Why we resist healing

By Natalie Eve Marquis, RMT, CH, Intuitive Healer & Coach

Understanding the Wisdom of Resistance, the “Red Light” in the Healing Process.


I bump up against resistance quite often in my healing sessions with clients. This might seem surprising. The client is here with me because they want healing support. So why is some part of them resistant to healing?

As I move clients through the various stages of the Reiki Release Emotional Healing Method, I can intuitively sense when they are not fully on board with releasing and healing. Most are not aware of the fact that part of them is resisting. The resistance is occurring below their level of conscious awareness, in their subconscious mind. And even though the client has made a conscious decision to heal, it is their subconscious mind that is in the driver’s seat.

The subconscious is where all of our long-term memories, beliefs, and habits are stored, and quite often, our subconscious is running a program that says, “It’s not safe to let this go yet.” While the conscious mind is giving us the green light, our subconscious is flashing a bright red light. It’s like having our foot on the gas pedal while pressing down on the brake. The car can’t move forward. Unless our conscious and subconscious minds are working together, not much progress will be made.

What is Resistance?

Before we talk about where resistance comes from and how to work with it, it’s important to have some clarity on what resistance is.

You’ve heard the phase, “What we resist persists.” This is true because resistance is a form of free will that blocks healing. Resistance is free will saying, “No, it doesn’t feel safe to move forward yet.”

When resistance arises during a healing session it is important to acknowledge, honor and work with it. Ultimately, the goal is to get all aspects of the client, their conscious and unconscious intentions, working together.

In electrical terms: Resistance is the opposition that a substance offers to the flow of electrical current.

In human term: Resistance is the opposition that a person offers to the flow of life force energy.

The standard unit of resistance (free will) is the ohm Ω (God). In Hindu tradition OM is the Word of God and the sound OM is a vibration from which the manifest universe emanates. How marvelous that the electrical definition mirrors the metaphysical!

How to Shift Resistance to Healing

When you sense resistance during a healing session (or even in yourself during your own self-healing work), the first thing to do is acknowledge and welcome it. Allow it some space to be seen, heard and understood.

Resistance is showing up because whatever you’re trying to do (heal, move in a new direction, let go of an old story, etc.) doesn’t feel safe yet. Your resistance is trying to protect you! So rather than push it away, invite it closer. Find out what it’s trying to protect you from by talking with it. I often begin by inviting clients to be with the resistance and say,

“I see you… (pausing to “see” it)”

“I hear you... (pausing to listen to it)”

“Thank you for trying to protect me.”

I suggest to the client that they might, “Notice the feeling of resistance rising up like a strong wave, and as we sit with it, not trying to change it or stuff it down, it starts to gently recede.”

Six Steps to Working through Resistance to Healing

  1. Welcome it.

  2. See it. Hear it. Thank it for protecting you.

  3. Befriend it. Team up with it. Consider how you and resistance can work together for your common good.

  4. Dialogue with it. Ask it what it needs to know or be reassured of in order to move forward? What “next step” or action would feel safe and supportive?

  5. Honor it – Never force resistance or try to skip ahead without all aspects of you feeling fully on board. Honor the resistance by allowing it the space, care and attention that you perhaps didn’t receive when you were a child. When we honor resistance and what it’s trying to tell us, we begin building new and important layers of trust.

  6. Prayer & Intention - “Dear Divine Source (Universe), my heart-felt desire is to heal (or release this issue). I give this issue and the resistance to you, trusting that Divine Love knows the way. Amen.”

How to Talk with the Resistance


The intensity of the resistance often starts to dissipate from the above steps alone. However, sometimes the resistance is ‘sticky. By this I mean, some of it subsides but not all of it. In which case, the next step is to have a deeper talk with the resistance. In therapy circles they call this “dialoguing.”

Here are some questions you might ask resistance. As you ask the following questions, be aware of the first thing that comes to mind such as a memory or an emotion. Don’t analyze it yet; just take note of the answers that come to mind.

  • Where is resistance residing in your body? What does it feel like? Is it a heavy weight on your shoulders, a pressure on your chest, or a tightness in your belly? Bring your awareness to that area of the body and its sensations, and just be with it for a few moments, not trying to change it or push it away. We call this “holding space”, much like we hold space for a friend that is venting or crying. We don’t offer advice or try to stop them or fix them, we just be there for them.

  • When did you first feel unsafe (earliest age)?

  • Why doesn’t it feel safe to let this go?

  • What are you (resistance) protecting me from?

  • Who or what don’t you trust?

Once we bring resistance and its reasons to the surface, we now have information and insight that can help us address its needs and concerns.

The 8 Types of Resistance You May Encounter

The following is a list of the types of resistance that I’ve encountered in my healing work with clients and in my own healing journey. For each type of resistance I offer a possible "shift" or suggestion for working with and moving through it.  Our goal is not to force or push away the resistance. Rather, we welcome it, befriend it, listen to it, and sometimes educate it. The ultimate goal is to sync up our conscious and subconscious intentions.

Also, it’s important to note that the suggested "shifts" work best when they are offered to a client who is an alpha/theta level of consciousness (a deeply relaxed lucid dreaming state) rather than in the typical beta (analytical thinking) level of consciousness. The alpha and theta level of consciousness is where our beliefs, habits and unconscious programming are stored. You'll find the shifts and healing will do deeper if done from this level of consciousness, which can be induced with hypnosis, 15 minutes or so of energy healing, or through guided meditation (or a combination of all three).

#1 Limiting Beliefs – The client has one or more negative beliefs that keep them from remembering their true divine nature, which keeps them from knowing they are “enough”, “worthy”, “whole”, etc.

Shift: Remind the client, that this is faulty programming. It’s not who they truly are. As an aspect of the Divine, they were born worthy, perfect, whole and complete.

#2 Guilt – You might encounter resistance when a client feels deep guilt over prior decisions and experiences. A part of them is worried that if they let go of the guilt, they might slide back into their old patterns. A part of them also doesn’t feel worthy of happiness due to the mistakes they’ve made.

Shift: I remind the client that our actions and decisions can be good or bad, helpful or unhelpful, but that does not make us bad or unworthy. We are an aspect of the Divine – pure love – born worthy. During the releasing process, I also encourage the client to “keep any lessons and blessing, but let go of everything else that doesn’t feel good.

#3 Anger – Resistance sometimes reveals deep anger. We may find the client doesn’t want to let go of the anger because it's a way for them can stay connected to a former spouse or a parent who abandoned them. Sometimes though, the anger is a mix of anger and resentment. The client feels if they let the anger go then they are letting the person who hurt them off the hook.

Shift: Assure the client that it is safe to let go of the anger and resentment because we all live by the law of karma. We get back an energetic equivalent of whatever we give out. This applies to the perpetrator and ourselves! We think by holding onto anger that we are holding the perpetrator’s hands over the fire, but we are only burning ourselves.

The way out of anger and resentment is through forgiveness. Forgiveness has nothing to do with letting people who’ve hurt us or betrayed us off the hook. Forgiveness is an immensely empowering, inside process. Most of us don’t realize it, but when we hold onto anger and resentment we are energetically holding onto the perpetrator as well. When we forgive, we set ourselves free from the shackles of resentment and ill will, and we energetically disconnect from the perpetrator as well! We know we’ve truly forgiven another or a situation when it no longer has an emotional charge.

When it comes to resistance to healing, anger and resentment are often the stickiest to transform. This is because, at its heart, it's a journey through forgiveness and it quite often occurs in phases and stages. To help a client through these phases, I might refer them to several forgiveness exercises.

Or we might just say a simple prayer to the Divine such as:

“I want to let go of this anger and resentment. I want to be free of this. I don’t know how to forgive and let go. But I know that Divine Love knows the way. Show me the way. Help me see this experience through Your (the Divine’s) higher truth and perspective.”

#4 Ego – Feelings that are ego-driven such as jealousy, envy, greed, etc. are sometimes too embarrassing to acknowledge or are below the surface of the client’s awareness.

Shift: Bring the clients feelings into awareness in a non-personal, non-judgmental and loving manner; remind them of their Divine power. When I sense jealously or envy, I might say, “Sometimes we feel jealousy or envy because some part of us feels we can’t have or don’t deserve what we want, or we have internal programming that believes in lack or competition. Either way, when we feel this, we’ve forgotten who we truly are -- Divine powerful beings of love, light and infinite abundance. There is plenty for everyone. Everyone has a unique and special role that only they can fulfill.”

#5  Worldview – We may resist healing because of a worldview that doesn’t match our life purpose. The old Worldview feels like “truth,” the norm, it’s all we’ve been exposed to. A worldview is similar to a limiting belief except there’s often a whole, sometimes positive, story around it.

For example, I once had a client that wanted to attract new love into her life. Her higher self was trying to wake her up to a new type of man, a man that works through his intellect versus a man who works with his hands. She herself was college educated in a professional field, yet she kept dating blue-collar guys in which the relationships quickly fizzled and died. Through the Reiki Release Emotional Healing Method we discovered her worldview was that love happens with a hardworking blue-collar man, like her Dad. Her Dad deeply loves and is devoted to her Mom. Her parents have been happily married over forty years. This was her comfort zone and the foundation of her worldview about long-lasting love. By intuitively sharing the vision that her higher self was reaching for, a deeply loving, intellectual professional, we could open her up to the possibility that deep love could appear in a different “package.”

Shift – Help the client become aware of their current “world view” by intuiting and sharing the vision their soul has for them.

#6 Pain – When the original experience was too painful or overwhelming, resistance may arise as a form of self-protection.

Shift: Honor the depth of the pain and release it in stages or layers. Think baby steps! Only proceed with as much as the client is comfortable with. For some, the pain, trauma and hurt are very deep. When we know or sense this, it is a good idea to proceed very, very slowly. In these cases, releasing one old emotional wound is more than enough for one session. There is no need to push for the client to unearth the full depth of all of their old hurts and wounds in one session.

In my sessions, I consider myself a facilitator, and let the client lead the way and choose the depth and level of emotional experience and release they feel most comfortable with.

Often once a layer or two is released, the client needs a period of time to adjust and integrate the healing into their life. This creates a new set point from which future healing work will unfold. It is also Spirit’s way of helping us undergo a more gradual and gentle healing transformation.

#7 Pleasure – We may resist healing because on a deeper level we don’t feel worthy of pleasure, joy, freedom, and/or happiness.

Shift: Remind the client that pleasure and joy is ours by Divine heritage. Bliss is God’s very nature, when we move away from joy and pleasure, we move away from our God/divine nature.

#8 Identity – For some, their illness has become their identity.

Shift: Help them to understand their soul’s purpose and perhaps the spiritual lesson. Plant the seeds for them to step into their God-given power.

Affirmation: “I choose to manifest my real self, my God-Self, in this body now. I now experience my God-Self in every area of my life. I joyfully claim and experience my God-self in this body now.”

Resistance is a natural part of the healing journey. Earlier in this article, I used the analogy of healing being a green light and resistance being a red stoplight. When we encounter or intuitively sense resistance in a client, it’s an indication to slow down and stop, look both ways, delve deeper and tease out the cause of the resistance. Resistance lets us know there is a deeper layer or different aspect of the client that needs more attention and healing before we can proceed. By healing the underlying cause of resistance, we help the client bring both their conscious and subconscious goals into alignment, and hence produce a green light for integrated healing.



About Natalie Eve Marquis


An intuitive healer, teacher, writer, and artist, Natalie helps seekers discover deeper connection and meaning in their lives. She is the founder of the Reiki Release® Emotional Healing Method, a process that pinpoints and releases the root cause of emotional blocks and negative beliefs. She also provides traditional, Crystal and Shamanic Reiki, chakra balancing sessions, intuitive readings, hypnotherapy, past life regressions, and classes.

Learn more about Natalie Eve Marquis, RMT, CH

Natalie Marquis