Who is the healer?
Our clients are the conductors. We are both the audience and ready instruments. But our instrument does nothing unless the conductor raises the baton of consent and allows us to behold their musical composition. A place in their orchestra is not guaranteed. The show will still go on.
This isn't to discredit the wins by any means, it's to dismantle the idea that there is a healer outside of anyone's own body. A win is still a win. However, healing is a complex phenomenon we have no business taking credit for, as tempting as it may be sometimes.
We are helpers.
Though there is nothing magical about that idea, it is profoundly meaningful and humbling. When you think about the delicate nature of our work, it is a privilege when a client chooses one of us to help them. We are helpers.
Our job is to be like Joe. Druids are considered weird nowadays and incantations don't actually work (we should at least agree on that much if you're on this website), but it is genuinely cool and beneficial to lend a helping hand. That is what we do. I like to think we offer that very well.
I used to be mildly Type A-ish
- Type A: the martyr is prone to unhealthy self-punishment and will think something is broken when their "healing powers" don't do anything extraordinary. This leads into the lonely abyss of sacrificial lamb-ness and the fantasy that client's are somehow "draining" their precious energy reserves. Counter-transference much? Clean that up!
- Type Z: the delusional guy goes so far as to absurdly attribute ailments to obscure past life karma and/or resort to victim-blaming the client when his "healing powers" fail to work. Often it's to the tune of you're just not believing in my special powers enough (suuuure, nothing to do with being a total nut-job ).
No joke. I've actually heard things like, "he completely healed me of my of my past life whatever and then my headaches were gone". To which I say, that is a sweet illusion. You healed yourself by means of a belief. And that's awesome! But it is you who accomplished that.
Your "healer" only helped remind and convince you of your own healing capacity, somehow, at that moment. Hello placebo effect. And that surely does take a skill of some sort. Whatever that skill may be, however it may be applied, and the environment it is applied in is the art part. We have helping skills.
Certain arts will appeal-to-or-actually-help certain people often, sometimes, or not at all and that may very well be attributed solely to belief. It is indeed rewarding when someone believes in you enough to trust you with their discomfort and understand you will do your best to help them. No matter what the scenario, trust is sacred. I call that a humble-win-win.
It's not just semantics, it's just annoying
Paul Ingraham of PainScience.com addresses this exact point here and coins the term healer syndrome. He writes about it with such pointed accuracy that anyone, even self-proclaimed healers, would have a hard time denying it.
"I know a massage therapist here in Vancouver who actually refers to herself as a “healer” on a regular basis. She seems to go out of her way to use the word, looking for excuses to mention that she’s a healer.
It’s arrogant and distasteful, obviously. It’s an absurd conceit, incompatible with competence and professionalism. Humility is an essential ingredient in health care: if you don’t have it, it’s almost impossible to do a good job...
When therapists wear the healer identity on their sleeve, it makes them easy to avoid! Unfortunately, not all of them do. Acute healer syndrome is just the tip of an iceberg of less obvious ego problems among freelance therapists. For every therapist who actually uses the word “healer,” there are a dozen who have the attitude without being foolish enough to put it right on their business card."—Paul Ingraham
Paul nailed it. It's tacky at best, evokes the barf-factor, and warrants a deep, slow eye-roll.
When I was younger, I was sold on the idea I could be a healer and consequently believed I was after completing massage therapy school. I mean, who wouldn't want the ability to miraculously heal someone else? There were so many classes and CEUs selling healing with YOU-as-healer, and yes of course I'd like to do that, sign-me-up.
It was new and exciting. But professional maturity and common sense eventually sets in. I discovered this is a realm where helping someone relieve a back ache, walk a little straighter, or rehab a sprained ankle was considered a "healing" by many. Bonus if that ankle was also sprained in a past life! Please.
The idea may be born from a good place, but invariably the ego gremlin gets fed and it turns into a case of healer syndrome. That holier-than-thou mentality gets in the way of a client's true healing by blocking their access to a deeper understanding of themselves and their sovereignty. Who would ever want to do that? Oh, a "healer" would.
The truth is the whole "healer" bit is just marketing. It is a term and concept that appeals to the ego. And everyone's ego loves a good stroking. Oh, look what I did! (um..... this time... sorta? errr... ummm...). I have no issue with sales of safe and ethical techniques, just recognize what someone is trying to sell you. Check within to see if it's marketed to feed your ego or if it can truly help your client.
Hint: if it involves a "guru", "master", "proprietary technique" (may use the word "ancient"), or has the gate-keeper-secret-certification kind of model, it's probably a marketing shtick ;) Basically, all bodywork is "ancient". Duh. I bought into enough of these gimmicks before, and can now smell them a mile away, and it's not always because of patchouli, ifyaknowwhatimean. There are better places to invest your money.
Think about it
And the scientists that help extend millions of lives by improving upon medicine and technology? If I could crown anyone "healers" it would be them. Realize even they don't address themselves that way and look at what they do. How dare anyone else? Please.