If you’re working as a healer, coach, or spiritual practitioner, you’ll eventually have to face your own unhealed wounds and unhealthy patterns.
This is because working with others in a healing capacity – and building your own spiritual business – brings up all of your baggage.
All of your wounds.
All of your triggers.
All of the places in you that need some deeper healing.
Working as a healer can also activate and fuel unconscious patterns that sabotage both your business growth and your clients’ healing.
In this post, I list 5 of the most common “unhealthy healer” patterns I’ve experienced in my own life and witnessed many times in clients and students. (And in fellow healers and coaches!)
It takes a lot of presence, self-honesty, and integrity to own up to these unhealthy patterns. This is especially true for us healers. We sometimes expect ourselves to have things all figured out, or to be completely healed before we can serve others.
That just isn’t true – you can serve others through your powerful healing work while healing your own patterns as you become aware of them. We are healers, but we are humans too. The key is to recognize the patterns and do the inner work to shift them.
Here’s my list of dysfunctional patterns of “unhealthy healers” – or of healers who need to do a bit of inner work on themselves. Which, ultimately, includes all of us.
PATTERN 1: OVER-GIVING
Over-giving is perhaps the most common of all these patterns. People who choose to take on healing or therapeutic work as a profession are generally empathic and highly sensitive. Because of these traits, they also tend to be highly considerate and caring, deeply in tune with others’ emotions and needs.
This high sensitivity and empathy makes healers prone to giving too much. Giving all of ourselves, all of our energy. We’ll sometimes go to the ends of the Earth to try to relieve our clients’ pain or solve their issues.
Having a generous and giving heart is not a problem. It’s a wonderful quality. But when taken to extremes, this giving spirit can become a compulsive pattern that does both you and your clients a disservice.
Over-giving can manifest in your business and healing work in the following ways:
- frequently extending your session time for free
- overly packing your healing/coaching sessions or courses with too much information, too many resources, too many practices, etc
- allowing clients to show up late, or not show up at all, without consequences
- compulsively giving your energy, time, and help to clients through email, text messaging, voice messaging, etc outside of session time (*be mindful of email boundaries in general – don’t spend hours responding to people who are NOT clients or who are trying to get your help/resources for free, without ever becoming clients)
- giving your time and energy to clients at the expense of self-care, caring for your loved ones, or having enough time to rest and recharge
- continuing to see clients who drain your energy, don’t do their own work, or expect you to fix them
The opposite of over-giving is to give what is enough. This requires you to have a firm idea of what “enough” means in the context of your healing work/business.
What’s enough for one session, or one course? What’s the most essential thing you want your clients to walk away with, or do, or feel when they meet with you? Focus on the essentials, and deliver those essentials at the highest possible level… without giving too much.
It’s important to set clear parameters around your session time, consequences for clients who show up late or miss sessions without warning, and boundaries around your own energy and self-care.
PATTERN 2: “I WILL SERVE EVERYONE” MINDSET
This is the mindset I had when I first started my business. Mostly, I had this mindset due to fear.
The fear that no one would want to work with me.
The fear that if I put limits or specifications on who I was available to work with, no one would show up.
The fear of missing out on a potential client by being “picky.”
This lack of clarity about who I wanted to work with (and who I didn’t want to work with) resulted in me working with everyone. On one hand, this taught me to deal with a diverse range of clients with many, many different needs and levels of awareness. I’m grateful for that experience.
On the other hand, it was draining and burned me out. Often, we don’t become aware of our unconscious patterns – or fed up with them enough to change them – until we burn out. That’s exactly what happened to me.
Eventually, I realized I’m not well-suited to work with clients who are in profound crisis, or clients who are emotionally unstable. I’m not good at pulling others out of crisis mode, and it takes too much of my energy. I’m much better suited to work with clients who have been on the spiritual path for a while, have done some prior inner work, and want to reach the next level of goodness, healing, and expansion in their lives.
This clarity means I can serve those clients – my Soul-aligned clients – with a deeper purpose, presence, and effectiveness… because I’m not spending all of my energy trying to serve clients who aren’t a match.
The “I will serve everyone” mindset can manifest in your healing work in the following ways:
- being uncertain about who your Soul-aligned client really is
- experiencing resistance or frustration when you try to think about your “ideal client”
- allowing anyone to book/schedule with you, without any discovery process (i.e., offering a quick discovery call or form to ensure you’re a good fit for the client and the client is a good fit for you)
- not holding any standards for your clients (for example: what level of awareness do you want/need your clients to have in order to work with you?)
- not communicating or enforcing consequences for issues such as clients who show up late, no-shows, missed appointments without notice, missed payments
- being a chameleon – adapting your personality, style, and healing work to each client, instead of carrying forth a similar standard of work and style that remains consistent for all of your clients
The opposite of an “I will serve everyone” mindset is to get clear about who your Soul-aligned clients really are. Consider questions like: What matters to them? Where are they in life? What are they trying to heal now? What’s attracting them to do healing work with you?
Once you understand this at a deep level, and you recognize the types of clients that drain you or aren’t a good match with your energy, you can set up clearer standards and parameters for who actually gets to work with you.
PATTERN 3: TAKING CLIENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY
This pattern is about feeling (or being) overly responsible for your clients’ healing.
Of course, you want to be completely invested in your clients’ healing outcomes. You want to help them heal and transform in powerful ways. You want to show up for them with deep love, to be of service.
But this doesn’t mean doing their healing work for them. Or trying to fix their issues for them. That’s not something you can do.
In my early years as a healer, I felt intense pressure to “fix” my clients’ entire lives and life issues in one 60-minute session. This made me feel anxious, less present, and overly concerned with fixing problems. This is because I wanted clients to walk away feeling relief, and to no longer suffer or feel burdened.
Over time, I realized it’s not my responsibility to take my clients’ burdens for them. Or end their suffering. I am not the one who can do that. They have to do that for themselves.
What I can do for clients is provide tools, resources, guidance, or support that will empower them to heal themselves. To relieve their own suffering. This is, I believe, the greatest service we can offer.
Taking your clients’ responsibility can manifest in your healing work in the following ways:
- spending most of your session time talking/delivering information or guidance without engaging in a two-way dialogue with your clients (of course, with particular session types – especially readings – you might spend most of the time delivering information… I think it’s still important to dialogue with your clients and make sure they’re receiving what you’re giving them at some point in the session)
- continuing to book clients who don’t do the work in between sessions, or who are not progressing in their healing
- ruminating a lot after or before sessions, doubting yourself or the work
- trying to control what clients do with the information or healing you provide, beyond the session time
To avoid taking clients’ responsibility, you must set internal boundaries for yourself about what’s your business and what isn’t. As you do your healing work with clients, what’s truly your responsibility? Where does that responsibility end? What are the changes, actions, practices, or mindset shifts that your clients must follow through on?
If you hold yourself to a higher standard with this, it allows you to also raise the standards for your clients. You’ll challenge them to show up for themselves in deeper and sometimes harder ways – but for their own healing good.
PATTERN 4: PLAYING A CODEPENDENT ROLE
This pattern is about unconsciously getting hooked by clients’ needy behaviors or requests. Or playing out a codependent dynamic with them.
Sometimes, clients will consciously or unconsciously put their healers/coaches on a pedestal. They might idolize you, or believe you’re completely healed and have everything figured out. They might put you in a “savior” or “fixer” role, and become convinced that you can save them.
Clients might also try to give their power away to you. This can happen in the context of a session or reading, for example, if clients ask lots of should I? or shouldn’t I? questions – such as asking you “should I quit my job?” or “should I get divorced?”
These types of questions put you in the role of Oracle, and give you too much power and authority over your clients’ lives. This is an unhealthy dynamic because it disempowers your clients.
Playing a codependent role with your clients can manifest in the following ways:
- taking on a “parent” role, “partner” role, or authority figure role in your clients’ lives
- feeling like clients rely on you too much to make decisions
- feeling (or noticing that) clients rely on you too much for emotional support and are unable to soothe or support themselves
- having clients say things like “I would/could never heal without you” or “I have no idea what I’d do without you!”
- having clients who book sessions too often, too close together, or who compulsively request extra time/attention/help
- having clients who email, call, or text you at inappropriate times or for inappropriate reasons
- experiencing blurred boundaries between your professional relationship (healer-client) and other types of relationships (friendship, romantic relationship, sexual relationship, etc) with clients
The opposite of playing a codependent role is to play a healthy, healing, supportive role for your clients. You want to model to your clients, through your own behavior, what it means to be an empowered person with healthy boundaries. This might require you to be more detached, and less emotionally involved with your clients.
This means you might have to say NO to clients from time to time. NO to extra session time. NO to a discount. NO to booking a last-minute “emergency” session. NO to making a decision for them. NO to playing a parent or partner role for them.
The more you become conscious of and soften your own codependent behaviors, the more your clients will be guided to do the same.
PATTERN 5: UNDERPRICING
This pattern has to do with minimizing your value, talents, and skills by charging too little. (Or not charging at all.)
Of course, not everyone who identifies as a healer might want or need to charge for their services. But for those of us doing this work as a profession – to put food on the table, to pay our bills, to support our physical existence – it’s important to properly value our services and charge what we deserve.
In many cases, underneath a pattern of underpricing is the fear that clients will be disappointed with you. Or disappointed with the work. Or fears that you aren’t experienced enough, trained enough, talented enough, worthy enough.
These strong fears can directly impact your ability to set the proper fees for your services, as well as your capacity to confidently sell your services – without feeling sleazy or like you’re begging others to work with you.
If you look at your entire lifespan – your years of life experience, of schooling, of reading, of learning about healing and spirituality, of being in therapy or doing healing work on yourself – this will give you a more accurate measure of what you bring to the table. Do not discount anything.
Every single experience you’ve had up until this moment can serve as a source of wisdom, knowledge, and compassion for your clients. Acknowledge the WHOLE of who you are, and everything you have under your belt. Then, price your services accordingly.
Another important point: don’t compare yourself to other healers or coaches, and don’t compare your pricing. Sure, you can review what other people in your profession are charging to get a sense of the market and what clients might expect to pay.
But, beyond that, other people’s money stories and money issues are theirs – not yours. Don’t price your services based on anyone else’s relationship with or feelings about money.
Underpricing can manifest in your healing work and business in the following ways:
- feeling drained or resentful after client sessions
- feeling like the exchange of energy in client sessions is uneven (because it is, if you’re undercharging!)
- having to constantly “hustle” to get the next client, because you’re barely making ends meet despite working non-stop
- compulsively giving discounts
- feeling fear, anxiety, or trepidation about raising your fees
- justifying underpricing by saying and believing “people don’t have enough money” or “my clients can’t afford this” – you’re not only undervaluing your clients and their ability to pay, but also making up a negative story about them!
The opposite of underpricing is to determine your fees based on everything you bring to the table, without making up stories about what people might or might not be able to afford.
You must also get really practical. Calculate, in real terms, how much you need to earn per month to be able to feed, shelter, and support yourself. Once you have a realistic number, how many sessions per month would you need to do to meet that number? If the number of sessions you’d need to do is too high and undoable, you need to charge more per session. Bottom line.
Healer, Heal Thyself
I hope you’ll become more aware of these patterns over time, and recognize how they show up in your life and business. Ultimately, everything is heal-able. All of these patterns can be changed or released.
As you evolve and heal, your business will evolve. The way you do business will evolve, and so will your healing work. Your evolution – on every level – will create an even more powerful energetic space for your clients to become self-aware and release their patterns, too.
If you’re interested in healing these types of patterns and becoming the most aligned, effective, powerful, and abundant healer you can be – I invite you to consider my Akashic Records Certification Program. We spend an intimate 16 weeks in a small group of healers, coaches, and spiritual practitioners working through our own stuff and upleveling our healing skills to serve our clients at the highest possible level. Enrollment is by application only. I teach this program once per year.