Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dual Relationships

A long time ago, between the time rocks were soft and fire was "Ouch, ouch, hot thing..." I had a very intense sexual(I wouldn't say romantic, there was a bit too much BDSM for it to meet my romantic needs) relationship with the person that was doing spirit and energy work with me. I learned a lot. But I came away with the idea that this was the way relationships between workers and clients were constructed.

However, my... I'm not sure what to call it, my vision of what is right in the universe, or my conscience or my honor, let me know that despite my early modeling, relationships with the people you worked on weren't right.

My mother was a mental health worker and when I was in my late twenties I picked up one of her books on ethics. Surprise, surprise, there where some great guidelines on the worker/client dynamic and relationship. It gave me a starting point to construct some personal guidelines.

1)There are intense feelings that occur between worker and client. You are sharing energy and experiences that are painful, sorrowful and transformative. It creates a bond. But it is your responsibility as the worker to know that bond is NOT romantic in nature. And I know this from personal experience, if you try to turn that bond into a romantic relationship, you will not be happy. Pity kills love just as surely as if you stabbed it through the heart.

2) There are some people that you just can't help. Not because they are bad people or you are a bad worker, but because there is some sort of energy between you, good or bad. Rather than get elbow deep in the problem and find you are stuck, take a step back when some one comes to you for work, meditate on it, ask your gods or wights or spirit guides if this is what you should be doing. If any indications come back to you in the negative, refer, refer, refer. That's why you have a network of colleagues, even if its only your local Pagan Meetup.

3)If you get stuck in a dual relationship(and it happens, despite your best intentions) ask for help to get perspective on it. It doesn't mean you are a horrible person. You made a mistake. The sooner you confront that mistake and work out how to make it right, the less damage you will do, to yourself as well as your client.

Now, I have the added sticky wicket of using sexual techniques to heal. That makes feelings harder to separate out for both parties. And despite the honest stated and exhaustively discussed intentions that this is NOT relationship but healing oriented, people's feelings still get tangled up and that euphoria of pain relief,either emotional or physical, or depth of gratitude gets confused with love. If that happens, stop using sexual techniques with that client. If it continues to be a problem, refer, refer, refer.

And get help yourself. It's easy for us to blame ourselves when things go awry. We assume because we are the workers, we should never make mistakes.We do. So own up to it, work to make it right, learn from it and MOVE ON. There is nothing sadder than a worker that has crippled themselves or stop working because they made a mistake. We are just as human as our clients, with all their needs and desires. We try to treat them with the utmost compassion and care. We need to treat ourselves with the same.

But what if you are both energy workers that are trading work back and forth?
This one is more of a grey area for me.
We live in a society where finding a person that doesn't think we are totally and completely whackadoo is difficult and fraught with the twin perils of scientifically based disbelief and spiritual apathy. So that other person or people we find as helpmate and lover usually work with energy/spirits/gods/wights also.
My current beloved is a ceremonial magician, Reiki Master and massage therapist. He teaches me as much as I teach him. Dual relationship? It could be construed as such. But we didn't approach the relationship as worker/client or teacher/student. The relationship is primarily romantic with working aspects on the side. The intent is different, therefore to me, it makes the relationship different.

Your mileage will most certainly vary.

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