Q&A with Caitlin Blackburn: The Art of Reiki




Licensed social worker and reiki master Caitlin Blackburn works at Grounded Therapy in East Lyme where she incorporates reiki into her practice. Reiki, a modality targeting imbalances in the body’s energy, allows for physical and mental healing. Ms. Blackburn uses a holistic approach to aid in lasting change and progress in her clients.


VS: What is reiki?
CB: “Reiki is an ancient healing modality. If you look at any culture, they have energy work that is very similar to reiki. The premise is that we have our physical body, and we have our energetic body. Sometimes when our energy is blocked or excessively flows, it can cause disease within our body. The hope with reiki is that it helps balance our energy and removes some energetic blockages. It is also just super relaxing for most people. It gives them a little bit of relief when they’re dealing with some really difficult things. I discovered reiki as I was getting my degree in social work. It was something that personally helped and empowered me a lot. I knew I wanted to incorporate that into any practice that I had with people. It was my driving force for even starting one-on-one work.”


VS: How do you use reiki to treat clients?
CB: “The thing about reiki is it is a universal force of energy that comes through me. I try to use my intuition, and then as I get to know clients I understand what areas might need more attention. If I’m meeting somebody new for the first time, I typically ask them if there is anything they notice in their body that needs some extra care. Typically, it’s pretty intuitive. When I first start a session, we look at energetic scans and see what areas are more blocked or not. I go with what I’m feeling at the moment and anything the client has identified that they want to work on.”


VS: Advice for your high school self?
CB: “My advice would be to find something that you love because that’s where the joy is going to come from. A lot of messaging we get throughout our entire lives is based on money and status. We need money to survive but in the end, success is not just about how much money you make. Don’t pressure yourself to have it all figured out. Almost every person I know has changed their mind or found something else that’s exciting and fits what they want to do. It doesn’t always need to be a fixed path because that seems scary and intense. Don’t be afraid to change your mind or try different things that you might love. That’s how I found my path. We’re all going to evolve and go through life. Things that we may have enjoyed doing when we are younger don’t have to align anymore and that’s fine. If you are changing that means you are growing.”


VS: What was the process to become a reiki master?
CB: “I met a woman, my now mentor, on a trip to New Mexico who was a reiki master. I gravitated towards her. At the time, I had no interest in reiki but I had an interest in learning from her because she was a therapist and worked with people with trauma. In getting to know her better, she gave me reiki sessions and educated me about it. When I came home after, I wanted to get my reiki level one which allowed me to practice reiki on myself without making it into a business. I got certified at a local yoga studio in New London. Right before everything shut down in 2020, I got my level two. I started to do reiki more and waited about a year to get my master’s training. I feel very strongly you need to be practicing a lot to get to reiki level three because you have to also be able to teach reiki after you get that certification.”


VS: Why did you decide to pursue mental health?
CB: “I decided to pursue my degree in social work in 2012 because I knew I wanted to do something in the helping profession. At that point, I never saw myself doing individual therapy. As time went on, and I got more into my reiki practice and doing workshops with groups, I realized that I did want to work one-on-one with people over a longer period. I thought that was more beneficial than working in a bigger system. When I was in college, I thought I was going to end up in law school. As I was studying for the LSAT, I didn’t feel right and I realized that it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t make the impact that I wanted to make in that field. I ended up going to Southern Connecticut State University to get my masters in social work. I eventually was working as a victim advocate for a domestic violence agency which put me in the court system, but I slowly moved onto doing other things within the court like becoming a social worker for families going through high- conflict divorce and custody issues. Once I finished getting my degree in social work, I got my license and began working where I am now, at Grounded Therapy.”