Thank you to everyone who has sent me comments and feedback on my Sound Reflections. This helps me to gauge what’s relevant and it’s very helpful ! 🙂
Some people have suggested that it would good if I wrote about some my personal experiences and research with intention and sound therapy, in addition to writing about what other people have written!
So, as an example, I thought I’d share with you what happened at the end of last week with a client who came to me for sound therapy. This was the first session that I held with the client.
This mini-case study demonstrates how effective it can be to set clear intentions both as a therapist and as the client, and how these two intentions fields interact and can be mutually supportive for the benefit of the client.
Setting the intent for the session
10 minutes before the time of the appointment with Ruth (not her real name) I cleared the energy in my treatment room, sat down and did some breathing and visualisation exercises to enter a still, quiet space within – what I call the cave of my heart. I prayed for the love of God – the Source Energy in our Universe – to fill up this cave in my heart and for the treatment to be for the client’s highest good.
The case history
Soon after she arrived, Ruth told me that she had received funding for this treatment from the Woman’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Cornwall. She had experienced childhood abuse which was adversely affecting her health and wellbeing. 2 years ago, difficulties in a relationship, triggered repressed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which led to her experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia such as severe aches and pains throughout her body, anxiety and insomnia. A recent incident in another relationship had caused a flare up of these symptoms, which is why she came for this treatment.
While taking the details of her medical history and life story, I picked up on her saying that one of the things that she found very helpful was the relaxation period at the end of yoga sessions that she did for while in 2012. She also told me that she was seeing a psychotherapist once or twice a week and was currently on anti-depressant medication. She was also still involved in the group work work and receiving support at the abuse centre.
I asked her to say how much pain she was currently experiencing on a scale of 0 – 10. She said it was about 5.
The client’s intention
I then asked her what she would like to get from this treatment, expecting her to say something like ‘feel less pain’. Instead she said “peace”.
Usually, when I work with intention, I invite my clients to remember a time in the past when they have felt truly loved and supported by another, or when they have given that love to another. This helps to activate feelings of unconditional love, non-judgement and acceptance and that they can apply to themselves. However, in this case, an inner voice – my intuition – said don’t go down that route with Ruth. She’s experienced severe, traumatic abuse and relationship difficulties. You need to work in a different way this time.
So I asked Ruth how she would know if she felt ‘peace’ at the end of the treatment. After a few moments of silence, I asked whether she had felt that before in her life. She said that she had never felt it! I could tell from the misty look in her eyes that this was what she yearned for more than anything else.
However, I’ve found that for the treatment process to be effective, it’s helpful if the client can be specific in stating their intention and, in addition, they can also ground their desired outcomes in bodily feelings and sensations that they can experience and describe.
So, instead of focusing on what she called ‘peace’ I referred back to the times when Ruth had felt ‘relaxed’ at the end of the yoga classes that she had taken. I asked her if she could remember how that felt, and she said yes.
I then said: “Well, would you like to feel something like that again as a result of this treatment?” Her eyes started to shine a little brighter and she replied: “Yes that would be wonderful. I know that a lot of my pain and anxiety is caused by stress, and so feeling more relaxed would be great!”
When I said: “So shall we go for that then?”, she nodded enthusiastically. I explained in outline what would happen in the treatment session and asked her to lie down on the futon.
Building up the mutual field of intention
Before making any sounds, or doing anything obvious externally, I knelt quietly next to Ruth, repeated what I did before she arrived to activate feelings of unconditional love in my heart field and set the intention for Ruth to feel relaxed and at peace. I ‘sent’ that intention, combined with the feelings of unconditional love from my heart to her heart.
I took Ruth through a guided progressive relaxation process and then asked her to bring into her mind’s eye how she had felt at the end of the yoga sessions. I asked her to imagine in vivid detail how she would be if she had those relaxed feelings in her life – what that would be like…..and to know that this was actually happening now.
Finally I said: “Please let go of all those thoughts and feelings. Simply listen to the sounds.”
I gave Ruth a 30 minute session with sounds, using a mixture of instruments and my voice. I worked with tingshas, one Tibetan singing bowl, 4 crystal singing bowls with interval of a 5 between each one while also toning with my voice; tuned pipes, again playing intervals of a fifth; gong, harmony balls, shaker, drum, harmony ball and ending with tingshas.
It was a creative, intuitive process. Although I had let go of holding the intention for Ruth, at times during the session I was aware of feelings of unconditional love for her pouring through me. It wasn’t at all like I was projecting my intentional thoughts and feelings into her. I was simply the channel for a bigger, universal loving energy to become more focused on Ruth in that moment.
After the treatment, I asked Ruth how she felt. She said that she had never felt so relaxed before in her life. I asked her what level of pain she now felt. She looked surprised and said that the pain had gone. She stood up slowly and said “Yes, it’s all gone!!”
In the next post in this series of Sound Reflections, I’ll cover the work of Dr Leonard Laskow, a medical doctor, who has developed a program called ‘Healing With Love”.
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