Triggers & Spiritual Medicine Episode #1: The Bystander Effect & Teen Sex Abuse


This is a must watch or listen for any parent with guest, Ukumbwa Sauti who is an expert in all things men’s work, dismantling patriarchy, & conscious consent.

We talked about a recent incident locally where adults “innocently” published a photo of minor boys insinuating they were naked behind signs saying they will wash your adult cars for you.

We ask that you watch with an open mind through a different lens than maybe what you had before. We understand you might find this conversation triggering. We ask you to pause before jumping to reactionary mode.

This conversation is NOT to blame anyone, but to open a conversation about a topic that is typically silenced and how we, as a society, as a culture,  have normalized certain unhealthy behaviors as a society that can have detrimental consequences.

Considering the following stats per (NSVRC) :

  • 1:5 women in the United States experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime.
  • 24.8% of men in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 1:3 female victims experienced rape for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17.
  • 1:4 male victims experienced rape between the ages of 11 & 17
  • Only 25% of rapes in 2018 were reported to the police.
  • 1:4 undergraduate women experienced sexual assault or misconduct at 33 of the nation’s major universities

In this episode, we talk about

  • the community backlash when addressing this issue
  • the subtleties of mixed message signaling
  • the harmful influence it has on children
  • the bystander impact
  • how systemic issues created blind spots that on the surface can appear comical & funny
  • Why this kind of messaging is problematic
  • The “NOT intentional sexualization of teenage boys” (as someone in the local community put it) – and the gateway to unintentional grooming practices by predators & rapists that blur healthy boundaries & potential put our children in harms way.

Most survivors I’ve encountered self-shame because of imprinting placed upon them by a culture of abuse.

Let’s change this narrative.

In this episode we offer 5 things we can do now to begin that shift.

Additional Resources:

  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network’s (RAINN) https://www.rainn.org/ or call their National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected w/ a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area
  • CDC ACE Study, click here 
  • The Relation Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health: Turning Gold into Lead, click here
  • The Bystander Effect, click here
  • Healing Trauma Archives (click here)

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About the project:

We’ll feature a different guest w/ each episode sharing experiences & solutions w/ the greatest epidemic of our times world – an epidemic of unrecognized unhealed unresolved trauma that is placing misguided burdens on our society, increasing rates of chronic illness, mental illness, & addictions & stressing an already taxed broken healthcare system ill-equipped to treat root issues because it is NOT profitable.

Our goal is to highlight & address the commonalities all these issues share that plague our society including:

  • Racism
  • Domestic violence
  • LGBTQ discrimination
  • Homelessness
  • Addiction
  • Women’s rights
  • Sexual violence
  • Discrimination
  • Systemic oppression
  • Genocide
  • & more

By highlighting what all these issues share in common, we hope to create

  • greater awareness
  • unity building
  • understanding
  • inclusivity
  • solid long term healing
  • community building
  • societal cultural change

In this project, we hope to offer

  • practical tangible solutions for change
  • healing of unrecognized trauma held w/in the body
  • increased empowerment
  • increased sovereignty
  • experientials
  • how to’s
  • & more

ABOUT UKUMBWA:

Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. is an educator, facilitator, speaker and consultant. His areas of work include his Men’s Work Initiative, Conscious Consent, anti-patriarchy, anti-racism, environmental issues, Indigenous spirituality and media studies.

Ukumbwa Sauti has taught cultural media studies engaging issues of race, sex and gender oppression, class, colonialism, modernity and technology. He has presented in academic, spiritual/cultural and community venues and taught classes on consent, sexual and intimate safety in sex-positive conferences and organizations for more than 15 years.

Ukumbwa currently runs an initiative called Men’s Work, engaging men and others in the process of interrogating and dismantling patriarchal privilege and power, toxic masculinity, misogyny and homophobia. He runs on-ground and online groups and events.

Ukumbwa consults with organizations and communities around issues of social justice, diversity and inclusion and sexual harassment.

Facebook Men’s Work Initiative, click here.

Website: www.worldancestorconcert.com

ABOUT LAURA & “MY WHY” (on this series specifically)

I am a truth seeker & change maker. I highlight the shadows on topics most shy away from & invite difficult conversations on topics typically silenced. I’ve been this way for over 50 years.

As a professional healer, spiritual mentor, advocate & multiple trauma survivor (child abuse, sexual assault, attempted sexual abduction & domestic violence) who witnessed a lot & experienced my fair share of issues & my dedication spanning almost 20 years in healing the roots to the broken me, I see what is broken.

I’ve learned what works & what does NOT and I am here to share what works through the muck of what does NOT. Together let’s break the cycle of the continued perpetuation of unresolved unacknowledged unhealed trauma for a healthier world for all.

12 Tips and 10 Questions to Ask a Reiki Practitioner and/or Teacher When Healing Trauma


Welcome.  So much has changed over the years in the modern reiki world … at least in the United States of America. With the varying schools of reiki training, the growing legislation by some states to regulate many spiritually based practices and healing modalities such as reiki, and predators invading spiritually based communities to seek out their next grooming victim, it is important know how this affects you, how to find the right reiki practitioner and/or teacher to help you, and how to navigate all these changes.

This includes understanding the basics such as what is reiki since reiki in this country has gone through many changes adding many non Japanese or reiki practices within the scope of many reiki schools and training despite reiki itself never having evolved or changed except for in the western cultures.

My goal is two fold for this post:

  • to awaken reiki practitioners and healers to their full optimum potential while understanding their ethical responsibilities to their clients and/or students,
  • and to help guide those seeking healing services for themselves or a loved one.

12 Tips To Choosing A Reiki Practitioner

Healing varies from person to person and what some call “reiki training” varies from teacher to teacher since there is no standardization of training in the Unites States.  Most reiki training teaches the basics centered around stress reduction and relaxation. While others who call anything involving some form of energy healing or hands on energy work, reiki, can sometimes be misguided.

Let’s be clear first and foremost, reiki  is a Japanese complementary alternative mind body medicine therapy, self care and meditation practice  that works with the human body’s bioenergy field. I won’t go into details here. You can click here for more elaborate description.

Administering or facilitating a reiki session to someone who has been traumatized or abused is NOT part of the standard training curriculum for most reiki practitioners.

If you struggle with healing from trauma associated with abuse, here are 12 tips in choosing the right reiki practitioner for you.

  1. Make sure you find a qualified reiki practitioner. This means someone who actually apprenticed with a qualified reiki teacher in person NOT online. In my opinion, much is lost in translation with the digital world in regards to the traditional ways of learning the magic of reiki that can only be experienced in person.  This is not to mention that online certificates are not valid in some professional reiki associations nor valid in some licensing depending on state or country. 
  2. Make sure you find a practitioner who has been practicing Reiki several years as trauma has its own intricate needs that goes above the skill set of just reiki. Several years also meaning they have been seeing a minimum of 5 reiki clients a week and who practices reiki full time for many years. Reiki experience is crucial and not always understood in a culture that prides certificates over experience.
  3. Ask questions about the Reiki practitioner’s training and belief system. Do they add other non-reiki elements such as crystals, christian/religious ideology, auras, chakras, etc? There is nothing wrong with these elements and have benefits of their own, but they are a more western new age concept that are not rooted to origins and original teachings and practice of reiki and can give a misperception of the effects or experience of what reiki is.  It is important to know whether or not these elements are a benefit to you.
  4. Seek out a practitioner who is at least a level III/Reiki Master in westernized reiki and at least Okuden (level II) in Jikiden Reiki due to the inherent training that includes working with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
  5. Be sure to understand what system of reiki the prospective reiki practitioner studied. This is important to know in regards to healing trauma for optimum results and experience. For me personally, the content and quality of Jikiden Reiki training has been the most thorough and something I feel comfortable referring individuals with a history of trauma.  That is coming from a place where I taught the more westernized Usui Reiki for 6 years from superb teachers.
  6. Be sure to find a practitioner who not only practices reiki every day, but “embodies” its principles. If they do not know what that is, I would recommend seeking another practitioner.  If they are not practicing reiki every day, how can they possibly understand how to help you? This goes beyond just reiki, but understanding trauma and all its intricate components.
  7. Trust your own instincts. They are primitive in nature, but are built in to your own body awareness to guide you. Listen to them. This will help you identify who is the right practitioner for you.
  8. Inquire about the reiki practitioner’s training and experience in working with trauma such as victims of abuse or rape. The effects of trauma is one of the most difficult things to heal from. I find it takes a skilled person understands the intricacies of this that goes beyond the training of basic reiki to work with those with a history of trauma.  Considering there is an epidemic of unresolved trauma in the USA, this is something to consider. 
  9. Be sure to find a practitioner that has enough understanding of basic medical  terminology, anatomy and physiology surrounding the effects of trauma and how is it manifesting mentally, physically, and spiritually.   It is important for the practitioner to have enough basic knowledge on how to communicate effectively and work with your mental health counselor and medical professionals. Unfortunately, from my experience, this is something that many reiki practitioners do not always understand when they begin with work with someone with a history of trauma. This is because in some reiki schools, it is taught reiki can do no harm, and put your hands on everyone. This approach is misguided and unethical. Healthy boundaries is a must. Reiki does not do the harm, but the inexperienced or over zealous reiki practitioner can.  Furthermore, in Jikiden Reiki, we have certain treatment protocols depending on diagnosis. Not all schools teach this nor believe in this. It is important to understand the difference to ensure you receive the maximum benefits authentic reiki has to offer.
  10. Make sure the reiki practitioner does not ask you to take your clothes off at any time or touches you in any inappropriate manner. There is NOTHING sensual or sexual about reiki. This is NOT reiki. These are predatory behaviors as discussed in the video.  If they violated you in any way sexually, please do not remain silent. Contact the police immediately and speak out publicly.   *** Note: if a practitioner who is trained in another modality such as a massage therapist who incorporates reiki in their massage, THAT IS DIFFERENT. We are strictly talking reiki. ***
  11. A practitioner should maintain healthy boundaries at all times. If a practitioner gets too much into your personal space or tells you how they can “fix” you, “heal you” or they act “overly” concerned like a “knight in shining armor”, then walk out and do not go back. If you are unsure, check  out the video I made regarding this topic.
  12. Be sure to ask questions. Below are some questions to ask a prospective reiki practitioner.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Reiki Practitioner and/or Teacher:

JordyMeow / Pixabay
  1. What system of reiki did they study? This is important to understand to know in regards to healing trauma for optimum results and experience.
  2. What was included in their studies? This goes back to point number 3 and how much is what they learned in their training was reiki and/or added elements being mistakenly called reiki.
  3. What level of Reiki have they completed? As I stated before, I would recommend seeing a practitioner who is at least a level III/Reiki Master in westernized reiki and at least Okuden (level II) in Jikiden Reiki due to the inherent training that includes working with mental health issues.
  4. How long have they been practicing Reiki? Reasons as stated above.
  5. How do they practice AND incorporate reiki in their every day life? (My apologies as many reiki practitioners may disagree,  I feel THIS is the most important question). If they are not practicing reiki every day, how can they possibly understand how to help you? This goes beyond just reiki, but understanding trauma and all its intricate components.
  6. What is their level of experience and training in working with people with trauma?
  7. How many clients have they used Reiki for healing trauma?
  8. Ask the practitioner what their treatment protocol is and how they work with medical professionals. This is important to know as stated above in tip #8 and #9.
  9. Ask how they use Reiki in healing trauma and what their previous experiences have been.  This is important for you to make an informed decision.
  10. For teaching – What made you decide to teach? How long have you been teaching? What certification process did you go through to become a teacher?
This is just a simple guide, but you can also check out the articles for more tips and guidance:

I hope what I wrote helps someone out there in need who needs something to help them survive in order to thrive.

For healers who read this, my hope is that this inspired you to be better than you already are. The world needs more healers. We need you to step up and help be the best version of you.


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With love and appreciation,

Laura  Joseph,
Jikiden Reiki® Shihan, Usui Reiki Master Teacher, Speaker, Medical Intuitive, Healer, Advocate, Trauma Specialist

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 © 2008-2019 Laura Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns. This article does not share the opinions of Healing With Spirit or its affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.