Daniel J. Benor, M.D. is a wholistic psychiatric psychotherapist, whose work includes body-mind approaches, spiritual awareness and healing.
AS: It seems apparent that your work is guided by some philosophy of life and healing. Could you share some of that with us?
DB: My understanding is that people are composed of body (physical and biological energies), emotions, mind, relationships (with other people and the environment) and spirit. Each level has its unique inputs and each interacts with all of the others. As explained by Edward Whitmont, an amazingly gifted physician, homeopath, and Jungian therapist homeopathy addresses all of these levels. See my discussion at
AS: After many years of left brained education, what led you to this holistic, spiritual perspective?
DB: My gateway into wholistic healing was in 1980 through a healer who produced a physical change in a young man in half an hour that was medically impossible. Ethel Lombardi, a Reiki Master, reduced the size of a lump under a young man’s nipple. The man had found this painful during college wrestling. There was another physician there with me. She and I checked the lesion before and after the healing and agreed both times on its size and consistency. This made it impossible for me to wiggle out of my cognitive dissonance – by saying, “I must have mismeasured it or misremembered the measurements.”
This was a cure for my skepticism as well as for his lesion. I explored healing in every way I could after that. At first it was just through interviews with healers and healees. After a couple of years, I started developing my own healing gifts and then blending them with psychotherapy. I lived in England 1987-1997, where I continued my explorations of healing. Doctors there were working closely with healers, and I founded the Doctor-Healer Network, which continues to meet to this day – providing a forum for doctors to explore collaborations with healers and explorations of the benefits of healing. I wrote a pair of books summarizing healing research: Healing Research: Volume I, and Spiritual Healing: Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution. Healers describe their work, research in parapsychology, as a context for understanding healing. It has brief summaries of 191 randomized controlled studies, pilot studies.* The popular edition explains self-healing, complementary alternative medicine (CAM) and bioenergies, and discusses ways you can heal yourself.
AS: Your firsthand experience with the Reiki master allowed you to accept the “impossible”. Is personal experience the only way to effect a shift in paradigm? Is that the only way homeopathy skeptics will see the light?
DB: My experience with the Reiki healer piqued my curiosity. Having been trained in psychology, medicine and psychiatry, and having seen many people come through difficult times on their own resources, and having read extensively in the literature on suggestion/hypnosis/placebo effects and other aspects of self-healing, I remained unclear as to how much of Reiki and related healing approaches was healer-dependent and how much was the activation of self-healing capacities.
My left brain would not relent from all of its skepticism. The literature on healing research was a great help in convincing me that there is more to this than suggestion. The studies on non-human subjects were particularly interesting. I could not see how a mouse or a plant or bacteria could have placebo reactions.
So I believe that both personal experience and research evidence can be helpful in effecting paradigm shifts in the acceptance of homeopathy. And there are now fascinating overlaps between homeopathy and healing with the ‘imponderable’ remedies that are more clearly metaphoric and symbolic in their creation through intent rather than through the traditional ways of creating remedies through serial dilutions of a physical substance. Similarly, with the homeopathic remedies of Peter Chappell – created through mental intent – there are overlaps of homeopathy with: 1. Healing treatments (validated in research on plants) through the use of water that is imbued with healing energies and intent; and 2. flower essences that are created similarly through intent. So part of the shift in paradigm is developing through the combined evidence from these and other CAM modalities.
AS: The chairman of the Junior Drs. Of the British Medical Association recently called homeopathy “witchcraft”. Was he inadvertently on to something? What would you say to people with that attitude?
DB : I’d ask, “What do you mean by ‘witchcraft’? I see witchcraft as a variation on the theme of spiritual healing – which includes a spectrum of interventions mediated by intention and biological energies. Modern examples include Therapeutic Touch (TT), Healing Touch (HT), Reiki, Prayer healing, Wicca, Shamanism, External Qigong and many other variations on these themes. In the critical, pejorative tone implied in the statement, I guess at an ignorance about research confirming that these approaches can bring about changes in humans, animals, plants, bacteria, yeasts, cells in laboratory culture, enzymes and more .
As to homeopathy being similar to healing, I believe this is an accurate observation in view of the new remedies being created through intent/ meditation/ metaphoric uses of substances and the like.
AS: Do most people have latent ability to be healers? If so, how does one develop that?
DB: A mother kissing away a child’s hurt is a healer. A person offering a kind word, a hug or other support and encouragement is a healer. Most have some abilities – evidenced by research on college students who made no claims to healing abilities and were able to produce changes in various living organisms. Some are gifted and need no training for healing, though training for therapy ethics and psychological issues may be very helpful. Most can markedly enhance their abilities through training and practice, as with playing the piano. There are now many organizations that offer courses for healers. They range from 3 weekends to become a Reiki Master to 4 years at schools with serious didactic learning and supervised training.
Some are better off staying away from the piano – and from offering healing.
A major part of healing is developing one’s intuition. This is helpful in any treatment modality. I teach a self-healing method called WHEE: Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT. An important part of the training is muscle testing, which helps to access one’s intuition and spiritual awarenesses.
AS: Could you briefly describe the mechanism or dynamic of WHEE ? Ie. how does it effect change? Do you see any parallels with homeopathy?
DB: No one has found a mechanism that can be objectively validated to explain the rapid, deep transformations produced by WHEE. Quoting from my book on WHEE, Seven Minutes to Natural Pain Release, my impression is that several factors are involved: A positive affirmation is used to diminish pain and other negative experiences. Positives neutralize negatives. Pairing the counteracting affirmation positive with a negative focus reduces the intensity of the negative. As long as it is a truly felt positive, it will be a potent tool for canceling any negativity. The same applies with installing replacement positives, which are then strengthened to be even more positive.
WHEE enables people to remain focused on their pain and other negative issues, feeling safe and confident that they can deal with any problem. Staying with issues rather than running away from them will initiate a clearing of the issues, in and of itself. When we overcome our childhood default of burying our problems and running away from them, we can deal with them in many ways. WHEE builds a positive attitude and confidence in being able to deal with whatever problems one wants to address. Sweetening spirals build more positives. As we experience successes with WHEE, our self-confidence and self-image are enhanced. Because WHEE focuses on installing and strengthening positives (unlike many other therapies that focus mainly on addressing symptoms), it is a much more powerful and successful therapy.
Alternating right and left stimulation of the senses (vision, hearing, touch, muscle tension/relaxation) stimulates and facilitates releases of physical and psychological pain, stress, anxiety, buried issues, and much more. This is a proven process, well documented clinically by EMDR and WHEE and validated in extensive research by EMDR, including impressive meta-analyses of series of EMDR studies. It is as yet a challenge to understand how this works. EMDR is seeking explanations through studies of neurophysiology, including the latest brain-imaging devices.
WHEE is a wholistic therapy, addressing every level of one’s being: body, emotions, mind, relationships and spirit. It is simple, easily learned, rapidly effective, user-friendly, and highly adaptive to individual preferences and needs.
Homeopathy – as explained and promoted by Edward Whitmont, is a wholistic approach. It addresses every level of a person’s being. Homeopathy is a helpful complement to WHEE, promoting changes on a subtle energy level. Homeopathy is also very helpful for those people who are not inclined to engage in self-examination and self-healing through psychological approaches.
AS: If you had to pick one thing that people could do to raise their spiritual awareness, what would that be?
DB: Develop, practice and deepen our intuitive abilities. This helps us to identify our inner issues that contribute to pains and other problems, as well as aiding us to discover and strengthen our resources for dealing with our problems. Through our intuition we also open into awarenesses of our personal existence before and after our physical existence; into the collective consciousness (human and other living beings); and awarenesses of our connections with all consciousness on our planet. This includes our interrelationships with our planet herself – including the earth, waters and air.
AS: Thank you, Dr. Benor, for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us today.
(Dr. Benor’s book and workbook on WHEE, instructional videos, plus many free resources are available at www.paintap.com )