As part of my energy healing practice, I offer home visits to people living in London Borough of Bromley and up into parts of SE London. As with any business, when I travel to meet with clients in their home some basic steps to protect not only my own health and well-being, but the safety of my client are needed.
I have 20 years experience as a Reiki Practitioner and I practised as a nurse for 10 years. This has given me a lot of experience both in knowing what safety issues can exist for a practitioner who sees clients in a private setting and in recognising what steps can be taken to reduce the level of risk for the practitioner and the client.
Why Should You Worry About Safety?
Preparedness and safety isn’t about eliminating all risk. Risk is something we face every day of our lives. We can’t escape it even if we stay in our own home. What we can do though is minimise risk. We can be aware of potential dangers in our path and take steps to either remove or reduce them.
Any time I, as an energy healer, enter a client’s home, or invite a client into my own home there is an element of risk. It is imperative that I be aware and take the necessary measures needed to allow for not only my own safety, but the safety of my client.
“Swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks, put up fences and deploy pool alarms. All of these measures are helpful, but by far the most important thing that one can do for one’s children is teach them to swim.”
‘Youth, Pornography and the Internet’
National Research Council USA 2002
Keys to Being Safe
1. Tell a friend
Make sure a friend, a colleague, or someone else you trust knows what your home visit schedule looks like. This should include who you are seeing, their address, phone number, and the appointment time.
Do this whether you are seeing a client for the 1st time, or the 10th.
If clients are coming into your home, then make sure to have a written record of who is coming to you with full names and all their contact details. These can easily be kept in a diary if you don’t have a more formal record-keeping system in place.
2. Use your phone
These days, a mobile phone is a requirement for anyone seeing clients in their home. Don’t leave it lie in the bottom of your bag though, the telephone can be the single most effective tool in helping to make sure you are safe.
To start, use your phone to let a friend know that you are going in to an appointment and leaving again. One suggestion I have come across is to be on the phone when you go up to the person’s door. Finish the call when the client answers by stating “I am at my appointment with X, I will be finished at Y.” This let’s the client know that another person is aware of your location.
After that, arrange to either make or receive a check in call during the appointment time. While you can tell the client that you are expecting a call and need to answer it, or at some point say you need to make a call, do not tell the client when that call is expected.
If you do not answer the call, or make the call, then the friend takes the next step of notifying the police of your last known location and gives all of the contact information you have provided.
As an added step, have a code phrase worked out with your friend. Something innocuous and easily remembered which is a cue to your friend that all is not well and you need help quickly.
3. Trust your instincts
Simply put, if you get a bad feeling in your gut about a client, the appointment, or the setting, cancel and don’t go. Your safety is not worth losing one client. That little voice of doubt has probably saved many a person’s life.
As Reiki practitioners, we tend to be highly focused on intuition during a treatment, so listen to it not only during the appointment but also before.
4. Protect yourself from allegations of wrongdoing
It’s not only your own safety you have to be concerned about, it is the welfare of your client. If you are going in to meet a client for the first time, or the client is coming to your home, they will be just as at risk from you. They don’t know that you are who you say you are.
So, do what you can before a client contacts you to allay those fears.
a. Carry indemnity insurance if it is available. Often times you can get this through membership of a Reiki group or association. In the UK, indemnity insurance for Reiki practitioners can be obtained through The Reiki Federation, The Reiki Association, and other groups.
b. Post your actual picture and contact details on your website, and give them to clients when they contact you.
c. Provide references. Testimonials on your site are good, but also be willing to give potential clients references from previous clients. If you don’t have previous clients, ask other established practitioners if they are willing to give you a character reference.
d. Never go into any room of a client’s house without permission.
e. Do not see or treat a client in a bedroom unless absolutely necessary.
f. Never treat a minor without a parent or guardian present. However well-intentioned you might be, there is just too great a scope for accusations here, so don’t do it.
g. If available, have a criminal record check completed as often as recommended for your area, and make this document available to potential clients. In the UK, this is a CRB check and it should be renewed every 3 years.
“Two days after meeting a client in the client’s home, Sue was surprised to receive a knock on her door from the police. The client had reported her diamond necklace stolen and has Sue had been the last person in the woman’s home she was a suspect.
Sue was taken to the station house for questioning, remaining there overnight.
A further search of the client’s home by police constables turned up the necklace where it had been mislaid.”
Further Home Visit Safety Tips
Minimise risk to yourself
- Where practical do not park in the drive (you could be blocked in) – but if you need to, think about reverse parking in, so you can simply drive out
- In a cul de sac, park in the direction of the cul de sac exit
- If using public transportation, be aware of schedules and stops in the area
- If you carry bags, keep your car keys and mobile phone on person (you can barricade yourself in a room/toilet and use your phone in an emergency)
- On your first visit always survey the premises for exits and ways out in an emergency
- Before your first visit, ask questions about pets, children, other potential visitors etc
- Never enter a house if there is yelling, screaming, breaking glass etc coming from within – call the police
- If an aggression incident occurs, remember to try and remain as calm as possible