Finding Healthy Guides

2There are many different avenues that people use to heal their mind and reconnect with their spirit. For example, you may choose to work with a psychologist, social worker, minister, priest, guru, life coach or holistic body worker. Sometimes this help comes through individual sessions and sometimes through books, seminars, groups, and churches.

When looking for guidance we often check out a person’s education, experience and recommendations, and while this is important, I found that personal factors are important to consider too. No matter how credentialed someone seems on the surface, in the end we are all people and some people haven’t worked through their own issues or don’t have the best intentions. Not everyone working in this arena is healthy to work with, and some may even be dangerous. This doesn’t mean you need to be afraid of working at the emotional/spiritual level, you just need to be smart in choosing with whom you work.

We are especially vulnerable when we are in physical or emotional pain. Often in these states we have lost the sense of ourselves and our own power and life seems threatening, and it is easy to hook onto a person or group that helps us feel safe and whole.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out if working with a specific person or group is life-giving and healing for you.

  1. Do you feel progressively more empowered or more dependent as you work together? The role of this type of help is to help you tune into your spirit, your innate wisdom, and to help you stand more firmly on your own feet. If you are being told what to think or how to act or there are rigid rules to follow, these are red flags.
  2. Do you feel safe, comfortable and supported enough to be honest and vulnerable?
  3. Do you trust them to be with you in a gentle, supportive, and nonjudgmental way if you choose to share complex emotions, fear, or trauma?
  4. Are they humble and human? As someone grows in awareness, the light shines equally on the light and dark sides of their person. For this reason, some of the wisest people are also the most humble.
  5. How does the guide live their life? Are they kind, and do their actions match what they are telling you?
  6. How does the person pace your session or give you information? You may leave a session questioning or a bit destabilized, but you shouldn’t be spinning in fear.
  7. Do they let go of control and allow you to find your own healing path? Do they support you when your decisions and experiences differ from a specific path or what they would choose for themselves?
  8. Does your body feel better after most sessions? There are many ways your body may signal you that you are on a healing path. For example, you may feel less anxious, less tightness throughout your body, deeper breathing, more energy, less pain, increased appetite, more restful sleep, better posture, freer movement, or more weight bearing through your feet. If you are feeling worse, the increased stress in your body may be a sign that this particular path is not healthy for you.