Proceedings: 2003 2004 2005 2006 Next Conference
Janet Nestor, MA LPC
Center of Well-Being
1316 Ashley Square
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Radiant Energies Balance: A Comprehensive Somatic Energy Psychology
Janet Nestor, MA LPC Holistic Mental Health Counselor and Energy Therapist
Philip Warren, the psychologist who developed Radiant Energies Balance (REB), is currently professor emeritus at Kwantlien University College in Canada. I work as a contributing practitioner developer of REB, and in the past few years have used it to work with dozens of men and women suffering form anxiety and panic disorder, post traumatic stress, chronic physical health issues as well as with college athletes and performers interested in enhancing their abilities and increasing their focus. REB utilizes the wisdom of various energy modalities, among them EMDR, Heart Math, Reiki, One Brain, and the work of Donna Eden. Originally, REB was viewed as a self-help tool that could be used in therapy, but as more and more clients were treated, we realized that REB worked best if first facilitated in a therapeutic setting by trained mental health professionals.
I believe that we are happier, more compassionate and successful human beings when we live in love from our hearts. REB is a heart-centered process that seeks to help individuals live and function harmoniously and joyfully in their homes and in their personal relationships, and in their social and work environments. In my work using REB as a healing process, I do not focus on REB as the agent of change, but I create a situation in which each individual can visualize themselves working to make positive change through the therapeutic use of REB. The focus is self-responsibility and REB is a tool that allows an individual to take responsibility for his or her own mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.
REB is an autonomic nervous system balance utilizing four of the body's primary energy meridians known as the strange flows. The Strange Flows include the central and governing vessels and the spleen and triple warmer meridians. REB is a body psychotherapy, or a somatic release psychotherapy, because it uses the body's systems to stimulate and release the indicators of stress and the issues and thought processes associated with the stress. Symptoms like tight shoulders, tight chest and restricted shallow breathing, lower back stiffness and pain, stress and pressure in the eyes and head, dizziness and physical weakness are reduced or eliminated. Stressful conscious memories and body memory of traumatic events are neutralized.
REB allows an anxious or apprehensive individual to carry a dynamic intervention technique with them because it is an uncomplicated and convenient body posture. The REB posture and the associated REB techniques used together simultaneously balance the autonomic nervous system and the emotions associated with a given issue. In other words, REB establishes a physical and energetic environment that levels out the intensity of feelings while the individual is talking about them or is experiencing them. After an individual masters REB in a therapeutic setting and has learned to trust the process, it is used at work, while attending social and sporting events and during dentist and doctors office visits, and it can safely be used during any medical procedure that can accommodate the posture. I personally use the REB posture when I go to the dentist because a dental visit is a very stressful event for me. I do not like to have my teeth cleaned or to have my gums numbed. With REB, I get comfortable in the dental chair and move immediately into the posture. This simple act allows me to have needed dental care and feel reasonably calm and safe while the work is completed.
Athletes and performers have used REB very successfully in much the same way as any stressed or anxious person uses it. After learning the process, these clients can battle pre event nerves, can deepen their level of focus, and maintain or heighten their competitive or performance edge. This works the same way for a weekend golfer as it does for elite athletes and performers.
When facilitated by a trained professional, REB is safe for almost anyone to use. It is safe to use when individuals are suffering from chronic heart failure and it can be used with women who are experiencing high-risk pregnancy. It is gentle enough to be used with clients facing end of life challenges and it certainly is beneficial to their family members especially when family is serving as the primary care givers. It is used with all mental health issues; however, there are warnings for use with bi-polar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. With these disorders, especially if panic is a part of the response pattern, the first few sessions should last no longer, than ten minutes and the designated intention should have a SUDS level (subjective unit of distress level) no higher than 5 or 6 on a 0 to 10 point scale. Also with panic disorder, the facilitator needs to explore the individual's response to the feelings of relaxation prior to the first session. If the panic client is hyper sensitive to the body changes associated with relaxation, the warnings associated with bi-polar disorder and PTSD apply. Once a range of safety is established, the client and the therapist can proceed in total confidence, including incorporating the self-help protocol into the client's self-management techniques.
One panic disorder client comes to mind as an example of how significantly a client can benefit from REB. Beth, a 38-year-old woman and mother, came to the office suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and debilitating panic disorder that originated in childhood as the result of emotional and sexual abuse. Divorced and a survivor of several failed relationships, she had a deep desire to establish a new and successful romantic relationship with a man she recently met. She was heavily medicated and had difficulty keeping jobs because she missed too much work due to panic attacks. Swallowing pills and food evoked fear and panic, as did driving a car, darkness, change of any kind including the change of seasons and the change in hormonal levels in her body. She was afraid of intimacy and sexuality and suffered from an exceptionally negative body image that caused her to be concerned about being over weight at size 6 and to worry about her complexion even thought it was perfect, and to constantly worry about hair and nails even as she made repetitive trips to the salon. She was afraid to fly and she was very afraid of being alone. She was socially phobic and unable to eat at a restaurant or with a group of friends. She had endured several years of debilitating agoraphobia, although at the time of her initial appointment she had been free of agoraphobia for several years. With therapeutic REB and self-help REB, she was able to drive herself to work, she was able to fly across country to be with her boyfriend, and she was able to stay alone in a mountain cabin while her boyfriend worked. She was able to solidly establish and maintain the romantic relationship she so desired, but most impressively she was able to reduce the amount of medication she was taking. (Story shared with permission of the client)
What does a REB session look like and how is it accomplished? My sessions last approximately 90 minutes. It is essential that the client be physically comfortable and it helps if there is an established positive relationship between client and therapist. Before the actual work begins, the client is led in some activities that help the individual awaken and flow energy. An intention for the session is set and the level of distress is determined. My job during the session is to facilitate and to be a keen observer and listener. REB begins with the posture that connects the central and governing vessels and the spleen and triple warmer meridians. The client can be sitting or reclining. I prefer to have my clients recline because the posture can make the arms tired after a length of time. When reclining, the arms are supported by the body. If the client wants to remain in a seated position, I have them place pillows under their elbows and this allows them to participate in a session for a long time without complaining about their arms. To engage the radiant circuits the tongue is placed on the gum ridge behind the upper teeth, and your right hand is placed under your left breast with the right hand resting comfortably on the body. The left hand rests on the right arm about an inch above the right elbow. Sometimes the client can place the thumb of the left hand under the right arm while the fingers wrap around the right arm. This allows more comfort. If the client wants to engage the heart process in the session, the right thumb rests at the center of the chest while the fingers rest on the body under the left breast. The client works from a self-observation perspective, and is encouraged to notice body sensations, areas of body stress and discomfort, and to mention any relevant thoughts or insights. The facilitator might ask questions like "What are you feeling physically" and "What do you notice about what you are feeling and experiencing?" In this way, the client is led through the stressors and sensations that are causing all levels of distress. The release of the bothersome body symptoms is particularly important because there is little perception of progress if these symptoms are not lessened and released. When the intention has been met and the distress level is significantly lower, the session is closed. The client is led in an activity that allows for the inclusion and development of a heart feeling like increased inner peace and comfort. In general, I have noticed that clients seem to work within the perception of "the better I feel, the better I am." Thought processes are very important. As they perceive themselves as feeling better, they seem to handle the issues in their lives better and a positive snowball effect occurs. Feeling better equals increased quality of life and a better quality of life equals increased opportunities to feel better and function better. For information about REB theory and for a visual of the posture, please visit www.rebprotocol.net. There is an extensive bibliography of Philip Warren's research and many papers and articles written by Phillip Warren as well as articles by other authors related to the efficacy of the energy psychologies.
One of the effective elements of this particular therapy is client control of the length of the session and the intensity of the session. If a client becomes too concerned or fearful during the session, it is easy to end a session or to slow it down. The client simply disengages the posture and rests. Often once the client's arms are refreshed or the intensity of the session is lessened the client will resume work. If the client chooses not to continue, we simply end the session by doing a positive heart centered activity. Client trust in the process, trust in the ability to control the length of the session and the intensity of the release, creates an atmosphere of trust between the client and the therapist that is invaluable.
REB is safe and highly effective. Most anxiety clients are not familiar with deep relaxation and this can be disturbing and unfamiliar territory for some. It may take lots of reassurance and encouragement to help the client adjust to these new feelings. The complaints I hear most often are associated with the sensations associated with relaxation and associated with the feelings of exhaustion that can occur after a session. Exhaustion can occur after any dramatic energetic shift regardless of what energetic modality is used. I encourage my clients to schedule appointments at a time when they do not have to go back to work and when they have time to go home and reflect on the positive changes. Panic attacks can happen during a session, although they rarely do. In reality, in session panic can be classified as a desired outcome. The client learns in a very structured and safe environment that REB is safe and effective and can end an attack quickly and safely, even if it occurs outside of therapy. Oddly enough, anxiety and panic in this safe environment creates trust in self, trust in the therapist and the therapy, and trust in the ability of REB to manage extreme stress situations. Obviously, this is not a pleasant experience, but it is a teachable moment that can have long-range positive effects for the client across all environments.
Therapeutic goals for panic clients are two fold. First, they are taught to recognize the environmental cues, the emotional, physical and multi-sensory cues that can lead to an attack. Identifying these patterns and having the ability to initiate a preventative intervention is a necessary and empowering skill. Managing the symptoms that can lead to an attack result in increased self-confidence and self worth and a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. As life begins to open up for the client, they find themselves engaging in activities that they were once unable to enjoy. Clients who often find themselves becoming anxious while driving can regain ability to drive a car using REB. Obviously, this requires training, practice and specific planning in the office prior to driving. Driving in safe areas like parking lots and driving along quiet neighborhood streets is a way to begin. When the client feels strong enough to attempt driving, he or she is instructed to deep breathe through the nose, and told to pull to the side of the road and sit quietly in the REB posture using the self-help protocol and any other specialized instructions. After doing this multiple times, along with deep breathing and other self-empowering homework assignments, an individual can regain the ability to stay calm while driving. This includes taking children to school, driving car pools and driving to and from work.
Secondly, it is helpful if a significant other is willing to learn the client's stress and anxiety cues and learn to coach the client for prevention and intervention. REB coaching skills instill the emotional ability and the skill to help the client when necessary. The "coach" no longer feels alone, and the "coach" does not fall victim to the client's disorder. In addition, the client and the coach have a self-help modality that they can practice together. The posture and deep breathing can be used as a form of meditation and this is a very helpful and bonding activity when done in partnership. As a result, the couple feels increased security, the client feels increased safety in the living environment, the partner feels empowered by new coping skills, and both feel better physically and emotionally due to the meditative practice and the accumulative calming effects.
I am including one of the self-help protocols so that you can have some practical experience with this dynamic process. I am also going to teach you a heart mudra that can act as a very efficient and healing end to a self-help session.
Radiant Energies Balance (REB)
DELTA LIFE SKILLS
Philip W. Warren, BA, Ph.C Professor Emeritus, and
Phone and voice mail: (604) 946-4963 4919.1 Toll free North America: 1-866-4963 Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The REB posture has an accumulative effect as well as an immediate calming effect. It can take an individual out of a full-blown panic attack when necessary. In the posture we connect and use four meridians of the body (spleen, triple warmer, governing and central vessels) which also have the dual role of Radiant Circuits (strange flows).
Set aside about 20 minutes free of phone, TV, family and friends. If you cannot do that, provide as much quiet as you can manage. The website provides an immediate emotional first aid version that is used "on the spot" and once learned, takes only a minute or so.
Get your energy flowing. Shake out your hands. Move your body and concentrate on the inner intention (Desired Outcome or DO)
Set your intent (Desired Outcome or DO) for your session. It might be simply to feel more grounded and relaxed. It can be more complex like the daily generation of prolonged inner peace. See the list of suggested "core heart feelings" given below. Dedicate the session to your highest good and ask to be guided by your highest inner wisdom. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, call in spiritual helpers that might protect and guide you.
Take a subjective look (a "multi sensory survey") at the condition of your body when you get in touch with your issue and the intent (your Desired Outcome or DO) you have formulated. If your intent is to generate prolonged inner peace, how much inner peace do you now experience? On a scale of 0 to 10, determine how much inner peace you have. Zero will mean no inner peace. Ten means that your cup over flows with feelings of inner peace. Again, see the list of suggested "core heart feelings" given later.
Either sitting or reclining, move gently into the REB position. Close your eyes and gently rock from side to side if that helps to relax you.
REB position: Arms folded across your chest. Right arm lies beneath your left breast. Left arm lies gently on top of your right arm and your left hand rests on your right arm just above the elbow. A useful refinement, if possible, is for the right fingers to lie gently under your left breast and for your right thumb to lie on your chest between your breasts. You will need to try each hand position to see which feels best for you and this may change according to the intent you formulate. Allow your tongue to rest gently behind your upper teeth and breathe through your nose.
2. Keep your intent (Desired Outcome or DO) in your mind while you relax in the REB posture, noticing how your body responds to the process. Shoulders will relax, muscles throughout your body will relax. Simply notice the thoughts and feelings that float into your mind or through your body. Take great care not to attach to any of the feelings or thoughts. Let them flow freely in and out. You are allowing a flow and release to occur in order to reach your intent (DO).
3. As you go through this "multi sensory survey" breathe deeply through your nose from the stomach and symbolically breathe in the good, your intent (DO) and out the bad.
4. When you feel that your level of goal attainment (DO) has reached a desirable level - hopefully at a 7 or 8 or above - you are ready to close the session.
5. With your arms still in REB position, simply concentrate on the generated feeling and give gratitude for your achievement. Let your hands rest at your heart for as long as you need to immerse yourself in your intent (DO); allowing other positive heart feelings like safety and security flow through you.
REB opens and closes with a gentle process. Because of time considerations at the conference, we closed the self-help process with a Heart Mudra. For complete information regarding the self-help process, please see www.rebprotocol.net.
Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Your knees are slightly bent to allow energy to flow. Arms are at your side. On the inhale bring your arms up to waist high, palms facing down and feel the energy of the earth connect with your palms. Turn palms up and continue circling up until your hands are joined over your head in the prayer position. Gently stretch upward. On the exhale bring the hands down the front of your body to your heart area and begin the heart mudra hold.
Focus on the positive heart feelings that you are working to develop. Begin to breathe through the nose and inhale deeply from the diaphragm, breathing in positive energy and then exhaling any energy that does not support your desired outcome. Breathe in this fashion throughout this exercise.
To create the heart mudra, place the right hand on your heart chakra in the middle of your chest. Fingers are open wide with the little finger pointing down and the thumb pointing toward your chin. The left hand is placed over the right with the little finger and the thumb placed directly over those of the right hand. Hold hands in this position until the exercise is complete.
As you breathe in the good and exhale the bad, imagine your whole body being filled with your Desired Outcome. The positive energy is flowing through your body with each breath and touching each cell and each thought with its richness. In this way you are filling up with positive energy. Carry this energy with you into the day and beyond. Hold the heart mudra and these thoughts until you are ready to end the session. When ready, move gently forward into the rest of your day.