Therapists that work in the field of abuse and addiction, will be aware that the healing process may take some time and that each individuals case is unique and very different to the next, although some basic trends and patterns do exist from person to person. People may seek help with the healing process from professional therapists or organizations. They may also choose to heal themselves with the many forms of self-help books and courses that are available today.

Whether people decide to use a therapist, help themselves or choose both options, lasting changes may only arise if a conscious decision is made by an individual to look more deeply at their own experiences and begin to self-heal them. There are many ways to look more deeply at our experiences in relation to self-healing. Most therapists and organizations offer counselling, psychotherapy, psychiatry and cognitive behavioral therapy, although there are many others therapies that are available at present.

My own experience of self-healing and exploration has been through the study and use of complementary medicine as well as conventional methods. These complementary therapies were Crystal and Energy Healing, Bach Flower Therapy, Stress Therapy as well as Transpersonal Psychotherapy respectively.

Crystal and Energy Healing, is a subtle form of healing. It works by identifying and addressing aberrations, held within in the human subtle anatomy to restore relative harmony. The human subtle anatomy comprises of two main energy systems. These are the human subtle energy field (or aura) and the seven major human subtle energy centers (or chakras).

The human subtle energy field surrounds a person and is divided up into four layers. The physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The function of each layer is to hold and process an individuals thoughts and emotions etc. This includes their experiences. In good health, these layers all work together in relative harmony with each

other and this is reflected in a persons overall health and well- being.

The seven subtle energy centers or chakras each have a different function although the whole system strongly interrelated. They are divided into the base, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, brow and crown centers. Each finding its physical origin in those areas of the physical body (roughly in line with the seven major endocrine glands) and energetically move outwards into the human subtle energy field, in front of and behind a person. Their functions loosely relate to survival, sexuality, personal identity, loving relationships, personal creativity, intuition and spiritual aspirations respectively.

Both the human subtle energy field and subtle energy centres are interrelated. During experiences of abuse and addiction the human subtle anatomy may be affected, resulting in these experiences being held energetically, within the subtle anatomy. Crystal and Energy Healing, may be a useful tool for self-healing these experiences as it works directly

upon the human subtle anatomy. It does this by introducing and focusing healing energies that may clear, calm, energize or even transform aberrations remaining within the human subtle anatomy where it is needed most. By doing this it may restore relative harmony on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels i.e. the whole system. This type of healing may also be a very powerful tool for transformation and self-development. Because of this it is very important (as with any therapy) to use professionals and organizations that are bone fide and that also have experience working with abuse and addiction.

The Bach Flower Remedies were discovered and collected together into a complete system for self-healing by Dr Edward Bach. There are 38 remedies that work, by addressing mental and emotional states that we all experience as people.

Twelve remedies are referred to as The Twelve Healers. These remedies relate to peoples personality types. For example Agrimony relates to those who place a carefree and apparently jovial mask in front of hidden worry or suffering. This may be quite common with addiction.

The Seven Helpers are remedies for more chronic or long term states and conditions. For example Gorse is the remedy for people when they are in a hopeless state, with no ability or intent to try to resolve their situation. Again something that may be experienced more frequently with addictive states.

The Remaining Nineteen remedies, relate to daily life experiences and subsequent emotional reactive states. For example, Holly is the remedy support in states of anger. Most people experience numerous mental and emotional states collectively at any given time. This is why it may be necessary to take more than one remedy. It is advisable to work with between one and six remedies, because using too many remedies, can be less effective. Finding a properly qualified therapist is important, but because there are no side effects people may begin to use them themselves, which is a good way to start the self- healing process.

Any process of recovery from abuse and addiction usually has within it crises. A good remedy for this is The Five Flower or Rescue Remedy. This remedy contains the following five remedies, Clematis, Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose and Cherry Plum. Clematis helps when there is a loss of interest in present circumstances, with a generalized indifference and no effort to get well. Impatiens is the remedy for impatience. Impatience with oneself, with others and with the healing process in general. Star of Bethlehem helps in times of great distress and shock and is a good remedy to take long term in recovery. Rock Rose is the remedy to help in states of terror and is a good remedy to take in all cases of urgency. Finally Cherry Plum is helpful in states when there is a genuine fear of losing control with concern for the outcome of that loss of control.

Please note that all of the remedies do contain alcohol to preserve, so this type of remedy should be avoided in cases where alcohol has been a problem. Alternatively, subtle energy work with the remedies may be more appropriate. This is advisably carried out by a Subtle Energy Medicine Specialist. 

Stress Therapy is a mind and body maintenance program which helps people identify, clear and manage patterns of stress. Nowadays, stress is one of the main causes of disease. Stress therapy aims to help clients to recognize stress at its source and thereby enable them to effectively deal with it before it results in physical or other symptoms. In recovery stress can be a serious problem and may be one of the triggers that leads to relapse, as people often find it difficult to cope in such circumstances. Following abusive experiences people may also experience post traumatic shock. Some of the symptoms of this are:

* Hearing and seeing things

* Nightmares Poor sleeping patterns

* Emotional outbursts of anger and grief

* Easily terrified

* Emotional numbness

* Withdrawal from life and relationships

* Self-Harm

* Flashbacks about the event

* Guilt and shame

* Reliving a traumatic event Memory loss and depression

These symptoms usually start a few months after the event, but in a number of cases they may be delayed for many years. Stress is the bodies normal reaction to pressure, unfortunately, when that pressure is a very disturbing event, the reaction tends to be greater and may be held as a deep pattern of stress that may only be worked through with adequate care and compassion. Stress Therapy is a good way of slowly identifying and clearing these patterns that are the cause of the symptoms. It may also be

advisable to seek additional mental healthcare assistance wherever necessary.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy may be described in numerous ways and means something different to practicing therapists. It helps people to look at and deal with their experiences in a way that helps them understand themselves better. It acknowledges the spiritual aspect and nature of a person in relation to their experiences as well as bringing meaning to them. It is particularly helpful in assisting one integrate self-healing experiences on a physical level, by working through the emotional and mental difficulties in ways that suit each individuals purpose.

It is a powerful tool for transformation as long as there is some commitment to attend regularly and for some period of time, although this varies from person to person. Attending for longer periods of time should enable a trusting working relationship to develop, which in turn encourages openness. Openness to express oneself about difficult experiences, assists greatly in the healing process as it begins to uncover the events that may be affecting a person adversely.

By working through these issues it may be possible to create a better quality of life. In addition to this, the use of drawing and creative writing is an excellent way to express some of the emotions and thoughts attached to these experiences. This also helps a person to piece things together in a way that brings understanding. As with all therapies mentioned in this article it is of great importance that a properly trained and qualified therapist is involved in assisting in the recovery process.

Whichever route is taken to heal patterns of addiction, I feel that it is important to understand that patterns can be completely healed and let go of, so that individuals can regain a sense of personal power and identify with a more real sense of self, ultimately creating the life they would like.