I’ve pondered over the last few days just what my job is as a therapist. I think a lot of people think that the role of a therapist – any therapist – is to make people better. To heal their ailments. I don’t see that as my job. I don’t heal people.
Instead, I’m a facilitator. I help my clients to achieve their goals, or work on what ails them. Sound Therapy is an energy medicine, because sound is just energy after all. My job is to enable those sound waves to flow, having listened to my clients and determined which combination of instruments would be most beneficial for them.
In group work, such as gong baths and the New and Full Moon sessions, I do this for up to twelve people at once. I use a format set by me for the instruments, choosing what I think would work best for the group before me. Aside from playing, I also need to hold the space for those clients. Some will go on a journey of sorts during a sound bath. Some see visions or whole stories playing out before them. Some get emotional. Some clients have a release – either of emotion or something else they’ve held on to.
My job when someone is seemingly upset is not to stop playing and rush to comfort them (much as I would like to) but to hold the space for them to do just that. Whilst I’m playing, I’m looking at my clients in turn, checking that everyone is OK. When someone has a big release, I don’t stop, but I may alter what I’m playing, holding that space for them to work through what they need to release. And I never take my eyes off them. I watch for signs that might suggest a client has moved from release to genuine distress; for signs that I might need to step in. So far, I’ve never needed to step in.
“The phrase ‘holding space’ is so widely used in the healing community, though admittedly when I first heard it, I was baffled. It was the early days of being a healer, and at the end of a session one of my clients said to me “you hold space so well, thank you.” It took me awhile to realise what she’d actually said is she’d felt safe, seen and heard, and that all of what she’d shared had been welcomed, rather than judged.
Mel Farrugia, Kinesiologist + Facilitator
When someone has a release in a group setting, it adds extra dimensions to my job. I’m still facilitating the flow of sound energy to the clients. I’m still holding space for them all. I’m holding space for the client experiencing a big release, and watching them carefully. And I need to hold another kind of space for others in the group; for those whose instinct when they hear a friend or group member in distress is to reach out and comfort. It’s distressing for them to see or hear someone else in this moment and of course they want to help. I need to create a space for them to feel comfortable letting that person go through that release. It becomes quite the juggling act!
However, letting things play out has always been the right decision in my experience. Afterwards, there are opportunities to comfort, to listen (if the person wants to share with others what happened for them). I’ve never yet had a client who, having experienced release during a session, felt that it was a negative thing for them to go through.
This then, is my job. To facilitate, to hold space, to listen, to give clients the right tools for the job of wholing themselves.