survive
backgrounds like these, individuals develop defensive emotional and behavioral
responses that over time create problems of their own.
Not just one but many
crucial arenas of life can be impacted -- self-esteem, intimate relationships, and
career may all become areas that survivors of such experiences struggle with
for years. Catastrophic experiences in adulthood like rape, domestic violence, or the loss
of a child can also cast long shadows on our lives.
It stands to reason that complex difficulties like these
require more than a bottle or two of flower remedies to resolve.
Flower remedies are not a quick fix; they are a catalyst for
change and growth. When the problems are serious ones, flower remedies may
be a helpful adjunct to counseling, self-help programs, bodywork and energy
healing rather than a stand-alone method.
When severe problems with potentially serious consequences are
involved, it would be important to work with an experienced
flower remedy practitioner -- hopefully one with a mental health
background -- rather than trying to self-prescribe. The anxious
mother of a self-destructive teen, for instance, is in no position
to choose essences for that young person. The objectivity is not
there, for one thing, and for another, it is typical in such
situations for the teen to conceal from Mom what they are
really feeling and doing. Similarly, individuals immersed
in the tumultuous emotional crisis that ensues when they confront a history of
incest for the first time generally can't choose remedies for themselves with clarity.
In healing longstanding wounds, it is typical for layer after layer of issues
and their attending emotional components to come up. As the remedies address one
symptom, a deeper level of difficulty may emerge which the original symptom was
covering up, or was developed in order to keep it under control. Individuals
who do not understand the layering principle may stop doing remedies in the
impression that they are now worse off than when they began. After all, the
underlying layer was held down because it was even less acceptable than the symptom.
Many times, in fact, a symptom is just a misguided attempt to solve another,
deeper problem. In est, they used to say, "Your problem is just
a solution to another problem." Most symptoms don't go
away until the deeper need is addressed. For instance,
some people complain that they are lazy or that they procrastinate,
and looking at the symptom only, you
might think of FES's Tansy or Cayenne.
Maybe it isn't simple laziness, however. Maybe it comes from
a fear of failure (Bach's Larch),
low self-esteem (FES' Sunflower), or from
a paralyzing perfectionism (Bach's Beech or Rock Water). Maybe they've been so
down for so long that they've given up -- in such cases, Bach's Wild Rose, for apathy,
has produced amazing results.
Likewise, an ever-present, deadening fatigue may cover up a chronic, underlying anger.
If the underlying anger surfaces, the person who is self-prescribing may not see the
connection, but only wonder why they are suddenly blowing their stack all the time.
An experienced practitioner, however, would be able to help pinpoint underlying issues
and suggest remedies that would address them, moving the healing process along to
the next stage.
The rageaholic, on the other hand, may be using anger compulsively in order to avoid
feeling fear or vulnerability. Let us suppose that a chronically angry person is given
remedies like Bach's Impatiens, for impatience and irritability, or Bach's Willow,
for those who are consumed with resentments and who enjoy nursing a grudge.
is a comfort zone, it may be quite overwhelming to suddenly be inundated with the
anxiety that might lie beneath such patterns. As it emerges, the habitually
angry person might be tempted to run to a doctor for a prescription for panic attacks.
Still, an essence practitioner might suggest trying a dosage bottle of Bach's Aspen
first before going on medication.
Aspen is for anxiety of unknown origin and fear of "I know not what". After
taking Aspen, the real cause of the anxiety may come to surface. Perhaps the
person is afraid of being vulnerable or even has an irrational fear of death. As
the exact nature of the fear is revealed, the practitioner would suggest remedies
to address that issue. As you can see, healing troublesome longstanding patterns
can mean layer after layer of causes to sort out, and an experienced practitioner
can help the person see the relationships between the layers.
Another remedy that often brings up a hidden layer is Bach's Clematis, for the space
cadets who go around in a mental haze much of the time. I'm always careful about suggesting it,
because it is often the case that they are spaced out for very good reasons having to do with a
past trauma or some ongoing current situation. They may be trying to avoid confronting a
backlog of feelings about childhood wounding. They may be living in a fog in order to cope
with an unbearable but possibly karmic circumstance like caring for a bedridden but
In short, they may very well be spaced out as a coping mechanism, and if it
were taken away, what would they have to replace it? Thus, before giving Clematis,
I inquire carefully about their support systems. Not every person who fits the
picture of Clematis is one of the walking wounded, of course, but enough of them
are that I have become very cautious. They might even be suffering from Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder, in which case psychiatric help could be needed.
Some problems are so serious and potentially life-threatening that no responsible
practitioner would try to handle them with essences alone, for they require the joint
efforts of many disciplines. Alcoholism and other addictions or compulsions are a
Addictions may develop for any number of complex reasons. They may
begin as a way to numb out the grief of a devastating loss. Others drink in order
to live with an unbearable situation like a bad marriage they feel trapped in or
to keep on going to work every day at a job they hate but must keep doing in order
to feed their family.
If you have concluded from reading this that essence therapy is no simple
matter, you are correct. When dealing with longstanding, serious problems,
there are many complexities to consider, and that is where experience and knowledge
about the many layers of our psyche come in. Still, that complexity is part of the
fascination essence work has held for me over the years -- you never know what lies
below the surface and what will emerge next. I am a mystery lover, and people are
my favorite mysteries.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Cunningham, MSW, is one of the editors of Vibration and has many years
of experience in both flower remedies and astrology. For links to more of her articles,
visit her Frequent Contributor's Page.
ART CREDITS: The animated tile comes from
ART-TLC. The other tiles and the treatment were
created by Word of Mouth Web Design.
Flower photos from Art Today.
The World Wide Essence Society does not mean to imply any recommendation of nor give certification to any individuals or companies above. This article is provided purely for informational purposes. We ask consumers to make their own determination as to quality of the services and products offered above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.