Shaman or Charlatan: How to Choose Your Spiritual Healer

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Photo: Courtesy of Sara Shakeel

With spirituality and new-age healing becoming more popular every day, it seems like everyone you meet is a healer. Whether to make a quick buck or satisfy an egotistic desire, many have been quick to jump on this bandwagon.

However, not everyone can be a healer; true healers are born with the gift of healing and are called to this path either early on in life or much later as their natural abilities develop.

If you’re just starting your healing or spiritual journey, here are some of the things to keep in mind and watch out for when choosing someone to guide you.

Know that there are no quick fixes.

If someone is offering you a quick fix to all your problems, be skeptical! From my experience, there is no “magic wand” – trust me, I’ve looked. Healing is a process that often requires working through several layers (including behavioral patterns, beliefs, thought paradigms, and emotional wounds), especially if what you’re working on healing has become a negative life pattern or addiction. An hour will not fix that.

Having said that, if you’re looking to simply de-stress or balance your energy, one energy-healing session will be enough for you to sense a shift and feel more balanced in general. Receiving energy healing once a week or whenever you feel that you need it will support you on this journey. After all, we are always interacting with the world around us, and our energies are in a constant dynamic process. They are continuously changing depending on what we are experiencing, our habits, our thoughts, the foods that we eat, or the medication we may be taking, and they can sometimes get “dirty” or clogged up.

Just as we have to shower as a way to look after our physical body, we also have to keep our energy balanced and clean – and an energy-healing session can do just that.

Healers cannot heal you.

A healer cannot heal you! You heal yourself throughout the process. All healing is essentially self-healing, and a healer is there only to hold the sacred space for you to heal yourself. A legitimate healer will teach you the tools that you need, question you in a way that allows you to see where you are stuck, and hold you accountable and responsible for your own blocks and patterns. So, if any healer tells you that they are the only one who can help, run the other way.

On another note, make sure that your intention when receiving healing is to be accountable and fully responsible for your own emotional baggage and patterns. Remember that the healer is only there to guide you to your own “awakening” and resulting healing or transformation.

A charlatan may get you dependent on them to “heal” you. A true healer, on the other hand, will always want to empower you to heal yourself. It’s up to you then to do the work and take action based on what came up in the session.

A healer is not motivated by money.

Another thing to pay attention to is that money should not be a healer’s main motivation. That being said, people need to make a living. Acknowledge the fact that this is how they have decided to earn their life, so respect and honor the value of the service they offer.

Look for someone who has walked your path.

The best healer to support you on your journey is someone who has gone through an experience similar to the one you’re struggling with and who successfully got out of it. Because they have been there, they can truly understand and connect to your emotional pain and struggles, which means they will most likely know all your blocks and exactly how to guide you so that you can transform your life.

Those who have not had the same blocks or struggles may not be able to fully connect to the depth of your emotional pain and, as a result, you will be left feeling misunderstood and frustrated and perhaps start to doubt the healing process as there will be no progress or tangible shifts.

Real healing, from my personal experience, happens heart to heart, when the healer acknowledges your pain. This happens energetically; you will feel your pain being acknowledged and validated, and you will feel understood in the moment. Very often, there will be tears, but don’t worry as these will be healing tears, tears of relief, acceptance, validation, and of finally being seen. This is how you release those deep emotional wounds keeping you stuck in negative patterns.

Do your research.

If a healer has a website, read their testimonials and take the time to go through their material, videos, and what they offer to see if it feels right for you. If a friend, family member, or acquaintance has already worked with a healer, ask about their experience and whether or not they would recommend him or her.

Be open.

A true healer guides you but also tells you off when you are not in integrity or going off path, so you must be humble enough to receive truth. This does not mean that you should accept abuse, so know the difference and also know that, sometimes, what you perceive as criticism is in fact just the truth that you are unwilling to accept in this moment. Be open to seeing this. Know that, without truth, you will not heal; it is the truth that sets you free.

Take no for an answer.

Don’t get offended if they turn you away. An authentic healer will tell you if they cannot help you with what you are struggling with. Perhaps they might sense that you are not quite ready yet and may refer you to someone who can help you in that moment. Be grateful that they are being honest and not ripping you off. Healers who have been on this journey for a long time can see things most people are not able to even comprehend without doing a lot of inner work, so don’t let this put you off seeing this same healer in the future when your paths are perhaps more aligned.


Melany Oliver is a Spiritual Guide and Intuitive Healer. She uses her gift to read people’s soul energy and detect mental and emotional blocks that keep them from manifesting their heart’s desires. With over 10 years of experience with healing deep emotional wounds, she now leverages her expertise to help women who are wounded by their childhood traumas and past negative relationships heal themselves and open themselves to love.

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