Yikes, here is the real land of wu-wu; is energy healing right for me? Am I fit to be an energy healer? Do I want to be an energy healer? Can I make a living as an energy healer?
I would never discourage anyone from following their dreams, nor would I ever want to tell somebody that he/she can't do something. And far be it for me to say if something is or isn't right for somebody else, Lord knows that anyone who knows me well was skeptical to say the least when I decided to make that career change. Just a few things inquiring minds should know...
1) Your teacher will trigger you and you will undoubtably have differing opinions on many matters.
The first teacher I went to had her own system made up, was highly opinionated, and actually spoke unflatteringly about other teachers in the area. She taught the class out of her apartment and did not prepare us to hold space for some of the traumatic things that would come up among the other students, many of whom had been victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. To be honest, I came out of that class learning merely about my limitations as a human being and didn't learn a single technique. Needless to say, I never signed up for another module with her.
I left wondering what the hell I was thinking and why would I want to continue. I was pulled back in by a really good reiki teacher and a workshop that was a thinly veiled advertisement for a school I could not afford to attend.
My second course was taught by two teachers with whom I studied under for three years and helped me work out a lot of my baggage. They also prepared me to become that much better at cranioacral therapy. In fact, I think it's fair to say that I wouldn't be half as good at what I do had I not studied under them for the first two years.
I should've left after that, but I didn't. I say this because I didn't find that the advanced level of this program significantly sharpened my skills. The program was changing into something else and I wasn't sure that the new direction fit into what my initial goals had been.
Furthermore, it lacked a degree of structure and it was clear that there were students more favored within the inner circle of the teacher, regardless of how hard everyone worked. I had to learn to separate the teacher from the teaching and I can say in all honesty, that no matter how hard I studied, I didn't feel as confident calling myself a professional "energy healer" as I did a "craniosacral therapist" once I'd received that training.
Let me be clear, this is my trigger and my experience; I cannot speak for all of the other classmates or what the school is really about, I can only say that I was not alone in this feeling. In short, your teacher has her process, you have yours, and you have to see if those two are compatible or if the learning environment is right for you. Finding the right place to develop these skills is not something that can be found on a Yelp page.
2) Enlightenment is a business
Studying energy healing is expensive. Your teachers need to eat, pay their rent, and live their lives. They will tell you that they're doing their best to change/save the world. They are not insincere in these sentiments, but they can't do it without resources. And wealthier clients for all of us, increase our sense of economic security, particularly those of us with families to feed.
It doesn't make it easier when you're putting all your faith and whatever income you can scrape together to study something that you might not find a demand for in the classifieds.
It was clear that the school, in an attempt to move into the black, was appealing to the tech CEO's of Silicon Valley, rather than the low-income students wanting to make a career change. This was a problem for me because I saw it as "trickle down enlightenment." I guess the teachers' feelings were that if those with power and money were more woke/enlightened/sensitive, they would be in a position to see that those below them benefit from that. And there were some wealthy people in this course.
I live in the SF Bay Area and I have yet to see anybody do anything to make this happen as I see increased displacement, rising rent prices, no change in poverty, and increased homelessness. I truly hope that there is something that I'm not seeing here.
3) Many of your wealthier classmates are there as hobbyists or only seek therapy
This is the reality of learning energy healing, and many other modalities one might consider "out there," including, I'm sorry to say, craniosacral therapy. Some of my classmates were in my courses because they could easily afford it and it was, as another irritated classmate put it, "the cool Northern California thing to do." I wish I had not experienced this and could explain it in a more positive light, but I'm simply not that good of a writer!
And that's not to say that those people shouldn't be allowed to take these courses, it's just frustrating for those of us who take them seriously for more than self-indulgence, status, and socializing. Imagine working full-time while studying in two different courses, taking a bus to class because you don't own a car, and finding that half of your classmates, who do own cars, are consistently late. The teachers want to wait for them to show up before they begin and are reticent to criticize them on this matter because they can't afford to run the classes without their continued enrollment. To make matters worse, they haven't done the homework, so you can't compare notes or discuss your findings.
If that's not frustrating enough, your classmates might be popping in and out of class to check their phones or make business calls. Or they might simply decide that they don't feel like returning to class on time because they're enjoying a beautiful day during lunch. While they have every right to do these things, the rest of us suffer without their presence to keep the energy and container of the class solid and uninterrupted or have to catch them up on what they missed while they were out. Some people can afford to learn these skills because it's interesting to them, yet oftentimes they show little regard as to how it affects the rest of the class.
4) Unless you already have a background in bodywork, medicine, or therapy, it will be difficult to sell yourself should you decide to pursue this work professionally
This is not meant to discourage anyone from working to do this professionally, society needs people to do this. Make no mistake about it, this is truly, what I believe, a step towards social evolution. That being said, it doesn't change the fact that we're still in the minority and the average Jane or Joe may see us as delusional or snake oil medicine salespeople. I'm just issuing the warning that you'll need persistence and thick skin (as well as another source of income in the beginning) to build a practice. And as with anything you do, you'll have to be damn good at it and confident. However, if you can bring results, then people will return and refer others to you.
5) You will process in ways you might not have ever imagined
Get ready to be triggered, get ready to face inner demons, get ready to be vulnerable, get ready to be triggered by other people's processes, and get ready to do it in front of the class. Any course that is geared around trauma and holding space will first require that you work on your own stuff. If the course you're taking doesn't require this of its students or create an environment for this to happen, you should seriously question it's validity. It is for this reason that psychotherapists in training are required to receive a fair amount of therapy themselves to get their degrees and certifications.
6) The next group of students will get a different class than the one you had
Oftentimes, once you've finished a course, they'll be another group of students for which you might be asked to assist if you're serious about the course. It might even be a requirement for your training. Understand that the teachers are constantly looking to improve their curriculum which means they have learned better ways to convey their lessons with to the class before yours. It's just the nature of the beast and you'll have to roll with it. However, if you're fortunate enough to find a course that really resonates with you and wants you to TA, the good news is that you get to learn all of those improvements while deepening your own skills.
7) You never stop working on yourself
I realize this might seem fairly obvious to many of the people reading this, but it I still feel it needs to be pointed out. Your teachers are still working on themselves and once your skills deepen, you'll be able to notice it more. Even if you're a sought after energy healer with the skills to be reckoned with, your trauma patterns, triggers, and other blockages are still there. You'll especially need support once you're providing it to others. It's ok, that's simply to be expected.
Some things to do upon deciding to become a healer
A reiki course is a good way to get your feet wet, it helps give you a preview of what working with this kind of stuff can be like. However, I wouldn't expect a Reiki course alone to give you what you need.
Get a session from somebody who has recently finished the program at a place you're considering attending. It'll give you an idea of what you can expect to get out of it. Keep in mind however, that they might have had other skills they acquired elsewhere before attending this program. Find that out first so you can differentiate how they integrated these skills.
Get referrals to the program. If you can afford to step in blindly and find that it might not be the right place for you, then take a chance. But if not, talk with somebody who's been in the program that you sincerely trust. Some of these programs offer economic incentives to former students who help with recruitment so trust is essential here.
I wish anybody wanting to embark on this journey the best, just know that if you choose the red pill, you'd better be ready for the cost. Best of luck to you!