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Focusing awareness: the process of extraordinary healing from a Rogerian perspective.

Reports of extraordinary healing appear both in the medical literature and in the popular press. In the medical literature, they are generally called "spontaneous remissions" and are not uncommon. In a search of the literature, O'Regan found approximately 3500 references to spontaneous remissions (Dreber & McNeill, 1993). From these, O'Regan and Hirshberg (1993) compiled a list of 1385 citations appearing in reputable medical journals between 1865 and 1989. Between 1950 and 1989, the number had been steadily rising and comprises 81 % of the total number of citations. Of the 1385 citations, 1051 referred to cancers, and 334 referred to other types of diseases. Many of these citations refer to more than one patient. Spontaneous remissions may be more prevalent than previously thought, but may remain under-reported and unmeasured (O'Regan & Hirshberg, 1993). O'Regan and Hirshberg (1993, p. 2) define a spontaneous remission as "The disappearance, complete or incomplete, of a disease or cancer without medical treatment that is considered adequate to produce the resulting disappearance of the disease symptom or tumor." According to O'Regan and Hirshberg (1993) a recent survey of individuals using alternatives in conjunction with traditional treatment "suggests that as many as 10% of them undergo 'spontaneous' remissions, though the causes of these are so far unstudied" (p. 3).

Most reports in the popular literature are anecdotal. For example, Cousins (1979, 1983) reported developing a successful self-healing program for a painful and debilitating connective tissue disease and for a severe heart attack. In both cases, the reported level of recovery far exceeded medical expectations. Melton's (1988) recovery from the devastating effects of AIDS and Bloc's (1989) recovery from a spinal fracture that should have left him paralyzed are two other examples of "miracles" where the individual embarked on a program of self-healing. Instances like these have led to speculations about a mind-body connection in healing where the power of the mind along with emotions and beliefs plays a considerable role in healing the physical body.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), the study of the biochemistry of mind-body interactions, is a very mechanistic view but does give some clues useful in understanding how a mind-body connection might work. In what have become classic experimental studies, Laudenslanger, Ryan, Dugan, Hyson and Maier (1983) found that inescapable stress but not escapable stress depressed the immune system as measured by lymphocyte proliferation (ability to divide and grow in the face of mitogens) and cytotoxicity (ability to destroy infected cells) in rats. Similarly Sklar and Anisman (1979) found that inescapable but not escapable stress was associated with tumors that appeared earlier and grew faster in mice. Millar, Thomas, Pacheco and Rollwagon (1993) found that avoiding stress may significantly enhance lymphocyte proliferation above normal in rats. In humans, stress, whether experimentally induced (Kiecolt-Glaser etal.,1993; Strauman, Lemieux & Coe 1993) or naturally occurring (Kiecolt-Glaser, et al., 1984; Kiecolt-Glaser, et al., 1987) has been associated with immunosuppression. Additionally, perception of control over stress, whether real or imagined, can protect against immunosuppression (Sieber et al., 1992).Within the mechanistic view, neuropeptides are thought to be responsible for the enhancement or suppression of the immune system. In addition, these chemical modulators which swim throughout the body provide the communication network whereby any organ or system can communicate directly with any other organ or system (Pert, 1993). There is, however, a problem with considering these systems to be mechanistic and separate. The communications between them seem to be simultaneous. Neuropeptides require time to travel from one separate area to another. Therefore, Pert(1993) believes some form of undiscovered "enlivening" (p. 189) energy must account for the spontaneous nature of the communications and changes throughout the body.

The Rogerian framework provides an explanation for the apparent unity of communications within the body. Within this framework the "fundamental unit" is the energy field (Rogers, 1986, p. 4), which is open and continuous. Therefore, changes would occur within the entire field, not within one system at a time.

According to Rogers (1986, 1992), the distinguishing characteristic of the field is the pattern. Pattern is an abstraction that gives identity to the field. The pattern cannot be seen or measured. Manifestations of that pattern can be seen. Illness and emotional upset are pattern manifestations. Because symptoms are manifestations of field pattern, changes in symptoms indicate changes in field pattern. Similarly, changes observed in immune function would be a manifestation of field pattern change. From a Rogerian perspective, it would not be a change in the nature of stress from escapable to inescapable that lowered immunity, rather a change in human field pattern manifested as both the perception of inescapable stress and lowered immunity. The two happen simultaneously, as has been observed in the study of PNI.


Requests were placed in journals for brief accounts of spontaneous remissions or of healing which could not be explained by medical treatment received. From the 37 accounts received, three participants were chosen based in part on their use of different alternative therapies. This lessened the chance that belief systems associated with one particular alternative would influence the final analysis. Participants were also chosen to maximize differences between illnesses. In addition, each participant identified one friend who was close to them at the time of the remission and who was willing to be interviewed. Interestingly, each of these three friends had accounts of their own spontaneous remissions, which added to the data. Medical verification of the unexplained nature of the recovery was obtained from copies of medical records and/or from the physicians involved. In each instance a second physician unknown to the participant confirmed that the reported recovery was not possible by medical standards.

All three participants were interviewed between four and five times for more than two hours each over a two year period to explore the process involved in their healing. Human protection standards were followed and pseudonyms were used.

Taped interviews were transcribed verbatim into logs. The constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was used for data analysis. Initially each account was analyzed individually to maintain the integrity of the experience. First the process overtime was delineated. Then each step or stage in the process was analyzed using Strauss and Corbin's (1990) axial coding procedures. Once the three accounts were analyzed, they were compared and a four stage model emerged. Again Strauss and Corbin's (1990) axial coding paradigm was used as constant comparisons were made between participants. Throughout the en-tire process negative cases, or instances that did not agree with the emerging analysis, were sought in the log material and in accounts obtained from the popular press. If found, the analysis was changed accordingly.

Lincoln and Guba's (1985) standards of trustworthiness were applied. Each participant reviewed her own account as well as the final four stage model. Comments were favorable. One participant said it was a "great job in sorting all this information and putting it in some order." In addition, an auditor familiar with the Rogerian framework conducted an audit and found "the method was clear, the decision trail could be followed, and methodological decisions were appropriate."

The Participants

At age 38 Maggie was struggling with a failing marriage and within weeks of leaving her home developed pneumonia and painful abdominal cramps. She was told she would require an immediate partial hysterectomy for uterine fibroids. She states she was given no choice by her physician, and this created further turmoil. She sought second and third opinions before she was able to find a physician who would help her minimize the risk of refusing surgery as she pursued acupuncture and Chinese herbals. After 6 weeks, she had another sonogram and was told there was no change in the fibroids. Because she "could feel-could tell something was going on" and had an "inner voice that said, 'This is working," she ordered the actual reports and found the fibroids had, indeed, begun to shrink. She continued the acupuncture and herbs. Her medical record from 2 years later confirms that the fibroids are gone.

In her early 20's, Milagros suffered several crippling back injuries resulting in two laminectomies. She was in constant pain and unable to hold her own children when she saw a psychic in 1975. She was told to heal herself, prayed that night, and reports she awoke pain free the next morning. (Unfortunately this incident was too old to verify.) In 1991 she was visiting her terminally ill father, which, she felt, reawakened old childhood patterns of rejection by her family. At the same time, the back pain recurred, eventually becoming severe enough to paralyze her. Her MRI from that period confirms extensive stenosis and scarring which would normally be associated with pain and extensive loss of function. She was taken to an emergency room where she reports she suffered further injury at the hands of "uncaring" physicians. Because medicine had no treatments to offer her, she turned back to the many alternatives she had been using including diet, chiropractics, and a form of kinesiology called "brain mapping." By 1993 she had regained function and was pain free.

Rebecca was diagnosed with Hashimoto's hypothyroid in 1989. Despite a clear family history, Rebecca believed the condition was associated not with genetics, but with feelings of abandonment and unrecognized anger as all her friends had recently moved away. Because her symptoms were so severe and the risks of forgoing medical treatment so great, she elected to go on medication for a year while she pursued homeopathy. At the end of the year, she convinced her physician to "partner" with her by reducing the amount of medication slowly over three months and taking frequent blood tests. She was able to get herself off all medication, and her thyroid function remained normal four years later.

Findings: The Four-Stage Model

From the process as described by these three participants, a four stage model was derived to help explain the physical recovery. Central to the process as de-scribed by the participants is the concept of focusing awareness, of becoming increasingly aware and using that awareness to make decisions and to participate more fully in the healing process.

As with any staged model, it should not be implied that the process was an orderly progression from one stage to the next. Indeed, the participants did evolve through the stages described here, but that evolution involved cycling between stages throughout the entire process.

Stage I: Rejecting the Medical Approach

At this point in the process, the participants' awareness was primarily focused on their illness symptoms, whether fever, pain, paralysis, excessive tiredness, or memory loss. These symptoms engendered fear. Physicians engendered more fear by either reporting there was no medical course of action available to help them, or by proposing an approach which felt invasive, and, in the participants' view, did not get at the root of the problem. The participants felt trapped because they were given no choice and were told the medical solution was the only possible approach. Maggie reported her interactions with medicine felt "closed," like "there was no room for anything else."

In addition, all three participants re-ported that their lives felt "blocked." Maggie was struggling with a failing marriage and an unrewarding career. She expressed it as "not getting the support I needed" to participate fully in all areas of her life. While visiting her terminally ill father, Milagros reported old feelings of "rejection" reawakening "blocks" originating in child-hood. Rebecca reported unacknowledged feelings of "abandonment" as all her close friends moved away during the year before her symptoms started.

Anger was the strategy whereby the participants were able to break free of the fear and find the energy to reject the medical treatment proposed. Maggie said,
 There is a time in dealing with my anger when I let it escalate and
 I built a foundation to dig my heels in. If it was just fear, it
 would be so petrifying and disabling. Anger is also, but there is
 more energy with it.

Milagros echoed this thought, "Get me angry I need it to prompt me into action when I am afraid." Rebecca agreed: "That [anger] is what caused my rebellion, more than anything. That was like lighting a fire under me. You could not have gotten me to work faster, to go against what I had been told. "

The anger, as displayed by these participants, was assertive, defiant and focused outward, not generalized or focused inward. It gave them the impetus to ac t ion-the impetus to become involved in their own healing and their own lives.

Stage II: Deciding to Find an Alternative

In contrast to the medical approach which only addressed the physical symptoms, the participants believed alternatives promised to address the whole person and get at the emotional root of the illness. Perhaps more importantly, alternatives gave them choices not only in how they viewed their illness, but in how they participated in the healing.

All three participants had exposure to alternatives prior to the illness. Maggie had been taking and teaching workshops on "new age" philosophies. Milagros had used alternative therapies for many years in order to maintain the level of functioning gained after the first healing. Rebecca, too, had attended workshops on meditation, as well as watched a good friend wean her son off asthma medications primarily by changing his diet. This exposure to alternatives gave them a different awareness about illness and healing. They each believed they would be able to "cure" the problem and prevent its return.

They did not limit their awareness to alternatives, however. They considered the seriousness of the medical condition and actively sought ways to decrease the risks while choosing to pursue alternatives. Maggie agreed to obtain another sonogram 6 weeks after beginning acupuncture to verify that the fibroids were, indeed, shrinking. Milagros returned to her chiropractor who monitored her condition. She also sought the advice of a neurologist to interpret the MRI. Rebecca gradually reduced her thyroid medication as her physician monitored her blood levels to be sure her natural thyroid function was working normally.

As they focused their awareness on both the problem and the options or choices open to them, they noticed that more subtle body sensations changed depending on what they were considering. When considering the medical approach, they felt closed and trapped, but when considering the alternative they felt open and free. Focusing awareness on their bodies' physical and emotional reactions in this way opened a whole new world, and they began to explore new ways of making decisions-new ways of choosing how to participate in their lives. By focusing awareness on the subtle clues of the body, they would come to believe that one course of action or another was better. This belief gave them the freedom to make the choice and to participate.

Stage III: Choosing the Right Therapy

Given all the possible therapies to try, it was somewhat surprising that both Maggie and Rebecca found the "correct" alternative as quickly as they did. It could be coincidence, that any alternative would have worked, or that information was available from outside their bodies. Rebecca said the theory of homeopathy "just resonated with me, the whole theory."
 On a gut level, on a feeling level, having absolutely no rational
 explanation whatsoever, it was sort of like going, "Ahhhhh." (Here
 it is almost like a sigh of relief combined with wonderment.)
 Almost an experience from someplace inside of me, "I know this is
 right," and L know it from some other time. It comes from my
 intuitive level. From the spiritual perspective, if we, are all one
 mind and one part of one great consciousness, then we, in fact,
 have the ability to tap inf2 that universal pool of knowledge at
 any time.

Rebecca reports her only contact with homeopathy had been years before, when she had a cat treated successfully by homeopathy. She had not tried it herself and, therefore, had observed but not personally experienced homeopathic treatments.

Maggie reported a similar experience during fever states when she was trying to decide what she should do.
 This is going to sound strange, but there was an altered
 consciousness' that happened. And there was the pain. The pain got
 terrible. I got really burning up. I sensed the altered
 consciousness. I really can't explain, but I somehow got support,
 some kind of spiritual support.

Milagros spoke about a state in which you "just know" something is true. "Just knowing" is ""a sense of familiarity on a feeling level, and on a conceptual level." For Milagros this sense of "just knowing" came from a deep inner level. She said, "So to me it is really that this is the submerged knowledge and information that is surfacing. As it surfaces it is new to the conscious mind, only! But the rest of me is going, "It is about time."

Fully developed focused awareness means awareness on all levels and was the process whereby the participants chose their alternative therapies. Fully developed focused awareness means awareness of the physical, of symptoms as obvious as pain or as subtle as "gut reactions." It means awareness of the emotional and that fear or "anger fare] not to be discounted" as Maggie said. It means harmony on the conceptual level. Does the information make sense conceptually or intellectually? When all these awarenesses are focused together and one choice "feels right" then the participants felt free to act intentionally because they trusted their choice.

Stage IV: Active and Involved Participation

For all three participants, healing was not something just considered on visits to alternative practitioners or just at designated periods during the day. It became a lifestyle. What one ate, and what one thought about eating, were part of the healing process. Milagros turned to macrobiotics to further cleanse the harmful toxins she believed contributed to the pain. Maggie discovered that her pain returned after eating lunch, but not after breakfast, which consisted entirely of fruits. Her friend suggested maybe her body only wanted fruits for the moment, and she went on a week long fruit diet. She reports the pain never returned.

In addition, how one interacted with others, and how one interacted with one-self, were all considered as lessons in healing as well as methods to heal oneself. Maggie reported she stopped looking to others for support and began relying more on herself. She said, "I was treating myself differently. I started listening to myself more." She termed this process, "standing in my own power" and said, "The biggest thing I learned was to pay attention to myself." Milagros reported her physical recovery started when she acknowledged her own ability to heal herself and worked toward that end.

As part of the participatory process, anything considered to be harmful to the healing was eliminated, including relation-ships and jobs. Anything helpful was pursued, including knowledge, supportive relationships and less stressful lifestyles. Maggie first stopped communicating with her unsupportive husband. Eventually she would divorce him. Instead she turned to a supportive friend who believed that Maggie could heal herself. While Milagros's husband was in agreement with her decision to pursue alternatives, his emotional resources were limited as he was also involved with his ailing father. Both he and Milagros report he was not a very good caregiver. She says he would often just turn his back on her pain and "that became a very stress producing situation." Milagros, too, turned to friends better able to meet her needs. Eventually, however, she would teach her husband to give the support she needed. Additionally, both Rebecca and Maggie left jobs which they felt did not support them as people in order to pursue healing full time.

Situations and events were examined as possible lessons in healing which was considered a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week participatory process. Maggie returned to school to study Human and Organizational Development:
 I would study and cry. I would see things 1 did were in direct
 opposition to what I truly wanted. I wanted a more humanistic
 workplace, but I saw how I contributed to it not being humanistic.

Milagros, who worked full time as a psychic, examined what she was telling others in relationship to her own healing.

For the three participants in this study greater awareness of the spiritual realm was also a part of the healing process. As they actively participated in the process, they also found greater meaning and purpose to their lives. Greater meaning was often experienced as "connecting" with some-thing beyond, or feeling support of a spiritual nature.

Milagros probably had the most experience with "connecting" to a spiritual source. Phrases like "generated by the universe," and "feel a connection with the whole universe," describe the experience of being aware of the spiritual. She said, "When I am aware of myself as more of a soul or an energy, I have a lot more energy and power and I can direct the healing a lot better."

For Maggie, "connecting" meant be-coming aware of spiritual help, of help from somewhere outside herself. She says, "I somehow got some sort of spiritual sup-port." She spoke about "spiritual knowledge that we all receive but don't often use." Spiritual knowledge is:
 The quietest part of us. It is like nature. It is like walking in
 the woods, and standing by a tree and listening to the tree. It is
 not that I hear anything. It is more I feel things.

Rebecca considered her spiritual journey at least as important as her physical healing. For her, spirituality manifested as "the ability to tap into that universal pool of knowledge at any time," and was experienced as "quiet in the Temple." "This is where you are closest to God. This is where you are the closest to what you really are and where you came from."

For all three, focused listening was the clearest and most accurate in this spiritual realm. Rebecca explained that in this spiritual realm, "My intuitive voice is extremely clear. It is so quiet that what I need to hear, I hear all the time." For Milagros "there is a knowing" in this spiritual realm where "it all felt familiar." Maggie termed focused listening "mulling" and said, "Some-how this mulling comes up with other things, like other ways to see things." This, she said, happens "in the quietest part of us" which is "very centered and balanced."

Awareness and focusing that awareness on the spiritual were the final steps in a process of increasing awareness coupled with increasing participation in the process. As each participant spoke about the process of healing evolving through the four stages, they described a process of increasingly focused awareness. They described a process whereby the symptoms taught them to focus their awareness. Having become increasingly aware of the physical body-the symptoms, they would focus awareness on the emotional, then the spiritual. At the same time, the nature of their participation changed, and they became more actively involved in their healing and in their lives. This increasing involvement in the process was considered the "true healing" by the participants.

Discussion: The Rogerian Perspective

While the more mechanistic view, PNI, could provide some explanations for the recoveries, many questions were left unanswered. It was discovered that the Rogerian framework had great explanatory power when applied to what these three extraordinary women had done. From the Rogerian perspective, the process could be conceptualized as an evolutionary one to-ward higher frequency patterning.

Barrett's fl 983) concept of power as "knowing participation in change" provided the most accurate description of what these three women had done. She says, "Knowing participation is awareness of what one is choosing to do, feeling free to do it, and doing it intentionally" (p. 104). Greater power is higher frequency patterning (Barrett, 1983).

During the first stage of the process as depicted by this model, the participants reported that their energy was "blocked" and "closed." From a Rogerian perspective, energy fields and flow would not be blocked or closed. The experience of lower frequency patterning might, however, manifest as the feeling of "blocked" and "closed" as reported by these participants. Patterning which manifested as feeling blocked was evident in the women's descriptions of their life situations at the time they became ill. They felt trapped by circumstances and, at least at that moment, felt they could not participate in changing them. They also felt trapped by the physician's response to their problems. Maggie commented that when she spoke with her diagnosing physician, "It felt like there was no room for anything else."

From a mechanistic point of view, feeling trapped (inescapable stress) leads to immunosuppression and decreased ability to heal. From a Rogerian perspective, the depressed immune system and the feeling of "trapped" would be manifestations of a field pattern. It is not that one "causes" the other. Rather, they are both manifestations associated with a particular energy pattern.

At this point, perceived awareness seems to have been limited. Initially, the participants reported focusing awareness on the symptoms of both the illness and the emotional problems they were facing. They were aware that they felt trapped but were not aware of choices which might be avail-able to them. They were not participating fully. It was the diagnosis and proposed medical course that provided the impetus to participate more fully and more powerfully in their own lives.

While considering the medical recommendations and their life circumstances felt like being "trapped," considering an alternative therapy felt more "open." The participants report that the alternative promised to address not only the illness, but the emotional problems they perceived as part of the medical condition. They now had a way to escape the stresses of the illness and their lives. From a mechanistic point of view, feeling that stress was now escapable would have enhanced immune function.

From a Rogerian perspective, how-ever, both enhanced immunity and the feeling of openness may be pattern manifestations associated with higher frequency patterning. Certainly, descriptions of their lives during this second stage in the process suggest that higher frequency patterning may have been present. Barrett (1983) suggests that greater power, greater participation in change, is a higher frequency pattern. At this point, the participants reported increasing awareness, choices and involvement in change, all associated in Barrett's model with greater power.

During this second stage, the participants' awareness expanded to note that more pleasant body sensations and emotions were associated with considering alternatives. They focused their awareness on these pleasant feelings. Phrases like "just felt right" and "gut reactions" were used to describe this newly discovered ability of the body to communicate through feelings and emotions. Having become aware of the sensations and the messages they felt were contained in them, the participants report they realized they had choices. The first choice was to pursue the alternative. Another choice was to eliminate jobs or relationships that were associated with feelings of "closed" and trapped." They began to actively participate by pursuing their own choices.

With the third stage, choosing the right therapy, the experience as presented by the participants became more paranormal in nature. The theory of the emergence of paranormal phenomena (Rogers, 1980) "suggests that experiences normally labeled paranormal are manifestations of the changing diversity and innovation of field patterning (Malinski, 1993, p. 51)" and are higher frequency patterns.

During the third stage all three reported having access to knowledge which they felt could not have come from within themselves. Maggie reports "spiritual guidance" in her decisions. Milagros reports knowing things "my petty mind" could not. Rebecca reports receiving knowledge that came from "some other time." Indeed, Maggie had no personal experience with acupuncture at the time she decided to pursue it. Milagros reported an ongoing process of accepting one form of alternative while rejecting another based on information which would not have been available from personal experience. Similarly, Rebecca had not personally experienced homeopathy, yet was sure it would work.

PNI can theoretically explain how one might intuitively ""know" something based on personal experience. Neuropeptides swimming about in the body transmit information from one part of the body to another. It is believed this information is carried between all systems in the body, including the subconscious mind (Pert, 1993). There-fore, the subconscious could have knowledge of disease states before they are diagnosed. The subconscious mind could also have knowledge about whether a particular treatment was working. This might explain why Maggie "just knew" the acupuncture "was working."

Neuropeptides, however, cannot ex-plain the perception of "knowledge" not already contained within the body, not known through previous experiences. The participants suggested that their choice of alternatives was, in part, based on information they had not yet experienced. Within the Rogerian view, they would not have had to experience the alternative on a physical level to know whether it was right for them. The wave pattern associated with the particular alter-native would have been available to them because the human field and environmental field are one open field. Simply by becoming aware, they would have access to this information in the environmental field. Increasingly focusing awareness on the environmental field was a part of the healing process reported by the participants.

During the fourth stage, active and involved participation, higher frequency pat-terns became more predominant in all aspects of the participants' life. All three spoke about discovering choices in how they dealt with the "trapped" feelings they were experiencing in their lives, and about connecting with the spiritual. For them, becoming aware of the spiritual was part of the true healing.

For Maggie, awareness of a field pattern that manifested as anger gave her choices in how she participated in the world. She chose to participate by relying on her-self and by manifesting support within her-self, rather than expecting support to be in the environment. She participated in changing her field pattern by finding her true self, "standing in [her] own power," and by living her "vision" of how she wanted to be in the world.

Similarly, Rebecca's growing awareness of a field pattern manifesting as "fear of disappearing if I am not acknowledged" led her to choose to acknowledge herself by discovering who she was. This involved patterning her field with higher frequency patterns by becoming aware her own core self which she experienced as "quiet in the Temple."

Milagros had extensive experience with healing prior to her most recent experience. For her, it was a matter of reawakening by focusing her awareness back to the true nature of her being.

Greater power, as experienced by these participants, is a manifestation of a higher frequency pattern and should, ac-cording to Rogers, be associated with other higher frequency patterns. Awareness of spirituality, within the Rogerian framework, has also been considered a higher frequency pattern (Malinski, 1991). A correlation between greater spirituality and greater power has been demonstrated (Smith, 1992). Indeed, the participants reported that both their awareness of the spiritual and their active participation in change increased as the process evolved.

From a Rogerian perspective, the growing awareness of the spiritual nature of their being would be a growing awareness of Integrality, of the continuous mutual process of human and environmental fields (Malinski, 1994). The participants described the process as both an opening to and as a growing awareness of Spirit, but felt that Spirit had been present throughout their entire lives. Awareness, then, may be the key. For these three the disease was the impetus to becoming more observant as their awareness was first focused on unmistakable symptoms which frightened them. Having become consciously aware of physical symptoms, they were able to shift that focused awareness to emotional and then, finally to spiritual realms, each new awakening in conscious or focused awareness adding onto the last. To this they also brought an intellectual awareness as they focused on and sorted out the meaning. This process, focused awareness, felt like freedom, and gave them choices so that they became more actively involved in their own lives. Their accounts of healing described the process whereby illness can become an empowering experience.

According to the Rogerian framework, higher frequency patterning increases the likelihood that the change-the physical healing-would be an innovative pattern change (Malinski, 1993), and one not seen on a regular basis. This suggests the physical healing was not the result of the right variables coming together in just the right amounts to bring about electrochemical events which produced physical recovery. Rather, the recovery may have been a manifestation of ever increasing frequency wave patterns which the participants achieved by patterning the field with ever increasing power, with ever increasing participation in the process, with ever increasing spiritual awareness. As such, it would be an innovative and diverse pattern but one to-ward which humanity may be evolving.


While research in PNI was helpful in the understanding how a change in the perception of stress may have been involved in the physical recovery, it could not explain the entirety of the healing experience. The Rogerian framework not only provided a fuller explanation, it validated the more paranormal experiences of these three extraordinary women and helped explain how they perceived help of a spiritual nature from their environmental field.

The process involved can be conceptualized as one of ever increasing frequency patterning. Having become aware of frightening physical symptoms, it was an easy transition to awareness of the emotional then of the spiritual. Each step added to the one prior and each step demonstrated a higher frequency pattern. Rather than looking at the physical recovery as a biochemical event resulting from a change in the perception of stress, it would be more helpful to view the change in the perception of stress and the biochemical manifestations associated with that change as higher frequency patterning. In this way, greater power, greater spirituality and healing become manifestations of the one continuous mutual process of the human/environmental field.

Final Comment

The three participants in this study have helped illuminate an experience not considered possible by many traditional health care professionals. Their willingness to spend the time necessary to help with the study, and their courage in revealing aspects of themselves which did not always make them feel comfortable, has provided this study with a wealth of information and insight which would not have been possible using a more quantitative approach. It is hoped that this information will add to the growing body of knowledge about healing in general and about extraordinary healing in particular.

Reprinted from Visions, Vol. 3, No. 1. 1995

Received March, 1995 Accepted May, 1995


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Patricia E. Schneider, RN; PhD

This study was Dr. Schneider's doctoral work at New York University
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Author:Schneider, Patricia E.
Publication:Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
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