When to refer clients out to licensed professionals

As healers and teachers it is important for us to know, when we can truly help someone or when they need more than we can offer. Case in point.

“James” contacted me via email for an energy healing appointment. He found my website and thought that an energy healing session would benefit him. After going back and forth about dates and times, we settled on a Wednesday afternoon at a meditation center where I rent space. Now, I do take clients in my home office, but I make it a point to take all new clients and those of the male variety at my rented office. This is partly for my personal safety and also it’s more professional. Generally, prior to booking an appointment with a stranger, I check into their energy to see if we would be a good fit. I checked into James’s energy and I did not see any red flags.

On Wednesday afternoon, I set up my space and prepared for a healing. As soon as I saw James I felt that there was something off because he would not look me in the eyes. I could have said goodbye right then and there but I wanted to be sure that I was not jumping to the wrong conclusions and that perhaps after speaking with him, I would find a way to help him. I took him into my office, leaving the door ajar.

Usually when a new client comes, there’s a brief introduction period. I introduce myself, talk about the work we will perform, the client may ask some questions, or go directly into his or her story. In all cases, a feeling of communication and connection is established quickly.

Not so with James. He still would not look at me and when I asked him questions, he very softly gave me one word answers. I learned that he was 34 (he looked like he was 20), living in a group home, moving tomorrow but he did not know where. When I asked him what he did today he said that he went with his parents. I asked, “Where?” and the reply was, “Somewhere.”

He claimed that he did not do drugs or alcohol. He also said that he is not working with a mental health professional. All of his answers were one word, spoken so quietly that I had a hard time hearing and still no eye contact. When I mentioned to him that usually when I speak with people they look at me, he started staring in my eyes without looking away. This meeting was not getting any better and I realized that James needed much more help that I could give him.

In California, energy healing, much like hypnotherapy, falls under the vocational/avocation category. This means that we can assist clients with lifestyle and work-related issues, but legally we cannot offer mental or other health services. If a client has been diagnosed with a mental or physical disease or there is a suspicion that a mental or physical disease may be present, then we must refer the client to the appropriate licensed professional. Once they see that professional, we may work together with that doctor or therapist and the client as a team.

I am lucky in the sense that I have many people to turn to for help and advice. One of such resources is a licensed psychotherapist who also happens to be one of my Reiki students. I have known her for several years and I know that she can handle hard cases. She understands the type of work that I do and we work well as a team.

Being as kind as I could, I explained to James that although I wanted to help him, I am not the right person for him but I know someone who is. I told him about my friend who is also an energy healer plus a therapist and explained that she has many more tools than I do. I gave him her phone number and asked him to call her. I did not charge him for my time.

That was several weeks ago. I do not know if James called my friend or was able to get help elsewhere.

Perhaps a more experienced healer may have been able to work with James. But I try to be honest about my limitations and I always err on the side of caution. I would rather lose a client than risk inadvertently causing harm or being harmed myself.

Early in my energy healing career I considered getting a degree in the mental healthcare field. I quickly realized that my passion is to help people find happiness and peace by working with their energy bodies. And so, I shall leave the mental health services to the professionals.

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