Article by Deborah Lloyd, Reiki Master
Many Reiki practitioners begin practice with friends and relatives, and professional boundaries are not a part of the practice. However, when a practitioner works with the public, professional boundaries are a necessity. Boundaries are the limits, or guidelines, that help to keep the professional relationship safe and appropriate. The practitioner has a specific expertise, facilitating healing in a client. It is the role of the practitioner – not the client – to insure good boundaries are kept.
When a Reiki practitioner opens her practice to the public, the first responsibility is to have a private space where the client can feel comfortable. It is not unusual for a client to have a bout of crying, or a need to talk, and no other person should be able to walk in on a session, or overhear a conversation. Because your setting is calm, and you provide a relaxing service, clients may see you as a “friend” and ask questions about your life. You can gently respond that you do not share private information with clients, again establishing this is a professional relationship, not a personal one.
The Reiki practitioner should be a good listener and not feel compelled to have the “right” answer, or to give advice. In fact, doing so may actually be practicing outside the scope of practice. What this means is if you do not have specific training in counseling, you should not engage in prolonged discussions about a problem. The better way to handle this situation is to tell the client you do not have training in psychotherapy, but you can give him a referral to a professional counselor.
One of the most important aspects of good boundaries is to be clear about when it is acceptable to discuss a client situation, and when it is not. Confidentiality must always be maintained. If you are consulting with another Reiki practitioner about a difficulty, you can fully discuss the problem, without giving any identifying information (name, age of client, address, etc.). You should never discuss any client issues in a social setting. You never know when someone may know a few of your clients and quickly figure out who you are discussing – or, think they know who you are discussing.
Many of us have experienced clients who have gone from professional to professional, looking for the right modality, the right answer, the quick fix. Healing rarely happens in one session, and a client may make disparaging remarks that Reiki did not work either, if immediate relief is not experienced. That is when we, as Reiki professionals, have to become objective and remember we do not have a magic wand. The client has to be an active participant in their own healing journey, not a passive bystander.
Maintaining good boundaries is actually one of the most important ways to build your own confidence as a Reiki practitioner. You are clear on what is right, and what is not. You feel confident in your abilities in giving Reiki, and you know what your training included, and what it did not. You do not have to worry if you said the wrong thing to a client, if you did not give any advice at all! Do what you have been trained to do – provide energy healing work for clients.
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Deborah Lloyd is a Usui and Karuna® Reiki Master and certified holistic therapy practitioner. She also is a licensed clinical social worker, working with a hospice agency in Asheville, NC. She grew up on a farm in rural Indiana and was stricken with polio at the age of three. To relieve fatigue from post-polio syndrome, she learned Reiki. This complementary technique led her to explore other alternative modalities. Her personal journey, along with life lessons learned along the way, is detailed in her book, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons. Reach Deborah at http://www.deblloydhealing.com/, email@example.com and at Deb Lloyd Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deblloydhealing)