Useful Complementary Therapies to CBT

As a CBT therapist I believe in a 360 degree lifestyle enhancement at both the physical and mental level to enhance my CBT work with my clients. With that in mind I am showcasing relevant complementary therapies that work well when used alongside Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help improve your overall well being


I am going to start with profiling Reiki.  I have a good friend, Charlie Wu, who practises Jikiden Reiki. I decided to run the profile as an interview as it's such an interesting therapy.

Interview with Charlie Wu - Reiki Therapist

Clare: Tell me about Reiki and the difference between the Reiki you practice and Western Reiki

Charlie: Reiki essentially is channelling universal energy in order to help the receivers body heal. Natural and non-invasive, when Reiki therapy is received from a trained practitioner it can assist in the healing of both body and mind.

It’s important to note that all forms of reiki work, regardless of its’ origin. The form of reiki I practice is called Jikiden Reiki, which is authentic Japanese Usui Reiki, as practised and taught in the late 1920's and 30's in Japan, with no Western influence or adaption to the original teachings.

One major difference between Jikiden Reiki and Western Reiki is with Western you are taught set hand positions, whereas in Jikiden reiki you are taught to sense with your hands, by moving them across the body to focus on areas that need treatment. Where I sense heat with my hands, that is where I focus on the body for treatment. Others might feel a coldness, but for me it’s always heat. According to my clients, my hands get extremely hot, although I cannot feel it as such.

Another important difference is that Jikiden Reiki teachers are only allowed to teach others, once they have practiced and passed a certain threshold of a long period of practice. Assessment is rigorous, as you would expect nothing else from the Japanese. Therefore you can be sure you will be in experienced hands, as the Japanese Jikiden Reiki Institute is very thorough in the vetting of teachers and students. I am listed both with the Jikiden Reiki Institute of Japan and the Jikiden Reiki UK Association.

For those who want to delve deeper into this, there is an excellent book by Frank Arjava Petter who has done a lot of work to reveal the myths and truths about Reiki, in his book, 'This is Reiki'.

Clare: Why and how did you choose and train in this therapy?

Charlie: I got into Reiki as an ex partner of mine had developed non smoking related lung cancer. I wanted to help and someone suggested I train in Jikiden reiki. I knew nothing about reiki, but as I didn’t want to be a passive bystander, so I gave it a go and that’s how I discovered Jikiden Reiki. I gave him Reiki during chemo, and he had no side effects. He is still in remission and is healthy to this day. Please note that I am no way advocating reiki as a substitute for Western medicine. Reiki is meant to be a complimentary therapy that helps the body to self heal.

Clare: Who do you think will benefit from having Reiki?

Charlie: Anyone can benefit from a reiki session. Whether it’s physical or mental, reiki helps the body to relax and heal. I have had many clients feel like they have relaxed into a deep relaxed state to emerge reinvigorated.  

Clare: What will a client experience during the first session?

Charlie: It’s hard to say, but initially I’ll take case notes as to what the client wants to gain from a reiki session with me. I have treated physical ailments to anxiety issues and just people who want to have a re-energising session. The reiki energy flows one way, from myself to the receiver.

What I will do is run my hands across the body and where I sense heat, that is where I will concentrate on. For instance, when I initially treated my ex partner for lung cancer I found a hot spot with my hands in his heart area. He told me later that the tumour was located behind the heart, which I was not aware of.

All clients should feel relaxed and re-energised. The effects can usually be felt more so, 24 hours later, which is why I tell clients not to do anything strenuous after a session with me.

But the effects can vary. One friend I treated for hyper anxiety, who worked for a large big consulting firm, her body purged all week, which is the most extreme reaction I have yet heard of. Others report a release of raw emotion, the day after.

What clients can expect is a covid compliant environment, where everything is cleaned thoroughly before and after, for health and safety.

Clare: How many sessions are recommended?

Charlie: If it’s an ongoing issue I would recommend 2 to 3 ongoing sessions, at once a week, to give it a good blast to help the issue. If it’s general, clients usually pop in every 4 weeks.

Clare: How will a client know when they could do with a Reiki session, are there signs?

Charlie: If you feel fatigued and need a reset, then that’s a good sign. Or if it’s physical. One client I am currently treating, had abdominal issues that his doctor just couldn’t pin the cause down. I agreed to treat him and he told me that the pain has lessened and seems to be doing it good. At the end of the day it cannot hurt, as all reiki is healing.

Clare: Can this be done remotely or does it have to be in person?

Charlier: This can be done remotely. The belief is that we are all connected. I have performed remote healing and to begin with I was sceptical, but I cannot deny the effect on people. That said, I prefer to work on a hands on capacity.

Clare: What are your plans for 2021 for your Reiki clinic?

Charlie: I am slowly expanding and taking things one step at a time. I have always wanted to practice Reiki and have been told many times by people I should utilise my skills. 2020 gave me the opportunity to focus on setting up my clinic, when my main source of income as a freelancer within broadcast news took a hit. I am grateful for the opportunity to repivot and use Jikiden Reiki alongside my career in broadcast.

Clare: How do you look after yourself as a Reiki practitioner?

Charlie: I would love to say I meditate 2 hours a day and practice yoga. But the truth is that I prefer the gym and physical exercise. That said, when I am giving Reiki, that in itself is a form of mediation for me as I zone out and become a conduit, channelling reiki. As someone giving Reiki, I too get the benefits of its healing energy as it passes through me.

Clare: What well-being advice can you give at this time while Covid 19 is still disrupting our lives?

Charlie: Look after your mental health. Physical ailments can manifest from mental stress. If you are in lockdown, make sure you get out and walk daily if only for 15 mins!

 You can contact Charlie through his Instagram Page #wujikidenreiki