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Tuesday, May. 16th 2017

Reiki Ethics Knowledge

Check Your Reiki Ethics’ Knowledge
By Karen Harrison, Ed.S, L C P C , L C M F T, A A S E C T
First published in Reiki News Magazine Winter 2015

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your practice of Reiki? Have you ever wondered if a sit-
uation was an ethical violation? This article is designed
to acquaint or update you with Reiki ethics by comparing two
Reiki business models in order for you to find the ethical chal-
lenges in the first one. You may even find some humor in the
challenges with the first business model!

Ethical guidelines are very practical in that they inform prac-
titioners about the best practices and the standards of care for
their profession. Ethics and legal issues are separate but do often
overlap. If you have a Reiki business, it is important that you fol-
low the code of ethics for Reiki as well as any applicable laws for
your state, county or city. I often refer to the code of ethics as suc-
cess practices for your Reiki business because it will guide you in
being successful. Violating any of the code of ethics is likely to
cause you problems. Most practitioners desire to practice ethical-
ly, but they are sometimes unaware of the guidelines in the code
of ethics or how to implement them. There are gray areas and
dilemmas that can arise in practice and occasionally, keeping to
one ethical code guideline may seem to violate another.

The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
The International Center for Reiki Training Reiki Membership
Association (RMA) created a Code of Ethics1 in order to honor the
public trust in Reiki practitioners by setting standards for ethical
practice. The ethical standards define professional expectations of
Reiki practitioners. According to the Ethics Resource Center, “A
code of conduct is intended to be a central guide and reference for
users in support of day-to-day decision making. It is meant to clari-
fy an organization’s mission, values and principles, linking them
with standards of professional conduct.”2 The RMA also has a Stan-
dards of Practice guide that applies only to members of the organi-
zation.3 The Standards of Practice guides members in how to con-
duct their Reiki teaching and practice sessions and is more specific
than the Code of Ethics. While violating the Standards of Practice
does not constitute an ethical violation, the Standards are designed
to guide members with best practices. Whether or not you are a
member of the RMA, you may choose to follow the Standards of
Practice. A teacher or practitioner may also choose to teach in a dif-
ferent way than is suggested by the Standards of Practice. For
instance, he or she might combine Reiki I and II into a one-day
course consisting of seven hours, while the Standards of Practice for
members of the RMA requires that Reiki I and II be taught over a
minimum of 10 hours, which does not include lunch. If the teacher
desires to teach in a different way than is outlined by this particular
standard, the teacher would be better served by remaining an inde-
pendent practitioner with his or her own well-conceived Standards
of Practice or by joining a different organization that has a good set
of standards that is more reflective of the teacher’s practice.

Benefits of the Code of Ethics
Having a code of ethics can help Reiki practitioners have a more
professional image in the mind of the public and may assist in keep-
ing Reiki free from any potential outside regulations. “Codes of con-
duct offer an invaluable opportunity for responsible organizations to
create a positive public identity for themselves, which can lead to a
more supportive political and regulatory environment and an
increased level of public confidence and trust among important
constituencies and stakeholders.”4 The International Association of
Reiki Professionals (IARP) also has a very similar Code of Ethics.5
And, for another detailed code of ethics, you can consult the UK
Reiki Federation Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.6 These
ethical codes may help you with additional specific questions if the
code you are consulting doesn’t provide enough detail.

Can you Identify the Ethical Challenges?
Two hypothetical Reiki Masters, Cindy and Susan, set up their
practices. See if you can identify the ethical challenges in Cindy’s
practices and determine which are ethical challenges and which
apply to the Standards of Practice, which may be considered
optional, according to whether or not you belong to the RMA.
1 www.reikimembership.com/Code_of_Ethics.aspx.
2 www.ethics.org/newsite/research/free-toolkit/code-of-conduct.
3 www.reikimembership.com/Code_of_Ethics.aspx.
4 Dawn-Marie Driscoll and W. Michael Hoffman, Ethics Matters: How to
Implement Values-Driven Management, (Boston, MA: Bentley College Cen-
ter for Business Ethics, 2000), 77.
5 iarp.org/iarp-code-ethics/.
6 www.reikifed.co.uk/about-us/key-documents/code-of-ethics.

Cindy’s Business
Cindy received all her Reiki training online in a correspondence
course. She had always been able to feel and sense energy so she
thought that the actual training was really just a formality. Cindy’s
teenage son set up a basic website for her, advertising that she was a
skilled Reiki Master. While searching the web, Cindy found some
nice pictures to place on her website. A few months later, a well-
known company contacted her and imposed a large fine for her
unauthorized use of two of the images, which were copyrighted.
Cindy was excited to establish her Reiki business and begin
seeing clients. She purchased a massage table and set it up in a
spare room in her home. When she spoke with her first potential
client, she said to come on over and try out Reiki. During the ses-
sion, the children ran through the house and the dog whined at
the door. When Cindy opened the door to settle the dog, he tried
to jump up onto the Reiki table, scaring her client.

Before the session, Cindy used an intake form and found out
that her client had cancer and suffered from depression. During
her online course she had read stories about people experiencing
cures from cancer and depression so she told her client that Reiki
could cure her cancer and that she didn’t need to take antidepres-
sant pills any more as long as she continued weekly Reiki sessions
with her. Cindy used Byosen scanning on her client and found a
blockage over her heart. She told her client that she had a heart
arrhythmia. At the end of the session, Cindy asked for a fee,
which surprised her client because the client thought she was try-
ing out Reiki for free.

After giving Reiki to a few clients, Cindy decided it was
time to teach. She gathered a few well-known Reiki books
together, copied important pages out of them and stapled them
together to give to her students. During class, she shared suc-
cess stories from her clients, including many details about the
clients’ situations. One of her students recognized the client as
someone she knew. Later the client’s attorney contacted her for
breach of confidentiality.

Cindy told her students that it is traditional in Reiki to only
study with one teacher and that they should stay with her for all
levels. She offered Reiki Master classes to them as early as the
weekend following Levels I and II. Cindy didn’t want her stu-
dents to become her competition so she told them they should
not practice Reiki professionally nor charge for their sessions. If
they really wanted to teach, they should only teach in other cities
so they wouldn’t be direct competition.

Cindy set up a monthly Reiki share group. She did a great
job advertising it and other Reiki Masters from the area came to
give and receive Reiki. Cindy told the other practitioners that
they didn’t have the real Reiki because they had studied
through another lineage.

In spite of her problems, Cindy’s business continued and
clients began coming to her home. She received a notice from
her homeowner’s association that she seemed to be operating a
business out of her home, which violated the homeowner’s asso-
ciation rules and the rules of the city in which she lived.

Susan’s Business
Susan studied Reiki with a teacher who had many years of
experience. In order to be proficient, Susan practiced Reiki on
herself, her family, her friends, her pets and her plants and pro-
gressed through to the Reiki Master level over the course of a
year. Susan’s teenage son set up a basic website for her. For the
images on the website, Susan used photos she had taken and also
found some free images on the web by searching for free images.
She was very careful to not choose copyrighted images or select
images she found with the search engine without being able to
verify if they were copyright- and royalty-free. She did find one
image she really liked that had a fee and she gladly paid for it. On
her website, she discussed her training background, what takes
place in a Reiki session, the subjects covered in her classes, the
amount of time spent in sessions and classes and the fee charged.
Susan had a spare room in her home and set up a massage table.
Then she read over the rules of her homeowner’s association as well
as the city business code and found neither allowed a home business
with customers. While she thought she could probably get away
with it in the initial stages when she had few clients, ultimately, she
decided that she didn’t want to operate a business that was in vio-
lation of any codes. So she sublet an office from a local massage
therapist and applied for an occupational permit or business license
to operate her business in the city, which her city required.

For sessions, Susan used the intake form from her Reiki I and II
manual. Her first client had cancer and suffered from depression and
asked if he could be cured with Reiki. Susan told her client that
Reiki can be very valuable for stress reduction and relaxation,
which can help the body to heal and that long term imbalances may
require multiple sessions, but that Reiki doesn’t provide a cure and
the client should seek care with a licensed health care provider. The
client then asked if he might be able to decrease his antidepressant
medication if he had regular Reiki sessions. Susan told him that
changes to his medication were to be decided between him and his
doctor and that it might be helpful to have the doctor monitor the
dosages while he was receiving Reiki. Susan used Byosen scanning
on her client and found a blockage over his heart. She asked if he
was aware of any issue in this area and when he said no, she suggest-
ed that he speak with his doctor about this. Although Susan was
skilled in several other modalities, this client had booked a Reiki
session so Susan only used Reiki in his session. At the end of the ses-
sion, Susan collected the prearranged fee for the session.

Susan operated her Reiki practice for several months and then
her clients began asking her to teach. She ordered a Reiki manu-
al for each student from a well-respected source. By this time,
Susan had several success stories. In advance of the classes, she
asked three of her clients if they would be willing to have their
stories shared, and they all agreed upon what would be shared.
Then she documented it in writing and placed it in the appropri-
ate file. Susan required that her students practice at the Reiki II
level for six months before taking Advanced Reiki Training and
the Reiki Master Class. Susan informed her students that she was
available for questions by email or phone and that if she didn’t
know the answer, she always consulted her mentor. She encour-
aged them to practice daily on themselves, their family and
friends and to start their own Reiki practices if they felt so guid-
ed. She also encouraged them to teach.

She began offering a monthly Reiki Circle where her students
could come and practice Reiki. Because she wanted to expand
the circle, she placed information about it on a well-known
online meet-up site. On the meetup site, she indicated that the
circle was open to everyone, whether people were familiar with
Reiki or simply interested in learning more about healing
options. Her goal was to create community as well as advertise
and spread Reiki. She welcomed Reiki practitioners and Reiki
Masters from all lineages at her public Reiki Circle.

There are many potential ways to address challenging situa-
tions that occasionally arise in a busy Reiki practice. As is taught
in all ethics courses, consult with your mentor or one or more col-
leagues when you have an ethical challenge or even a gray area
with which you are unsure how to proceed. Then document the
discussion and your course of action in your client’s file. In some
difficult cases, consulting with an attorney who specializes in rep-
resenting the healing arts in your state can be very helpful. I once
sought out such a consult, and it was well worth the peace of
mind it brought me. He was able to research the applicable laws
for the state and suggest a course of action. In addition to con-
sulting, send Reiki to the situation and ask for Divine Guidance.
In closing, I’d like to share Laurelle Gaia’s words from “The Eth-
ical Practice of Reiki.” “The practice of Reiki is gaining much wider
recognition in the public sector. I feel that we as practitioners have
a responsibility to conduct ourselves with compassion, honesty and
integrity, and in a professional manner. As we each do our part, we
help more people become aware of the value of Reiki. By expand-
ing this awareness, there is a deeper understanding of the potential
for the healing and spiritual growth that Reiki offers.”7

I hope that these two case studies have helped to translate an
ethical code into everyday practice, that you will be more able to
recognize ethical dilemmas and that you have gained ideas on
how you might proceed. May the Reiki Code of Ethics guide you
to even greater success.
Now you have had a chance to compare the two business
models. Were you able to spot the ethical challenges and also dis-
cern which related to the Code of Ethics and which to the Stan-
dards of Practice? For fun, look up the Reiki Ethical Principle
that corresponds to each of the problems you found with Cindy’s
business. The Reiki Code of Ethics from the International Cen-
ter for Reiki Training as well as the Standards of Practice follow
this article. If you are stumped, re-read Susan’s business model to
help you see how she handled these issues in her business.

Karen Harrison is an Usui/Holy Fire and Holy Fire
Karuna Reiki® Senior Licensed Reiki Master Teacher
with the ICRT. Additionally, she teaches Ipsalu
Tantra Kriya Yoga and essential oil classes. She can
be contacted by email at reiki@karenharrison.net,
through her website at www.karenharrison.net or
by phone at 816.523.4440.7
Laurelle Shanti Gaia, “The Ethical Practice of Reiki,” Reiki News Magazine,
Spring 2011, 58.

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