We Feel Your Pain

People suffering from illness or emotional pain or those wanting to help are increasingly turning to healing circles.spiritual healing and support


Janet Conn, 59, a second-grade teacher, beat the odds and has been clear of metastatic colon cancer for more than six years. Despite her good fortune, she attends a monthly Sunday evening healing service at her synagogue. Thousands of others flock to similar healing groups on a regular basis.

In a world in which people are increasingly online rather than in line, a yearning for the comfort of community still exists. For those in physical or emotional pain, healing groups or circles fill this need.

The transfer of energy from one spiritual source to another is described as spiritual healing.
Many people have turned a medical condition around by cultivating a deep spiritual commitment.
Strong spiritual energy provides the support, courage and faith to follow through on a personal recovery program.
Scientists refer to this strong spiritual commitment as intrinsic belief.

The force behind these groups is the belief in the power of community, according to Elizabeth Stratton, a Connecticut spiritual healer, counselor and teacher, who says, "When people are able to share their physical symptoms and emotions and get beyond their individual difficulties, they create a supportive environment."

Most contemporary healing groups are rooted in ancient Native American culture, although other cultures have also used circle-based rituals for healing.

Intended to send energy to someone in need, today's gatherings can seem nothing short of miraculous in their ability to soothe the body and the spirit through prayer, meditation, and discussion. Dimmed lights, candlelight and background music usually enhance the setting.

People who join healing groups do so for a variety of reasons and many are transformed by participation. Some are suffering with debilitating illnesses or psychic pain, often related to physical illness. Many just want to recharge their batteries and find a deeper connection to life. Still others come to send energy to loved ones who are suffering.

However therapeutic a healing group may be, it is not a therapy group. Stratton explains, "A healing group differs from standard therapy because in a therapy group, the focus is on how you function in the world and with others. Spiritual healing is about self-exploration and the search for a deeper dimension of the soul."

While individual healing is at the core of a healing group, emotional support and healing energy are necessary components. And who can provide that better than the healed?

As Janet Conn says, "One time a month, I go to focus on me. In some ways, it's selfish because I'm there totally for me. I'll think about what I went through and where I am and I take the time to appreciate that I'm alive and healthy. But also, I go to give support to people going through difficult times."

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