The Integration of Reiki and Psychotherapy

psychotherapy reiki research Mar 01, 2022
sunset over water


Reiki? How do you spell that? Over 20 years ago, that was my first reaction when a peer suggested I take a Reiki class. At the time, I was intrigued by the spirituality of the energy and the peace the practice gave me. I introduced my husband and children to Reiki and eventually my extended family and friends. I thought everyone should have knowledge about Reiki and have access to this powerful and gentle energy. I incorporated Reiki into my daily life and felt the life-giving transformation.

In 2005, I decided that I could share the healing of Reiki and founded Trinity Healing Center, a Reiki practice. I taught Reiki classes, held workshops and retreats, and worked with hundreds of individuals in healing pain and disease, emotional and spiritual issues, and assistance on their life journey.

 I noticed that many people were seeking help and asking me to assist in the healing of depression, anxiety, and traumas. I knew I needed more skills and further education to assist individuals in this profound healing process. So, with much resistance at first, I went back to school and earned my Masters of Science and then Doctorate in Pastoral Mental Health Counseling. The training of this degree takes into consideration the sacredness of an individual, while integrating psychology and spirituality. In 2012, as a licensed professional counselor, I began integrating Reiki with psychotherapy at Trinity Healing & Wellness Center, Inc.

The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy is a modality for working through and healing depression. The holistic approach addresses the mind-body-spirit-soul of a person with the combination of the spiritual energy practice of Reiki and psychotherapy, or talk therapy.



As a doctoral candidate, I was interested in understanding how depression affects an individual on a holistic level, from the perspective of the individual, and how the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy brings relief, symptom reduction, and overall wellbeing of mind, body, spirit, and soul to an individual. My dissertation was based on this research.

Millions of people worldwide experience and suffer from depression. Some experience major depression and others a chronic low-grade depression. Only 50% of those affected seek help and treatment. The very nature of depression is painful and can disrupt interpersonal, social, and occupational functioning.

 Through semi-structured, face to face interviews, I spoke with ten women, who shared in-depth details of their lived experience of the nature and essence of depression, the symptoms and management of depression, the effect of depression of their personal relationships and lifestyles, and the experience of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy to heal depression.

The findings of my study support that Reiki is a spiritual practice, the energy of love, and a coping skill for healing depression. Reiki is a dynamic process that brings awareness to the present moment and a feeling of peace. The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy brought about symptom reduction, positive changes in personal relationships, a healing of mind, body, spirit, and soul, and new perspectives on life. Additionally, a strong relationship between the psychotherapist and client developed. The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy is considered a new paradigm for working through and healing depression.



Depression originates from biological, genetic, and environmental irregularities and influences. The findings of this study conclude that depression is a debilitating physical feeling in the body that may be accompanied with negative and pessimistic thoughts and lack of motivation. One can experience low energy, insomnia, stress, and find it hard to focus. Feelings of hopelessness, fear, inappropriate guilt, shame, sadness, anxiety, worthiness, and anger may occur. Sometimes, depression is accompanied with suicidal thoughts.

Participants described the essence of depression with powerful metaphors of images associated in the body. They included: “being chained to a radiator.” “emotional tar on my soul,” “a heaviness like carrying a load,” “weight on my shoulders,” “physical pain in my shoulders and neck,” “moving through mud all the time,” “knots in my throat and stones in my back,” “wearing a cinder block suit and trying to move through the day,” and a “big monster within me.” Depression was compared to an “ocean rip tide, a powerful force that you cannot control.”

Depression can occur at any age.



Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a holistic energy practice and therapy that promotes a deep state of peace, clarity, love, and calmness. The practice of Reiki is spiritual in nature and is empowering and life-giving. Reiki is a strong contrast to the darkness of depression.

Reiki promotes an energetic balance of body-mind-spirit-soul, while cleansing the body of toxins. It infuses positive energy from the highest, most sacred vibrational frequency into a person’s energy fields. The word “Reiki” refers to both the spiritual, energetic healing and to the energy itself. It can be taught to anyone and administered anywhere. A Reiki practitioner is a facilitator of the energy and healing process.

The practice of Reiki promotes changes in perceptions, thought processes, and daily activities by releasing worry, fear, anger, regrets, and judgments. The quality of one’s life is enhanced and space is made for joy, creativity, acceptance, self-confidence, and love.



Psychotherapy, or traditional talk therapy, originated with the development of the psychoanalytic theory by Sigmund Freud in the late 1880’s. Psychotherapy is a process of exploring and resolving personal or interpersonal issues as well as developing self-understanding and insight that brings about life changes. Psychotherapy enables individuals to understand themselves, set goals, take responsibility, and consciously choose to make changes. As a method of treating depression, psychotherapy is a safe and effective treatment, attempting to reverse inaccurate beliefs and emotional processing.

As a reaction for or against Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, other psychological frameworks developed. Traditionally, treatment for depression included cognitive behavior therapy, behavioral action therapy, psychodynamic therapy, problem-solving therapy, interpersonal and nondirective support therapy, and/or social skills therapy.



Today, we have the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy to heal and treat depression as well as other physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual concerns and issues.

People are unique and complex beings. Factors such as personality, genetics, environment, and spiritual connection and the interaction of each factor can influence and govern how one relates to the world. A unidimensional model maybe inadequate to treat depression and other emotional issues people experience.

 The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy focuses on a holistic approach, one that considers the “whole” person and includes a union of mind and body awareness. The modality focuses on the energy centers in the body and healing trauma and pain stored in those energy fields that may arise due to life circumstance. The health and wellbeing of an individual considers the dynamic balance and harmonious energy flow of the mind-body-spirit-soul as well as the interpersonal and environmental aspects of that living being. Disease and illness result as imbalances or disruptions occur in the harmony of the energy patterns. Healing is the process of restoring the balance and harmony to the human energy systems. The term “healing” defines a process of personal life-giving transformation, where one is accepted and not judged. Healing considers the entire essence of a person and a recognition that one is already whole and complete.

 Participants of this study, continually expressed feeling “calm, peaceful, and lighter” as a result of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy. They shared that they felt “safe, empowered, and loved and that they in turn were able to open their heart to love.” Stress is alleviated and being in the present moment is an inherent outcome of the process. New perspectives, such as hope, compassion, empathy, happiness, self-acceptance, worthiness, and feeling important and significant result. (The paradigm of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy may also include pharmacologic medications, if necessary.)

 The spiritual dimension of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy provided new perspectives and an awareness of the sacred within each person. We have a divine spirituality; a. moral, spiritual and intellectual nature that is created in the image and likeness of God. As participants altered perceptions of themselves and recognized their significance in the world, they changed their negative and pessimistic perspectives to perspectives of hope, possibilities, and empowerment and began to appreciate themselves and others in a more profound way.

Another outcome of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy is a powerful corrective shift and becoming aware that you have control over your thoughts, behavior, health, and well-being. This new awareness of being accountable and responsible for one own’s healing, takes the locus of control from external factors to internal factors.



My study on the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy concluded that this modality lifts depression, decreases anxiety and stress, enables individuals to recognize their strengths, sacredness, worthiness, and self-confidence and feel significant and special. Participants claimed to have better communication skills, more self-care, and less fear. They were more optimistic, hopeful, grateful, and empowered. Individuals felt safe, trusting, and were more present and aware. They are paying attention to their bodies, while listening for insight and wisdom. Positive and healthy changes were made to relationships as well as thoughts, feelings, and thus behaviors. The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy is a paradigm for working through and healing depression.


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The integration of Reiki and psychotherapy is a dynamic and transformational process. The modality is not limited to an office or any confined space, but rather is available, to candidates, anywhere, at any time. The modality is extremely effective virtually, as the Reiki energy is not “going through a computer.” The Reiki energy is present with the client, and the healing is facilitated by the practitioner. Additionally, an individual can enjoy the benefits of the integration of Reiki and psychotherapy out in nature.

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