Recently, I attended a worship on Transformational Prayer, a simple but effective healing practice to identify the things we believe that are not consistent with God’s word, which affect our emotions and lives negatively. The basic premise is that what we feel is based on what we believe in our hearts, not our heads. It may be a belief about our identity, such as “I’m worthless” or “I’m too bad to be saved.” Or it may be a belief about our situation that reflects what we believe about God, like “My situation is hopeless.” If we believe this in our heart, no amount of intellectual knowledge will counter it. No matter how much I read in Scripture that I am new in Christ, that I’m forgiven, or that God will provide what I need, in my heart I won’t really believe it until the source of that belief, an experience, has been addressed and challenged.
Perhaps you can see how this can be a very powerful form of healing. If I believe, for example, that I’m worthless, I may be prone to depression and fatalistic. Or I may develop a driven personality that tries to prove my worth by doing more than everyone else. Neither is a healthy approach to life, and either will keep me from trusting God. By confronting the experience(s) that caused this belief, and by seeing the conclusion (I’m worthless) as the lie that it is, my heart belief can be changed.
During thus particular workshop, I was given the opportunity to act as the facilitator. The person I worked with brought a current incident that brought up feelings related to an experience of childhood sexual abuse– always a difficult trauma that is not easy to heal. Transformational Prayer grew out of that difficult healing process, and is often effective in that work.
In this instance, the person I worked with immediately dissociated from the feelings the memory evoked. He envisioned himself not as the victim, but as himself as an onlooker, a bystander, a witness. Despite several attempts, he was unable to allow himself to feel the negative emotions and pain he carried with him. He also expressed awareness of the presence of evil spirits whispering lies about what would happen to him if he allowed himself to feel those feelings. And it quickly became clear that there were generational forces at work.
Many of the wounds we carry with us are not so complicated. But some, especially those dealing with childhood abuse, are. For this person, transformational prayer alone is unlikely to be effective, because he has other complicating issues. One is an indication of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I’m not a psychologist and am in no way an expert on DID, nor am I qualified to diagnose it. I can only go by what the man told me: “I’m dissociating right now… I’m dissociating again.” It is possible that someone more experienced with DID might be able to bring spiritual practices to bear on it, but I suspect this man will need the help of a competent psychologist or other practitioner.
Then there are the spirits. It’s unpopular to believe in spirits in our rational-materialistic society. But I’ve experienced them myself, and have worked with others who have experienced similar torment. Spirits are real. (How can one believe in the Holy Spirit without inherently acknowledging that spirits exist?) This is an area I may have been able to help with, but in a different setting. Doing deliverance at a Transformational Prayer workshop would be rude and disruptive. In addition, I did not have the appropriate support. It is generally unwise to attempt deliverance without a partner and prayer support. Yet even in this practice, I don’t have as much experience as some other deliverance practitioners. I’ve helped a number of people, but there have also been situations in which I’ve been unable to help.
Generational healing is a discipline in itself. Habits, patterns, and traumas are passed from one generation to the next. So are sins. It’s amazing how often a particular family line has the same kinds of sins generation after generation! Alcoholism and other forms of addiction tend to manifest generationally. So do physical and sexual abuse. These generational patterns can be healed through practices that address them specifically.
The point I’m trying to make is that there’s no “one size fits all” approach to healing. Not every problem is caused by false beliefs. Not every problem is caused by spirits. Not every problem is even spiritual in nature (though I have sometimes seen spiritual healing work wonders in the areas of both psychology and physical health).
As responsible healers, we need to recognize that all healing comes from God, not from me. The gifts that I’ve been given may be effective for some, but not for everyone in every situation or with every condition. I will use them as effectively as I can for anyone who may benefit from them. But I also need to recognize where my limits are. I’m not a medical doctor, therapist, or psychologist. I don’t know Gestalt Healing practice, though I’ve seen it benefits. I’ve seen healing done through genograms, but I’m not trained in that.
One of our goals at Healing Refuge is to maintain a network of healers practicing various disciplines–physical, psychological, and spiritual. This is because healing should be available to everyone, and no one person has all the skills. All healing comes from God, but God works through many hands.