The Consultation, and Diagnosis
Every practitioner has her or his own style in working with clients....
And, while the process of successfully working with clients cannot really be taught, especially from a manual such as this, being something that you can only learn from the experience of doing it, I will give a few pointers from my own experiences. Many of you will be experienced therapists, and will have developed your own style of relating to clients.
It is most important that the client have confidence in the practitioner, and in the process of the therapy. If the client is not familiar with the basics of essence therapy, it is worthwhile spending a few minutes explaining the basics to her, and answering any questions.
Points that may be covered in this chat may include:
A brief explanation of how essences are made.
An explanation of how energy medicines differ from drugs.
The correct method for taking the essence mixture, including the importance of avoiding contamination of the dropper.
A few words about the actual essences that you are using (for example, you show the client this manual, or give them a brochure, and also give them the address of this website).
Above all, it is very important that the client feels self-empowered by the process that is taking place. If someone had a need for a “doctor knows best” type experience, they would not have come to you!
Any practitioner who wants to be effective in working with a holistic therapy like flower essences in the 21st century must be a champion of the paradigm of self-empowerment (ie. self-empowerment for the clients). The New Millennium is the age of self-responsibility, self-discovery and self-enlightenment. The old way of “doctor knows best” worked fine for our parent's and our grandparent's generations, but the mass consciousness of humanity, even of the “mainstream”, is very rapidly moving on from this. Most people now want to know what is happening, and they have a right to be told, and to make fully informed choices.
We are here, in our chosen profession, to help facilitate this process of self-discovery and self-empowerment. There is also major learning and self-discovery in this process for us, of course. A genuinely self-empowered person has no need for an ego-based need to be looked upon as a “superior authority” by his clients. He realizes that his own true self-empowerment comes from helping others in their process of self-empowerment.
Some clients have a need to “tell their story”. While this may not appear to be essential to the diagnostic process (unlike, for example, classical homoeopathy, where the diagnostic process requires that the client speak fully and completely about their “story”), it is my observation that the process of the practitioner being willing to listen in a totally non-judging way is often an important part of the healing process.
I have vivid memories of a client who came to me for the first time about two years ago, and as soon as we began the session, she started talking, non-stop. An hour later, she was still going flat-out, and I had hardly uttered a word! Most of what she said was repetitive, and much of it made no sense at all, many people would label her as “crazy”. However, I let her go on and on, until she eventually ran out of words. I sensed that, for her, this was a very important process, in that she needed to tell her story, she needed to have someone sit and really listen to all that she needed to say. She was a woman aged well over sixty, and I suspect that no-one had ever been willing to really listen to her like this before. We went on from this session to have a really successful client-practitioner relationship.
On another occasion, I had a new client, a woman in her 30's, come to me for the first time. She brought her six year old son, for them both to have flower essence treatment for the first time. We had met the previous weekend, at a Healing Fair, and at this meeting she had had the opportunity to “tell her story”. When she appeared for the consultation on the following Wednesday, she asked me whether I had done anything to begin the treatment (she was vaguely aware that I work with sending healing energies at a distance). I said no, I had not, and she expressed amazement at how much better both her and her son had felt since she had spoken to me. She was especially pleased with her son's major improvement in his attitude towards her, he literally was a different boy.
I explained to her how her making a decision to do something towards positive change had shifted her energy, and her son had picked this up and his energy had also shifted. We proceeded with the consultation, and she went away with the two bottles of essences feeling really positive about everything.
There is always the need to balance the need of the client to be heard against the practical consideration of time limitations. With practice, a skillful practitioner can learn to guide the client in speaking about the important things that need to be said, without it taking up a huge amount of time. Remember that for this phase of the consultation it is the client's story that is being told, not your story. Your job is to listen, not to jump in and take over!
The Diagnostic Process
The diagnosis of essences is, almost always, largely an intuitive process. When Dr Edward Bach developed the Bach Flowers, it was an intuitive process that told him what each essence was for. And, ever since Dr Bach's pioneering work, the diagnosis of exactly which essences are needed by each client has remained an intuitive process.
This is not to say that the intellect must play no part. The intellect also has an important role in the diagnostic process: it is with the intellect that we recall all of our previous experience, and use this knowledge as part of the process. In my opinion, the ideal diagnostic method is a balance between the intellect and the intuition, working in partnership and unison.
As an aid to the intuitive testing, I usually use a pendulum in my diagnostic work. It is beyond the scope of this manual to attempt to teach the use of the pendulum. I learnt by just “doing it”, following the basic advice given to me by Mary Garbely. There are a number of good books available, that explain the technique of pendulum use.
Another intuitive technique that works well for many people is to go through the essence stock bottles one at a time, either by holding each one or by looking at each one, and to choose the ones that you feel are “jumping out” at you. Some of your clients will have a highly developed intuitive ability, and for these people it is very appropriate for them to play an active part in the selection of the essences that they need.
Then there is kineseology. There is the “finger kineseology”, where you attempt to force apart your finger and thumb and the difference in resistance gives you your “yes/no” answer. This technique is championed by Machaelle Small Wright of “Perelandra”, and is fully described in her books “Flower Essences” and “M.A.P.”.
Or you may prefer the kineseology technique of muscle-testing on the client's body, usually performed by having the client hold our his arm horizontally while testing for the need for each essence in turn, by attempting to force the arm to drop, while he attempts to resist you pressing his arm down. For essences that he does not need, he will be able to resist the downwards pressure that you are placing on his arm; and for those that he does need, his arm muscles will weaken considerably. This method has the advantage that it involves the client in an active way, using the client's own body as the testing mechanism.
My personal preference is to use my pendulum, because it is the method that I am most familiar with, and, for me, it is the fastest method. Some of my clients have a need to be involved in some way, and for them I explain exactly what is happening as I do the testing. Others are happy to just trust the process.
I also have several folders (A4 size), with each essence on a page in one of the folders, inside a plastic sleeve, with a photograph of the flower, the definition of the essence, and the affirmation for this essence; and I often use these folders while working with a client, showing the client the picture of the flower and having them read the definition and the affirmation, right then, while still very much in the energy of the consultation process. Sometimes, I use these folders as a diagnostic tool, and have the client flip through the folders and choose the essences that “jump out” at them.
Another diagnostic method that involves the client actively is to use a set of cards, one card for each essence. The client can be asked to either draw a number of cards blindly, or to select cards by looking at the pictures of the flowers and selecting those ones that she feels are “right” for her. A set of cards for use with the New Millennium “Super Essences” is being planned.
With the advent of the “Super Essences”, the diagnostic process has become easier, in that you have a lot less essences to have to choose from, and the names of the essences reflect what they are used for. By discussing with the client her symptoms, etc, it is possible to just look at the list of Super Essences (or at the bottles themselves), and it will be obvious which ones are needed.
Whatever method you use, remember that it is very important the client always feels comfortable and self-empowered.
So, the client leaves your clinic, clutching his little bottle of flower essences, feeling a lot better than when he walked in the door. And that's it! Job done! “Next please!” We can forget all about the guy who has just left.
Wrong! For the client, this is only the beginning.
While it is true that, in general, therapies like flower essences work in a very gentle, quite subtle way, and that most of the healing takes place at a deep level where the conscious mind does not need to be involved, there is still a place for the client to take an active part in the healing process.
My usual practice is to give the client a list of the essences that is in the treatment bottle, with brief definitions of what each essence is for, and a suggestion that he look up the details on this website. This is part of the client empowerment process, and she can then, if she wishes, look at this list from time to time during the course of the treatment. The words of the definition of each essence is a part of the totality of the energy of that essence, and, for some people, reading the words can be an important part of the healing process.
With the “Super-Essences”, this is not quite so important, as the name of each Super-Essence encapsulates the energy of the issue, so a simple list of which ones are in the mixture may be all that is needed.
There is the practical consideration of how to produce such a list for each client. Mary Garbely used to write out such a list by hand. Before I developed this website, my favored method was to produce a list of the essences on my computer (by cutting and pasting in a spreadsheet), and to print out the list on my laser printer for the client to take. Now that I have this website, I use the website as a resource for the client to look up the essences, either by giving them a written list of the essences, or, for EMail clients, by making them up a “personal page” that lists their essences with click-able links for each essence to take them to the “On-Line Healing” page for that essence.
I have found that with most of my clients, there are usually one or two “key” essences (or Super-Essence), in any essence mix that represent the main issue that this person is working with right now. I sometimes test intuitively to find out which essence(s) is the “key essence”. Often, the “key essence” is obvious, as it is the one that really embodies the main symptom that the client is exhibiting.
It is often useful to highlight the “key essence” (or the key Super-Essence) for the client, by, for example, writing down the key part of the definition of the “key essence”, or a few words about the issue that this key essence relates to.
Another very useful thing to write down, for many clients, is the affirmation that belongs to the “key essence” (or key Super-Essence). Or, if it feels right to you to do this, you can make up a suitable affirmation for each of your clients.
By using an affirmation during their healing process, and by thinking about the definition of the “key essence” (or key Super-Essence), the client will feel self-empowered. Repeating the affirmation signals to the person's sub-conscious mind that it is time to let go of the old energy and move on.
Concerning the question of repeat treatments, I usually make it plain to my clients, right at the beginning, that they will get the most benefit by undertaking a continuing course of treatment. It requires some diplomacy by the practitioner not to appear to be just “touting for extra business”.
It is often useful to set an appointment date for the next consultation before the client leaves the clinic. After all, other therapists do this: eg. dentists, physiotherapists, homeopaths, etc; so why should we be any different?
I usually test intuitively, by asking the question “When will this person be ready for the next treatment?” I then explain to the client that it is my recommendation that they come back in (say ) three or four weeks, but also making it plain that this is their decision (remember the self-empowerment!).
Click here to go to the page on Dispensing of Essences, ie. the practical,
nitty-gritty, hands-on, details of messing about with the actual bottles, mixing up a mixture
for the client into a “treatment bottle”, etc.