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I have retired from my practice but the following is advice on how to seek an alternative healer.

Leap Of Faith is an essay published in my book An Open Mind

LEAP OF FAITH     

by Erin Lassell

Sincerity or Narcissism? 

A person possessing narcissism often looks alluring and powerful. They can easily be mistaken for someone with actual special powers.  They invite by their presence, the suspension of disbelief and usually have just enough information to make them dangerous.  Once possessed by the charm of a narcissist, critical thinking is subdued and the delicate balance in life between faith and logic is overridden by seduction. The challenge in seeking help in an unaccredited healing field is that you are looking for a skillful healer in a profession of unaccountability.  Unaccredited healing fields can be advanced by sincere practitioners truly seeking to further information in their field or they can be a place of refuge from accountability and a field to foster a supernatural persona.  Alternative healing fields can be a means to produce wonderful selfless exchanges of information but they can also produce a niche for narcissistic personalities to exploit innocent seekers.

It is difficult to avoid the trappings of a narcissistic healer and leader because in addition to being without monitoring they can look and feel like a real healer for a long time.  We can feel elated in their presence and have a feeling like we are finally on the right track.  Caught in narcissism’s grasp you likely won’t notice that your logic has gradually been replaced with blind faith. 

Balancing Faith and Logic 

Faith based healing arts are still in their infancy, at least in the United States.  They are now and always have been open to anyone that wants to call themselves special and hang out a shingle.  I started studying metaphysics in 1976 and have been in professional practice since 1986.  Since that time I have met many healers, some very gifted and unique and some seeking recognition without accomplishment.  My path has been lined with people who have declared themselves shaman healers after taking one class in their first ever healing course and many talented people looking to advance the credibility of their chosen field.  But as a consumer there is no governing body to help you know the difference.  Is it sincerity or is it narcissism?

No one can copyright the sincere gift of healing.  It is left open for infinite definition for all time.  But your experience with a healer will tell you if you have chosen well or if you need to reevaluate.  Metaphysics attracts people who want to be considered special without having accomplished anything in particular.  Metaphysics is unique in this way.  So if you are seeking faith based healing you are traveling in an area where a healer might know just enough to make you trust them, just enough to make them dangerous. If this is true your relationship with that person will eventually show itself.  You will find yourself supporting the healer more than the actual healing.  The results will not justify the emotional attachment to the healer.  Promises will remain unfulfilled and results will remain unattained. 

Without faith based healing our society would be missing the very soul of our being.  We would be missing the pulse of our spiritual lives and our connection to ourselves and that which is larger than ourselves.  The very premise of our spiritual existence would be empty.  But faith by definition suspends critical thinking and for a moment in time, when you enter into this kind of trust, you are very vulnerable.  After your initial leap of faith, make sure that critical thinking and logic return to balance out your experience with all healing.  Even faith based healing that initially requires a leap of faith is also in the end a delicate dance between faith and logic.  

Mainstream Accountability 

In most cases when picking a mainstream professional, concrete examples exist with which to compare the service we have chosen with an established guide.  This helps us know whether we are on the receiving end of a knowledgeable expert or an ineffectual novice.  Combining the experiences of people that have come before us and our own perceptions, we can judge the accuracy of the exchange of information and therefore the healing.

In mainstream occupations most professionals have to abide by orthodox rules that keep them accountable and responsible both to a governing body and to the recipient of their services.   The educational accomplishments professionals have to attain to maintain mainstream legitimacy may have meant a lot of hard work and an occasional “hoop” to jump through, but it helps to legitimize their career and conversely protect the consumer.  Because mainstream professionals have education to seek, boards of accountability to join and reputations to uphold, the public is proportionally sheltered from the possibility of incompetence.  

Questioning Alternative Authority 

Alternative healing is becoming more and more popular.  “Alternative” means healing art methods unverifiable by current scientific methods (energy healing, clairvoyance, hypnotherapy, rapid eye movement, muscle testing, herbal medicine, homeopathy, prayer etc).  The uncertainty of these methods automatically requires the recipient to temporarily suspend logic. But while initially making a leap of faith and suspending logic to see if these methods heal the heart of the matter, it is important that the recipient’s logic does not remain in suspension for long.   

Give yourself permission to step outside the allure of the alternative healer and question their authority.  Use discernment and critical thinking to evaluate the skillfulness of the method and the healer. Mainstream professional services differ from alternative services.  While they may require trust, they do not, by definition, require a leap of faith. Someone is either offering you a valid service and information in exchange for money, or not.  But when the service we are seeking is faith based and therefore by definition requires a leap of faith, the consumer becomes exponentially more vulnerable.  With the exception of some clergy, faith based service providers are not required to seek education of any kind and cannot answer to a governing body that does not exist. 

Because faith based healing is unsupervised and open to anyone who says they are an authority you are alone with the question of who is an expert and who is undereducated.  Many faith based healers may mean well, but have little education or experience. Even practitioners who combine their classical education with alternative healing may have a wall full of mainstream credentials, but surprisingly little education in alternative healing.
 
In the beginning of your relationship with an alternative healer, in the moment in time where you are initially suspending disbelief and waiting for results, be careful not to romanticize the practitioner.  Keep critical thinking switched on and remember that being swept off your feet is different than being healed.      

Faith 

Faith is a wonderful thing.  Life as we know it wouldn’t exist if we didn’t embrace the unexplainable and intangible. And the fact that faith can never be governed by mainstream rules is part of its power and beauty.  It can never be captured in a physical form.  It is an intangible feeling of the soul that weaves in and out of the everyday fabric of our lives providing hope and security. Pursuits of faith are necessary for our souls to grow and our minds and bodies to heal.  Mainstream logic doesn’t gives us permission or guidance to look for faith based options but our built-in spiritual homing device, trying to find ourselves and find our way home, quietly calls us to search anyway.

It is our faith that provides us with inspiration and great expectation.  It pushes us to search for healing and growth we never thought we could accomplish. But while faith leads us to realize our dreams, logic must be its natural counterbalance to prevent faith from turning to whimsy.    

COMMON WARNING SIGNS: 

Metaphysical Clichés: Buzz phrases like “everything happens for a reason” and “you create your own reality” have been popular in the metaphysical culture for decades, but they have no real meaning.  If a practitioner uses these loose phrases it is likely they have picked them up in metaphysical conversations but do not necessarily coincide with information to help you heal.

Blaming the Victim: It is possible to draw harm to oneself.  But this happens a very low percentage of the time.  Most of the time when harm comes to you it is because you did not know how to protect yourself, not because you drew it to yourself.  As in other schools of thought, it is common in metaphysics to blames the victim rather than put the emphasis on healing from a wound that was imposed against your will.  If a practitioner blames the victim they are lacking empathy and do not have enough information to help you heal.

Avoiding Your Questions:
If you ask questions and the practitioner responds by saying “you’ll have to learn that for yourself” it is likely they do not know the answer.  There is nothing wrong with asking questions.  A healer’s job is also that of a mentor so that all lessons aren’t learned the hard way.  The natural process of learning what you need to for yourself will not be interfered with just because someone answers your questions.

Dependency As A Result of Apocalyptic Urgency:
As much as we would all like to heal immediately, it takes time.  Unless you are in imminent danger a healing situation should not be creating a sense of apocalyptic urgency.  This attitude from the practitioner can leave you with more anxiety and less self esteem than you originally came in with.  An unhealthy dependency is easily created in this environment of fear and ironically the longer you see the practitioner, the stronger the urgency becomes.  

PROACTIVE TIPS 
  
Trust Yourself: Use your intuition as well as your critical thinking.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Watch for Hidden Costs: Don’t pay hidden costs.  A practitioner should be up front with all of their prices.  If, after you have seen a healer, hidden costs arise, don’t agree to pay them.  Also, if a practitioner advises that you must buy a product only they sell, remember they are profiting from your purchase.

Stop Giving The Benefit Of The Doubt: If you are unsure about a healer try the following method.  When analyzing the healer, stop giving them the benefit of the doubt and then ask yourself what you think of your experience.  If you are making excuses for the person you have hired to help you, you are in the wrong place.

Please Yourself: It is not your job to please the healer.  Relationships often go on too long because you want to be a “good” client.  Keep in mind it is okay to end the relationship at any time and for any reason.  It is even okay to end it if things are unresolved.  Sometimes things end badly but it is still okay to move on.                    


 
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