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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 145154, 8 pages
Research Article

Healing Relationships: A Qualitative Study of Healers and Their Clients in Germany

1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
2Catholic Academy “Die Wolfsburg”, Ruhr, 45478 Muelheim, Germany
3Berlin School of Public Health, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13347 Berlin, Germany
4Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 29 January 2015; Accepted 13 May 2015

Academic Editor: Terje Alraek

Copyright © 2015 B. M. H. Stöckigt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The aim of this study was to investigate the nature of the relationships between healers and their clients in Germany. Methods. An interdisciplinary research team performed semistructured interviews with healers and clients and participatory observation of healing sessions. All interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. Results. Fifteen healers and sixteen clients were included. The healer-client relationship was described as a profound and unique experience, which brought forth interpersonal and spiritual connections. The healers were seen as role models for healing to occur and support for being connected spiritually. The clients had to be open-minded and responsible. The importance of the healers’ empathy was emphasized. Discussion. The relationship between healer and client can be seen as a triangular connection between client, healer, and a transcendent source which is not the case in typical patient-doctor relationships. The spiritual connection is also said to enhance the empathetic understanding of the healer. The personality and a partner-like attitude of the healer supported the client in giving a more positive meaning to his life, in reconnecting to his spirituality, and in taking responsibility. Future studies should address the role of spirituality in health care and the development of enduring healer-client relationships.