Karen Harrison

Get in Touch!




Friday, Sep. 16th 2022

Reiki for Life Challenges and Trauma

Reiki for Life Challenges and Trauma

by Karen K. Harrison, EdS, LCPC, LCMFT, AASECT

First published in Reiki News Magazine Fall 2022

ReikiForLifeChallenges – click here to download


Mary (not her real name) came to see me because her husband was having an affair. She felt hurt and betrayed, yet she wanted to save her marriage. She talked her husband into working with me also. This story represents two client couples whom I helped with Reiki. One couple chose marriage counseling in addition to Reiki, and one did not. Both successfully overcame the experience and remained married. In addition, I have worked with individuals on overcoming affairs.

Our human experience commonly includes life challenges such as divorce, betrayal, caregiving, health challenges, death of loved ones, loss of a job, and more. And when life experiences are especially difficult, many consider them traumatic. “Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.”1 Through the years, I have used Reiki to work with accidents, assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence, murder, abortion, child abuse, and more. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, I use my counseling skills combined with Reiki to offer relief to clients. I will share several counseling techniques I combine with Reiki I find especially useful for life challenges and trauma. And the great news is many of your current techniques will work well whether you are a Reiki II practitioner, a Reiki Master, Karuna Reiki® Master, or ICRT Animal Reiki practitioner or Master.


Counseling Techniques Anyone Can Use

Reiki clients have frequently expressed to me their emotions are too much for a Reiki session, and they feel bad about sharing difficult experiences. To counter that, here is my favorite counseling saying to use in hard sessions. I state, “All your emotions are welcome here. It is a safe space to express yourself.” Then when the client is sharing, occasionally say things like, “That sounds really hard,” or “You must have felt X,” and guess what emotion the client might be feeling. If you guess wrong, they will usually correct you, and that helps the client to verbalize the feeling. Then to move on, say something like, “Let’s see what we can do with Reiki to help.” That signals to the client it is now okay to be silent and let the Reiki work. In addition, you can ask the client if they have thought about trying counseling in addition to Reiki and say they work well together. A good place to refer clients to find a therapist is www.psychologytoday.com. Many therapists list their practices there; clients can search by zip code, problem, insurance, and more.


Taking Care of Ourselves While Doing the Work

Some of our clients’ stories can be difficult to hear and hurt our hearts. Whether you are compassionate, an empath, or a highly sensitive person, it will be helpful to use various techniques to power up so as to protect and clear your energy field while working with difficult cases. I have written two articles that can help you, “Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People, Part One” and “Part Two,” on my website.2


Reiki Techniques to Try

Giving a regular Reiki session helps to release blockages in the energy field while providing calm and decreasing the intensity of difficult thoughts and emotions. Activate the Mental/Emotional symbol and any other symbols you have. Use Byosen Scanning or Reiji-ho to detect the areas that feel out of balance and treat there or give a standard Reiki session using all the hand positions. If you have Karuna Reiki® try Zonar, Halu, Harth, Iava, Shanti, and Rama.

If you have Usui/Holy Fire® Reiki, try the Holy Fire® Healing Experience. I find this technique so useful. I use it in about 60% of all Reiki sessions and with most new clients. In the Usui/Holy® Fire III Reiki Master Manual, William Lee Rand writes, “The Holy Fire® Healing Experience is highly effective in removing negative energies from the client. It will remove negative energy in the physical body, aura, and chakras, and work to help release any blocks the client chooses.”3 First, you ask the client if the issue were to exist somewhere in their body, where would it be, and then ask what shape, color, weight, and texture it has. Then the Reiki practitioner leads the Holy Fire® Healing Experience meditation. During and after this time, I also give hands-on Reiki. Often the shape that represents the cause of the client’s problem is completely released or greatly reduced.

If I feel guided and the client thinks it might be useful, I follow up with the Healing Spirit Attachments exercise from the Usui/Holy Fire® Reiki Master Manual.4 As an example, when clients have emotional upheavals, a spirit that is not enlightened may come in to help them and think it is helping when it is no longer needed. William Rand writes, “Regardless of a spirit’s intent, spirit attachments will almost always cause problems.”5 Releasing the energy dissolves cords, connectors, and sources of power from the spirit. The second step of the process is to heal the part of the person where the spirit was attached so that unhealthy spirits cannot use it again.

I have also had great success with a Reiki the Event procedure and Timeline Technique that Spirit revealed to me. I wrote about it in “Transforming Emotions with Reiki.”6 I have now combined both techniques into one procedure. This technique works with emotions related to the challenge and clears the issues in the tissues. It goes well with talk therapy. Some people don’t want to take part in talk therapy, while others have used it but still have lingering issues, which are encoded into the body and remain stuck there. I have used this technique for several years with many clients. Often I get results in one to two sessions, but it may take more. Completed issues clear more quickly than ongoing issues, i.e., completed divorce versus in the process of divorcing. I have used the Timeline Technique with the Holy Fire® symbol and Karuna Reiki®, but it should work with any Reiki. Also, people with Reiki II can utilize this technique.

When working with the Timeline Technique, here is some information about emotions to consider. When we have intense emotions, we usually have prior emotions underlying them that make the current emotion more intense. Clearing the emotions also helps to clear the accompanying thoughts. As an example, I had a client who lost his cat, and the grief put him near the edge of his coping ability. It’s helpful to ask what other experiences a client has had with that emotion. My client shared he had lost his mother a few years earlier and had a lot of remaining grief and guilt. Clearing the grief around the cat issue was only partially helpful because he had the other grief underlying it that made the experience with his animal companion loss more difficult. It is also helpful to clear the grief and guilt from prior experiences. Thus, the Timeline Technique clarifies the emotion from the entire lifetime built up through various life experiences. And if you also work with ancestral and past life issues related to this emotion, it can clear even more for your client.

Any hard life experience remains encoded in our tissues to some extent unless we work on it. We can talk about and reflect on it; however, I think doing Reiki gives us the deepest cleansing. Even with great counseling, I find about 20% of the experience remains with us. And many people don’t participate in counseling, so they have a lot of buried emotions. These emotions are baggage that weighs us down, keeping us from being able to experience greater joy, lightness, and peace. They cover who we truly are and what we can be and accomplish.


How to Do the Timeline Technique

  • Think of a painful experience.
  • Identify the emotions associated with the experience, i.e., hurt, betrayal.
  • Rate the emotional intensity of each emotion on a 0–10 scale, with 10 being the most intense.
  • Call on your Spiritual Source.
  • Power up with the Distant Symbol and all the symbols you know—add Karuna Reiki® symbols and the Holy Fire® symbol if you have them.
  • Intend or visualize a timeline and send Reiki for a few minutes to one of the emotions starting at present and working all the way back along the timeline to birth.
  • Do the above 2-3 times. You can also give hands-on Reiki during this time.
  • If the emotion feels stuck, call on your Spiritual Source to clear it.
  • Ask the client if any additional thoughts or emotions are coming up. If so, Reiki each emotion and the accompanying thought using the timeline technique.
  • Send Reiki back through ancestral patterns of that emotion for a couple of minutes.
  • Send Reiki back through past life patterns of that emotion for a couple of minutes.
  • Go on to the next emotion and repeat.
  • Rate the emotional intensity of each emotion now. Strive to get all the emotions to a 2 or below.


Here is a great way to end the session. If you have taken ICRT Animal Reiki classes, you can send the Animal Reiki symbol and call on the Divine Animal Kingdom to encircle your client. The energy is soothing, grounding, and a great way to close.


Client Stories

I recently worked with a client I will call Lisa. Over 15 years ago, Lisa’s baby died in the crib, and a family member said it was her fault. She never went to counseling. The emotions she reported were the following: anger 10, guilt/shame 8, and sadness 10. First, I conducted the Holy Fire® Healing Experience, followed by the Timeline Technique described above on the emotions of anger, guilt/shame, and sadness, including to ancestors and past lives. Then I sent Reiki to the baby’s soul to establish a connection. In my mind, I heard the baby say his death was part of the plan they created together before incarnation for all their souls’ growth. He asked her to let go of the sadness and guilt and said he loves her. Before sharing that information, I asked my client for permission to share and told her I don’t have any psychic training and to see if it fits for her. She remembered that losing the baby caused her husband not to be sent to war and that his colleague with the same job was killed in that war. At the end of the session, Lisa’s anger dropped from a 10 to a 4, guilt/shame dropped from an 8 to a 2, and sadness lowered from 10 to 4. A week later, her numbers remained the same, which is great news and a huge improvement since she has been carrying all these emotions for over 15 years. We will need to do another session or two on this issue because it will be most helpful to get all the numbers to a 2 or below. The numbers can go up after this kind of session due to things being stirred up, but I haven’t seen them return to where we began.

Mary, who I mentioned above, came to see me for help with her husband’s affair. She talked her husband into working with me as well. I did the Holy Fire® Healing Experience, the Healing Spirit Attachments on the spirit of lust, and the Timeline Technique on emotions. His emotions changed in the following ways: hate of affair partner 5 to 2, sad 4 to 0, guilt 4 to 3, anxiety 5 to 0, shame 8 to 1. I only had one session with him. Her emotions changed in the following ways: anger at the affair partner 7 to 2, confusion 8 to 4, and anger at her husband 5 to 1. Her anger had dropped by the time she came to see me. I also did the Healing Spirit Attachments exercise to clear the affair partner’s energy off my clients and clear the confusion energy off the couple’s children. I had two sessions with her.

I worked with another couple where one partner had an ongoing affair over several years. I spent many sessions working with each, and they also participated in marriage counseling. The affair was ended, and they have successfully worked through the affair and remain married. I have continued working with one partner, and the relationship is going well. Working with ongoing issues takes much more time and effort than completed ones.



Working with trauma and difficult life experiences is rewarding. To illustrate, I use the analogy of a gingerbread man to represent our bodies. The more difficult life experiences and trauma we have, the more the gingerbread man is clogged up. When we work on clearing out emotions with Reiki, it is like clearing one leg, another leg, the trunk, and so on. Eventually, the whole body is clear. As we get clearer, we can be more of who we truly are with greater enjoyment of life. Also, it is easier to fulfill our Divine Purpose. May you be inspired to help yourself and others with trauma and difficult life experiences! ν


Holy Fire® and Karuna Reiki® are registered

service marks of William Lee Rand.


Karen Harrison is a co-director of the ICRT Licensed Teacher Training Program and practices and teaches Reiki as a Holy Fire® III Licensed Reiki Master Teacher for the ICRT in Leawood, Kansas. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Karen can be contacted by email at Karen@karenharrison.net or through her website at www.karenharrison.net.



1   “Trauma and Shock,” American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma.

2   Karen Harrison, “Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People, Part One,” Reiki News Magazine, Spring 2017, 27; “Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People, Part Two,” Reiki News Magazine, Summer 2017, 13.

3   William Lee Rand, Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki Master Manual, (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications), 85.

4   Ibid.

5   Ibid., 28.

6   Karen Harrison, “Transforming Emotions with Reiki,” Reiki News Magazine, Fall 2018, 49.

Karen Harrison - Whole Life Center © All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy

Site Created by KC Web Specialists, LLC