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The Role of Counselling in Reiki Treatment

Article by Nicholas Harris

When most people think about Reiki, the focus is on spiritual energy in the context of personal healing. However, Reiki is much more than that and the healing that may occur within treatment works on many different levels.

A proper Reiki session should consist of the following phases:

Phase 1: Introduction

The facilitator meets the client and establishes rapport with them. It is important to put the client at ease, to ask what brought them to the treatment space and to explain what Reiki is and what to expect during treatment.

The aim is to create a safe space for the client to talk. I find it helpful to practice active listening, a technique from conventional counselling, in which one simply imagines their heart open and the client’s words being received there. A sensitive practitioner will sense when it is the correct time to talk, and the majority of the time should be spent listening.

I always make a point of letting my clients know that Reiki treatment is received fully clothed. In my belief, the simple act of receiving loving non-sexual touch is another important healing element within the Reiki session itself.

Explaining Reiki energy itself, I usually explain to my clients that everything in the universe is made of energy and that all energy is made of the same “stuff”. Energy is never created or destroyed – it is merely transformed from one form to another.

The thoughts that we think and the emotions that we feel are examples of energy vibrating at a certain frequency. Everything in our world is energy and when two energies come into contact with each other, there are only three possible things that may happen.

  1. The higher vibrational energy may be “pulled down” by the lower vibrational energy.
  2. The lower vibration energy may be “pulled up” by the higher vibrational energy.
  3. The energies affect one another and meet somewhere in the middle.

It is helpful to explain that channeling Reiki is one way to access extremely high vibration energy at will – energy that will assist in the transformation of lower vibration energies to higher frequencies through the presence of Love.

Phase 2: Treatment

The client is welcomed into the Reiki space and lies down on the massage table. After being led into a space of pleasant relaxation by the facilitator, the Reiki treatment itself begins.

I usually aim for the Reiki treatment portion of the treatment to last between 30 and 45 minutes.

Therapist holding her patients hands

Phase 3: Post-treatment conversation

After experiencing the warm embrace that is Reiki, many clients feel more open and much safer to talk. At the most fundamental level, Reiki is the energy of unconditional love and it is unconditional love that everyone in this world craves for.

A common mistake made by many practitioners is not allowing enough time for this critical stage of the Reiki session. As a “rule-of-thumb”, I advise leaving a third of the allocated treatment time to this important stage of the treatment.

The ability to deeply share thoughts and feelings and be heard in a loving, non-judgemental way is the most wonderful of gifts and profoundly healing.

In essence, the safety to share repressed feelings is the space that counselling services will often spend months working on guiding clients too – the same sense of safety that I have experienced many people entering after just one Reiki session.

Open your heart. Allow your client’s words inside. Radically accept your client’s thoughts and feelings. Give your client the experience of acceptance and maybe – just maybe – they will come to accept themselves.

In the face of acceptance, the challenges of the moment transform into the highest good. And that is true healing.

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Nicholas Harris

Nicholas Harris

Nicholas Harris is a therapist who teaches his clients how to heal emotional pain in a unique way that integrates his life studies – Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Tibetan Buddhism. Nick is an 8th Generation Reiki Master Teacher, runs a therapy clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and is a consultant therapist at Chiva Som, a world-class International Health Resort. Nick offers free monthly webinars as well as personal sessions and online training programs. For more information about Nick’s work please visit his site: Therapy in Chiang Mai (https://www.practical-healing.com/).


{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Allison August 25, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Great article Nicholas, I completely agree that the open, loving and caring conversation that you have with your client is such a, if not the most important aspect of a Reiki treatment. Being a kind, caring person that is there to really listen to a clients feelings, worries and concerns without judgement is something that people crave and need to assist in their healing process. I often find that the actual Reiki treatment is an interruption to wonderful conversations filled with not just tears but much laughter. ☺

  • Debbie August 26, 2015, 4:30 pm

    Hi Nicholas, terrific article. I especially love the way you described the three possibilities that could occur when two energies meet. I practice the method you describe, and it was nice to have validation that I’m not alone in treating clients this way. Thank you!

  • Emma August 28, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Hi Nicholas

    I’m currently on my final year of becoming a fully qualified Counsellor and have already done my Reiki 1 and my Counselling Tutor is all teaching is mindfulness and meditation which I love. I wanted to combine the two together once I’m qualified so your artical has just confirmed my interest in the two working together nicely. Thank you.

  • Linds August 31, 2015, 9:17 pm

    Hi Nicolas
    well said beautifully written wise words Reiki healing is an art poetic as well congratulations on understanding its true essence !

  • Ann September 28, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Thank you for this timely article Nicolas. I was not sure if I was allocating too much time to the post session consultation. I feel much better now and satisfied that following my instincts will keep me right.

  • Vaughan Jones November 19, 2015, 9:17 am

    Hi Nicholas,
    Good advice; thank you. I am a Reiki master and I normally also explain to my clients that we are each spirit beings who possess a mind and a body, through which different energies flow and it is the spirit being who channels the Reiki energy and the client’s spirit being who needs to be open to receive it and channel it to their mind and body for healing to occur. This is because whatever a person, the spirit being, or the self, chooses to think, say, and do is entirely their choice; ultimately.
    Blessings to all.

  • Kathleen Johnson December 29, 2015, 6:06 pm

    Hello Nicholas – Thank you for this article which really resonates with me. I have always conducted my Reiki sessions this way, and have received a fair share of criticism for spending too much time with the client. However, your words echo my feelings about the role of the practitioner, and the importance of creating a safe and comfortable space, both physically and energetically, for each person who comes for a treatment.
    Thank you again!
    Reiki blessings, Kathleen

  • Dr. sunita May 20, 2016, 11:19 am

    Hi Nicholas , grt article & I agree with you … all 3 steps must be followed …. ☺

  • Patricia September 24, 2016, 11:17 pm

    Hi Nicolas
    Thank you for sharing this article. I am a newly qualified counsellor and a level 2 Reiki healer. I was feeling unsure about how to combine or integrate the two practices but reading your article has been inspirational.
    Thanks again.
    Many blessings.

  • Dria March 4, 2020, 1:40 pm

    Hi Nicholas ~
    I did enjoy reading your article and the way you explain the relationship with energy. As a certified counselor and Master Reiki practitioner I agree there is a more openness to talk after Reiki sessions as there is a felt sense of safety and an intimacy that occurs. I would caution those that are not trained counselors to avoid delving too deep, but rather have a referral source for a trained professional. I have experienced (not often) some people do have past trauma emerge or have an emotional release that should be processed in a therapeutic setting so as not to re-traumatize the client.
    Keep up the wonderful work.
    ~ Dria

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