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Empaths as Healers

Article by Angie Webster

Many of those who are drawn to the path of healing arts are also highly empathic. Being empathic has a range of meanings. They may be very aware of the needs and feelings of others and thus be very caring. Or they may actually feel the emotions of those around them, perhaps to the point that they have difficulty distinguishing when the emotions are their own or someone else’s. Many empaths also feel the physical pains and illnesses of others. Again, many quite often have a difficult time separating another’s symptoms from their own.

Empaths feel the world around them. It may be that this is why many are drawn to healing. They can feel where there is a need. This can be very useful in the healing arts. It can also cause difficulty. Seeing or feeling where targeted healing needs to be applied during a healing session is very helpful. Empath skills also help during scanning and clearing. Yet when an empath so deeply feels what they are trying to heal that they can’t separate it from themselves, they begin to weaken themselves and block their own energy channels. It no longer helps their healing, it begins to hinder it.

Everyone wants to feel well. And all healers want to be effective and helpful at what they do. Unfortunately, I think as empaths, we get the idea that we are meant to suffer along with those we help in order for our work to be effective. That somehow if we take on the suffering of our clients or even the suffering of the world, we will be helping. This is an error in thinking. It is an error that limits us as healers and also makes us feel ill and leaves us carrying lots of physical and emotional pain.

Empaths as Healers

Image by Muffet

A big key to healing is to not resist what you are trying to heal and at the same time not pull it into yourself or absorb it. When we can simply accept the issues our clients have from a place of non-judgement and love, we can let healing energy flow freely. That shifts it. We don’t need to take it on ourselves and suffer.

We also don’t need to create resistance against whatever we are directing healing toward. When we see it as a problem that needs to be resisted, we create blocks in ourselves and we are also fighting what is a part of our client’s reality in this moment. The most loving and healing thing to do is to love and accept where someone is—always. Whatever they are experiencing is a part of their path and will help them to reach the next part. Your part in the path is to hold space as they walk their path, not to walk their path for them or to change their direction on the path. Love, accept and send healing. Allow the process to unfold as it needs to. This leaves space for the client to find love and acceptance for themselves as well.

It can be challenging to learn to separate your own energy from that of others when you are a healer and an empath. It has certainly been my biggest challenge as a healer so far. It has been a practice more than anything. Learning to appreciate the path of others, heal my own inner wounds and feel less resistance to that which I see as a “problem” and simply let healing flow where it is needed has helped. It can make for a very strong healer when you can make use of your empath skills without letting them overwhelm you.

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Haripriya June 30, 2015, 5:17 pm

    Very insightful and much needed 🙂 Thank you Angie.

  • Vickie June 30, 2015, 9:41 pm

    I ……….feel like the writer of this article is talking to me….this is exactly where I am at on my journey….. !!!

  • jani July 2, 2015, 2:51 am

    very good article and well put. as a reiki master I open to receive energy … ask to be a channel and then step out of the way,… thus I do not send anything and very clearly state my intention that the universe provide what is needed. key is that I have absolutely no agenda or expectation. while this is very basic reiki practice, I think it is often over looked as the practitioner has the idea that he/she is doing … when the only thing they are doing is asking to be of service and then opening to channel. as an empath, I had to do the inner work to recognize what we not mine… a balance that is difficult to express I think is to let go of the empathy one feels when opening for reiki… the empathy has a place but it is the energy itself that advises the channel. and the energy will always go exactly where needed…. it is my feeling and experience that if one directs it, what flows is ones personal energy, not universal energy… the reason healers often feel drained. blessings and thanks for your wonderful insights! jani

    • Angie Webster July 27, 2015, 4:45 am

      Jani, having your empathy step out of the way during a Reiki session is very good advice! Allow the Reiki to direct the energy and to advise you what to do. Set your own ego, empathy, emotions and intentions aside, other than the intention to allow Reiki to flow through you to the client. It can be difficult to remember at first, if you are caught in engaging with the empathy on a normal basis, but with practice, you can learn and it makes for a stronger and better healer.

  • Jacquie August 28, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Thank you for this article. I struggle with taking on other’s energy. It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve learned that I can let it go. I am getting better at it. I often ask for extra protection. Reiki has helped me learn what is and isn’t mine.

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 6, 2016, 5:13 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Jacquie. I wish you well on your continued journey with this practice! Many blessings.

  • Joan Fitzgerald September 9, 2015, 1:14 pm

    Thank you so much Love and Light and plz send me healing for self rejection thank you Joan

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 6, 2016, 5:12 pm

      Joan, I send you blessings and love. Please remember to do your daily self-Reiki treatments. This is so important. You are worthy and you are capable. You have all the power to do this inside of you and you are infinitely supported by the Universe. Never forget it.

      • Laura April 21, 2019, 4:02 am


        I am an empath but I just had my first Reiki session with a healer. She asked me if I had a specific intention and I said positive energy because I have PTSD from my son being in the NICU and watching what he went through. I am grateful and thankful he is alive and doing extremely well. However, I still live in fear of him having health issues and getting sick. She gave me a 60 minute massage that was amazing and then did a 30 minute Reiki session. I can’t tell you what exactly she did but I felt great afterwards. I can only describe it as feeling happy and safe in a bubble with water inside much like an amniotic sack. I did have some flashes of the birth of my son and time in the hospital but it didn’t fill me with anxiety the way it usually does. I just remembered my sons birth as praying he is born alive and holding my breath waiting to hear him cry. I must tell you I scheduled another session for next month.

  • Tanvi Lodhia October 17, 2015, 5:50 am

    Thx lot to Angie… m really been an empath for d one from whom i learnt Reiki nd Hiz family… nd Dey willing to have dat situation of mine to b continued regarding Der pain… which leads to block my own progress… for dat Dey did n e thng non-sense from giving psychic attack to spy me..!!! it had been a lotz of challenging job for me to get rid off of em..!! plz guide me for d same. gratitude

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 6, 2016, 5:09 pm

      My guidance would be to simply stop participating. If you feel that contact, either in person or etheric, with these people is troublesome for you, them have no further contact and cut cords. Do a release ceremony to assist yourself with this. If you stop giving fear energy to it, it will not have enough strength to continue.

  • Phoe January 19, 2016, 6:13 pm

    I think im an empath but have no clue where to begin. I don’t really know what to do. I can pull bad energy from things but I have a lot of trouble getting rid of it. My body will physically get extremely hot and it exhausts me to try to help ppl. But I want to help I want to learn. I get dreams of things happening and then they happen I wish I could control that more. I used to get dark figures come to me in dreams and when I wake up they’re still there and I can’t move or speak not really sure what to do. It seems the more I try to decelop, the more dark things seem to attract. I just want to learn how to manage or control it all to help or develop somehow so it doesn’t end up bad. I tried before to learn to control it but I only seemed to get very aweful energies. I have no idea where to start.

  • Serenity Energy Healing April 6, 2016, 5:05 pm

    Phoe, my first suggestion would be to focus on sending Reiki, rather than on pulling bad energy out of things. Reiki will shift anything that needs to be shifted. It brings balance. Everyone and every situation is capable of coming into balance, within themselves. We don’t have to interfere or help. We can send Reiki, but only when invited to do so, otherwise we are making their balance our own business. That is not possible and it’s exhausting. It is also fine to focus only on your own self-healing, either until you are completely comfortable in your boundaries, or permanently. Shielding is important to, especially when you’re an empath. Do self Reiki daily to cleanse and keep your own energy clear and to continue your own healing. And learn to shield in a way that is helpful to you. Do this before going to sleep, when you wake up, before doing Reiki or meditation and before going out. The point of shielding isn’t that you have to be afraid, but to create a boundary between your energy and the energy of others. So a sweep of your energy field and ground any time you feel need to, multiple times a day. Remember you are in much greater control of your life than you may think. Blessings.

  • Lori Micklesavage December 19, 2016, 6:05 pm

    I too am empathic and I am a nurse for 16 years. I did not know what was “wrong” with me until May 2014. I had a patient pass on. She was of catholic faith, was very afraid and suffered her last couple days. I did not like this particular patient but her family wanted nothing to do with her. I put on catholic hyms via my phone and left it in her bed. I quickly did what I had to do that evening and went back to her for my last 2 hours. I sat with her holding her hand and recited cathlic prayers for the dying. She whispered to me “I see angels” and took her last breath.
    Afterward, I sat at the nurse’s desk and did not speak to anyone the rest of the shift which is unlike me. I don’t remember driving home.
    The next day I was hospitalized with a “nervous breakdown”. But knew it couldn’t be.
    I spoke to a person who is psychically gifted and now a trusted friend who told me she used my energy to help herself pass away. And proceded to tell me I was an empath. A few short weeks later I took my first reiki class at her advice.
    Reiki has changed my life and my energy in so many ways and I now know how to cleanse, heal and protect myself through the energy.

    • Angie Webster December 19, 2016, 6:41 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think Reiki and learning how to strengthen and clear our own energy can help many people, especially empaths. It is really important for teachers to share this information about clearing and strengthening our energy, and the importance of self-healing.

  • Jody Dudgeon January 24, 2017, 1:44 am

    Omg!! I am a reiki healer for the last 4 years and an empath to boot and I have Cree in my blood. What a mix I can say. For the last 2 months, I have been working on learning native crafts at a Native Centre that is so sick with native energies. The brother who has been teaching me has pointed out that he doesn’t allow many people to touch him. The last few weeks have been nearly unbearable to the point no matter how protected I am, I’m still picking up on their energies. Since last Wednesday I had to stop seeing someone within for reiki healing because the trust went out the window. The time I stopped allowing hugs and touching these people, I have come to understand why this brother only allows certain people to touch him. I hugged one person last week, and wow, I felt so ill. We had to use our medicines in the area we were working in. I have to be careful now that I have realized this. I send love and light to the people who are I’ll emotionally, but I also have to choose who I work with now and who I come into contact with. As much as I want to help everyone, I can’t, especially when the director does the opposite and keeps other natives ill to the point where the people are so unstable with their energy that they go upstairs to talk about everything to everyone instead of helping them. It’s frustrating but it’s not my energy. Being an empath can be very positive and negative at the same time. Thank you for the article. This has helped a great deal. Hi Hi!

  • Jessica October 16, 2017, 4:52 pm

    Do you have any advice for an empath who is just starting to get involved in being a Reiki Practitioner?

  • Gloria Kovacevich June 10, 2019, 7:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. I wish I had someone share this with me when I was much younger. I felt the feelings of others, not knowing I was an empath, and believed they were my feelings. It wasn’t until many, many years later I learned the truth! I learned about reincarnation, about karma. Life finally began to make sense. Another point I learned from one of my mentors was to be careful what I share with clients when they are not ready to hear about it. If they are not ready it could block them in their journey. I always wanted to ‘help’ by sharing and didn’t realize the one I was sharing with may not be ready to hear and learn. Everyone has their lessons to learn. We must support one another even when the other or ourselves do not wish to learn. Love and compassion work together. TYTYTY

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