Article by Reiki Master Yvonne Brewer
In a climate where women say #MeToo, we have to look closer at the realities of #MeTooReiki also.
Over the past five years it has happened once too many times for me to ignore it that someone has opened up to me and told me of a very negative experience as a result of receiving distance Reiki or attunements from an online Reiki practitioner. What began as an arrangement for online distance Reiki or attunements soon developed into something else, something that became an abusive situation leaving a lot of emotional trauma for the recipients.
Now I feel that it is part of my own spiritual path and development to raise this issue so that others can be made aware of the dangers and possibly try to stop those who think they can emotionally torment, harass and abuse people online under the safety net of a beautiful spiritual modality such as Reiki. It’s wrong! It’s wrong to abuse but it’s certainly wrong to prey on people under the pretence that you are a trustworthy, spiritual person and abuse the energy of Reiki in such an unethical manner.
The energy of Reiki is pure, spiritual, healing and as a Reiki Master myself I am not suggesting that Reiki is to blame. Nor am I suggesting that online Reiki is wrong as there are so many positive experiences for people in receiving Reiki this way. What I am clearly stating is that those who use the Reiki and Reiki groups in order to satisfy their personal, emotional and sexual needs is wrong. Very wrong.
Victims of this type of abuse have been subjected to further abuse when they tried to confront their abuser and in some cases when they tried to tell others about their experience or report the individuals they ended up being treated as if they were the ones victimizing the person who was in fact their abuser! As a result they feel a great sense of shame and fear and wish to remain anonymous.
However, for the purpose of this article, they have agreed to have the general experiences shared but not their names or locations. Also, it is important to note that the names of the abusers are not going to be mentioned in this article. This is purely an awareness-raising discussion. The points raised in this article are therefore based on the experiences and lived stories of a small group of women who experienced online abuse from Reiki Masters.
What is inappropriate behaviour for an online Reiki Practitioner **
- It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to ask about your personal life or marital status.
- It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to constantly refer to your physical body such as telling you that you are sexy, referring to your female features etc.
- It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to contact you first thing in the morning, during the day and at night time. Regular contact like this seems to have been very common for all the women victims.
- It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to ask you about your sexual fantasies or sexual practices.
- It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to request photographs from you especially naked photos or to send you photos of themselves.
- It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to send you Reiki or attunements for free but to expect payment to be made in other ways such as sex.
- It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to suggest that Reiki symbols be used by you or him/her in acts of sexual pleasure.
- It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to suggest meeting you for sex. It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to make threats if you confront them with the issues that have caused you concern or emotional upset and request that they stop.
**(please note the term Reiki practitioner is used to refer to any individual practicing Reiki and includes Reiki Masters, Reiki Teachers and anyone engaging with individuals online in the context of sending Reiki or attunements)
Who can become a victim of online Reiki abuse?
- Everyone who is a member of an online Reiki group.
- Abuse can happen to anyone!
As a Reiki Practitioner how do I help a client who tells me that they have experienced online Reiki abuse :
- Believe them.
- Provide healing to help with their self-love, as victims blame themselves.
- Help them to detach from the individual and focus on their own healing.
- Help them feel safe and trusted.
- Help them to renew their connection with Reiki as it is common that they turn against Reiki and feel Reiki caused their pain.
- Refer them to a suitable counselor/medical/ health professional or organisation who support victims of abuse.
Issues Arising from this discussion:
- Is there any way of reporting Reiki Masters when there is an online issue such as the one discussed in this article? So far I have not been made aware of any monitoring or governing body where reports can be made. As a result, the only way these women have protected themselves is to leave the groups on Facebook or LinkedIn and block the Reiki Masters in question.
- How can we as Reiki Masters protect our clients and protect the Reiki from being used as a tool that is allowing individuals to hide behind Reiki and use it for such dysfunctional and disturbing practices? This is something that all of us who are practicing Reiki online and engaging with clients online need to reflect on for ourselves.
- How can we as Reiki Practitioners/Masters/Teachers ensure that our behavior online and towards our clients will not have an emotionally damaging effect? We need to be conscious at all times of why we are working with clients online – are we driven by our ego? Are we benefiting or are the clients benefiting? Are we ensuring that the basic principles of Reiki are the cornerstone to our practice at all times? Are we ourselves in need of healing and carrying unresolved trauma? How are we going to resolve this in order to present ourselves to clients as better healers?
It is important to note that the Reiki Masters who subjected women to this type of online Reiki abuse that has been referred to in this article to date are still participating in or are administrators in online groups mainly on Facebook.
The women who have bravely overcome their abusive experiences have created a facebook page to continue raising the awareness.
Finally, If you have been affected in any way by this discussion please speak to someone you can trust or a medical or health professional.
Yvonne Brewer lives in Cork, Ireland. She is a Reiki Master and Reflexologist and Mother to two sons. She is a graduate of University College Cork with a Bachelor of Social Science (1994) and a Masters of Social Science in Youth and Community Work (1996). Motherhood has brought her down a creative path and in 2013 she published an e-book “Breathe and Bloom. Soul Mother Meditations” and currently is working on producing a collection of poetry.
Yvonne also wrote an article for Reiki Rays in 2014 “Reiki Families: Sharing Reiki With Children.” Contact Yvonne on facebook www.facebook.com/yvonnebrewery or email email@example.com