Interview with Cynthia Hutchison, DNSc, RN, HTCP/I, HTP Program Director

In this in-depth interview, Cynthia Hutchison discusses Healing Touch and her Practice.

Question: Describe how you provide HT sessions…

Cynthia: I use the 10 step Healing Touch sequence taught in the Healing Touch Practice curriculum to guide the steps of a session. These steps include my own inner preparation, an intake or update interview with the client, an energetic assessment, the HT treatment (clients are usually lying comfortably on a treatment table), a post treatment assessment and evaluation based on both of our experiences, and discussion, including an empowering plan of care. Click here to see the Intake Interview Form that I use to guide getting to know each other.

Based on your history, healing intentions, beliefs and preferences, I begin the intervention portion of the session by lightly touching your head or shoulders and speaking our mutual intention for healing to set the sacred space necessary to create a feeling of safety and trust in the process. This is followed by one or more specific HT methods that are appropriate for the condition and intention for healing. This portion of the session is typically done in silence (or with quiet music) to help facilitate the relaxation response and other possible healing responses. Sometimes clients prefer to process some of their thoughts or experiences during the treatment and this can also be very effective. With my background in psychotherapy and transpersonal work, I am comfortable with various responses that may emerge.

At the end of the session, we will discuss your and my experience, and I will support your integrating it into your life and beliefs to support your growth and healing. We will also discuss one or more plans of care to maintain the momentum of healing that has occurred based on the increased flow of energy and renewed sense of balance and clearing typically experienced by the end of a session, or within a day or so afterward. The vast majority of recipients experience the relaxation response which supports healing at physical, emotional and mental levels of being.

I encourage clients receiving a series of HT sessions to consider learning and applying some basic HT methods to the self as a step towared empowering oneself to learn how to facilitate enhanced self-healing. I will teach you how to do this and will provide references/sources to support this process.

Question: In what location do you administer Healing Touch?

Cynthia: I normally provide Healing Touch sessions at my office, and I also administer them at health care facilities or homes on an as-needed basis.

Question: Is there a set number of sessions that the average client responds best to?

Cynthia: Mildly to moderately acute body-mind-spirit health issues or conditions often respond nicely after one full session. Responses may be experienced in as little as a brief five-fifteen minute session in a first aid or informal situation! Generally, I recommend a set of three to four weekly sessions for a specifically identified health issue that has been of concern. This could be related to a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issue.

Clients more committed to getting to the root or source of a habit, unhealthy pattern, or health concern may wish to commit to three-four weekly sessions initially. We would fully re-evaluate the goals and benefits after the sessions, and then choose a pattern of future treatments (possibly more spread apart) which would likely include the client’s commitment to participating responsibly in self-care that supports the healing process.

In some cases, I will recommend the support of one or more other health care practitioners (mainstream or holistic) who may offer a modality that could be of significant benefit, and is out of my legal scope of practice.

I will ask a client to sign an Informed Consent form at the beginning of our work together to help create clarity about our roles and relationships and to empower us in our work together. I see our client-practitioner relationship as a partnership in healing based on honesty, empowerment, responsibility, professionalism and compassion.

Question: Are there certain populations you specialize in?

Cynthia: Yes and No. I have been blessed to work with clients with many body-mind- spirit health issues and concerns over my many years as a nurse, energy medicine practitioner and Healing Touch Certified Practitioner. In that sense, I have a comfort level with most health situations and I am also comfortable providing sessions at homes and health care facilities, including hospital rooms, pre and post surgical care, in surgery care, intensive care units and nurseries. As an advanced practice nurse, health care staff have respected my presence at the request of patients who have requested HT treatments during the course of hospitalization. I am also willing to document in the patient’s hospital chart some basic notes about the session if the staff request me to do so.

The types of clients I have most experience with, all categories being about equal, include.

  1. Cancer care – Clients who combine both traditional cancer care (such as radiation and chemotherapy) as well as those who are utilizing only holistic methods
  2. Pain Management – This is related to chronic or acute pain, including back/neck pain, surgical pain, and pain of unknown origin i.e (fibromyalgia)
  3. Trauma Release – individuals who suffer with PTSD and residual symptoms of one or more past traumas. This usually takes a series of four-eight sessions, including homework and self care.
  4. Desire for Personal Growth and Deepened Spiritual Connection – This often includes some time dedicated to conversational exchange before and after each session, plus homework, such as journaling and other forms of self care
  5. Hospice Care – Support of both the dying person and the circle of family and friends. If desired, I will be happy to teach family and friends how to administer HT sessions to the client in between sessions.
  6. Surgical Care – I am available to help you prepare for surgery so that you can increase the positive response of the surgery and post surgical recovery. It may also be arranged for me to be present during surgery (either in the surgical suite or outside) for HT during surgery, as well as one or more post surgery sessions to enhance recovery.

Question: What do you charge for your sessions?

Cynthia: Based on my education, credentials and experience, I currently charge $80 per session (60 to 90 mins.) this includes a holistic, comprehensive Intake Interview which helps me to assess your needs and the best way to work with you.

I have put together some packages which reflect a percentage discount, as well as when a client commits to three or more sessions at a time.

I see some clients on a sliding scale basis, believing that this is a healthy financial and spiritual model out of which to live one’s vocational life. I do not want to turn anyone away who genuinely desires to receive Healing Touch and will do my best to co-create a plan that works for us both. In some cases, I will refer new clients who can afford very little income to go toward HT care to my HT apprentice mentees or to HT students who I feel will energetically match the client.

Like many practitioners, I do provide a percentage of sessions at no charge at a voluntary service or tithing as part of living out my own values and beliefs.

If traveling is required I will add a fee for this based on time and distance and will negotiate that with you.

Many clients end up taking a Level 1 (or more levels) of an Healing Touch class after seeing the benefits of receiving HT and develop a desire to learn more about HT and how to help others and the self.

Question: What Is Healing Touch?

Cynthia: Healing Touch an energy medicine modality grounded in both science and spirituality. Knowledgeable practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and healing. The practitioners use very light touch or hands in the energy field above the body either in a specific area or over the entire length of the physical body, depending on the need and time frame in which a session takes place. With a humble heart and a sense of genuine awe and gratitude, practitioners work from the belief that healing comes through a person and to another from Higher Power, not of one’s own. However, the practitioner must practice out of a knowledge base, and understanding of ethical practice and understanding of the human energy system. The practitioner maintains a mind and heart-set using intention for healing and knowledge of energy to facilitate clearing and balance in a recipient (or the self). Over a short period of time (several minutes to thirty or more minutes on the average), an opening up of restorative healthy/healthier flow begins to optimize mind-body-spirit health. The effect may be permanent or temporary. Those who receive HT over a series of sessions or on an ongoing basis for clearing and balancing report significant improvements in various areas of life as well as an overall sense of well-being as well and a sense of feeling empowered to tap into one’s own creative inner resources.

Question: Is there a Research Basis for HT?

Cynthia: As a natural complement to traditional western medical care, HT is practiced in a growing number of hospitals, rehabilitation and long term care centers, physical and occupational therapy centers, chemotherapy and radiation treatment centers, athletic clubs, massage and spa facilities, pediatric hospitals, hospices and schools. In addition, many indivduals, parents and family members learn the basics of Healing Touch in introductory or Level 1 class to use in the home setting or on one’s own family, friends or neighbors with health conditions. HTP has begun a Children’s Program to teach school age children how to use HT principles for self care and for helping others. Many spiritual centers and churches also are establishing HT clinics and services, with parish nurses trained in HT as an example. Click here to see the Healing Touch Research website.

Question: How does the Relaxation Response play a role in HT?

Cynthia: HT will empower a recipient to reconnect with the the body’s natural tendency to be as healthy as possible. Within a few minutes of a session, the energy that flows for the client’s highest good facilitates the relaxation response (in the vast majority of recipients) as one of the main mechanisms to restore or jump start physical and/or mental healing. By inviting the body to deeply relax, pain, anxiety and tension decrease or become dissipated or eliminated, and the body is enabled to align with its natural self healing processes. Physiological changes indicative of healthy response are frequently noted in blood pressure, circulation, metabolism, digestion, respiration and immune functioning.

Question: What are some other benefits of Healing Touch?

Cynthia: Healing Touch is safe, effective, non-invasive and affordable. It is administered while a client remains fully clothed. No specific belief system is required to benefit from HT. Treatments may be given while sitting up or lying down. Practitioners are skilled in creating sacred space so that the client feels safe to invite and respond to a healing process at whatever level is needed, be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. A specific Code of Ethics and Scope of Practice are honored by practitioners of HT. The skilled practitioner knows how to work with clients through an intake interview process, energetic assessment and through experience from working with others.

Question: What are the benefits of receiving Healing Touch?

Cynthia: Typically clients experience various degrees of body-mind-spirit peace and relaxation which allows one to release the effects of stress, illness, injury and trauma. Some clients have primarily physical responses, such as relief of pain, increased range of motion, improved mobility and increased energy. Others may have a primary response in the realm of emotion and thought such as peace of mind, decreased anxiety, clarity in thinking, or increase in confidence or self esteem. Many recipients also describe a deepened or new sense of connectedness with the spiritual self or with the spiritual world.

There is growing evidence that Healing Touch has been effective in providing support for a variety of health conditions, and has been known to:

  • Reduce or eliminate pain, both chronic and acute
  • Decrease anxiety and tension
  • Enhance recovery from surgery and reduce length of hospital stay
  • Reduce effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Reduce the effects of trauma
  • Provide comfort during the dying process
  • Deepen spiritual connection.

Question: Do recipients of HT need to believe in the treatment for it to be effective?

Cynthia: No, one does not need to believe in Healing Touch for it to be effective. A healthy skeptical attitude about any health care remedies or modalities is a good thing, based on the vast availability of various forms of health care, some which are legitimate and others with unknown or questionable benefits. The intention of a Healing Touch session may include one or more specific intentions for healing, but any particular intentions are also released for the highest good, based on the belief that neither the practitioner nor client may really know what is best for a client at that time. By trusting in the practitioner and the energy transferred from Higher Source, the body’s natural wisdom can accept what is beneficial on an energetic level.

The following disclaimer I wrote for the HTP Course of Studies Curriculum also applies to the practice of HT between a practitioner and client:

“The Healing Touch Program Curriculum and methods are based upon healing arts concepts and holistic nursing principles and theories, including acknowledgement of the spiritual dimension of human life. Practitioners and instructors of HT engage in a myriad of spiritual practices and come from backgrounds of all the major world religious streams and their various branches. The universal principles of HT, including the belief that conscious, international and compassionate touch can positively influence the health of another, is a belief shared by all who practice this healing art.”

The reader [of the HT curriculum] will note that spiritual principles are addressed in a generic way in order to hold universal appeal. No specific religious or spiritual belief is taught or promoted in the HT Program. Participants are invited to consider how her or his own individual or group beliefs can be translated or transferred from HTP curricular materials.

HT practitioners are free to incorporate their own spiritual beliefs and principles within their own practice to the extent that their clients feel free and empowered as a recipient of Healing Touch. For example, a practitioner and client sharing a specific religious orientation may choose to bring in concepts, beliefs or practices from their common faith which may beautifully enhance their healing work together.

Question: Is there a specific age group of people that respond better to Healing Touch than others?

Cynthia: Healing Touch is beneficial for people of all ages – from babies in utero to newborns and to those in all stages of the life cycle including the elderly and frail. Healing Touch administered near or at the time of death can be instrumental in facilitating a peaceful passage. Healing Touch is utilized in many health care facilities for both chronic and acute conditions including first aid and comfort care.

Question: Do I need a medical referral in order to receive Healing Touch?

Cynthia: No. A client is free to choose the type of mainstream, integrative or holistic health care that feel will be effective. Growing numbers of medical professionals are recommending Healing Touch as a restorative or preventive form of holistic health care. Many also recommend that patients/clients learn how to apply HT treatments to themselves to support their healing process.

Question: Where does Healing Touch fit in within the Spectrum of Health Care?

Cynthia: Healing Touch is considered a biofield therapy according to the National Institutes of Health. Biofield therapies, of which HT is well known and respected, are within the health field called Energy Medicine, which in turn is considered a branch of holistic integrative medicine increasingly recognized in mainstream health care. Biofield therapies are divided into two branches, those which use instrumentation and those which use the human capacities of heart and consciousness to affect positive change in a person or animal.