Kathleen Judge, a clinical social worker in private practice in Rutland, Vermont, describes herself as a “plain vanilla” therapist whose years of experience have taught her not to chase every treatment technique du jour. When she received mailings from an energy healer and medical intuitive who was conducting nearby information sessions for health professionals, she didn't discard the literature, but she didn't act on it either.
Yet after a client whom Judge had seen 16 years earlier for alcoholism returned looking for her to redo some magic that she knew she didn't have for him, she turned back to those pamphlets. Since deciding to refer that client to The Lenair Healing Center and having an opportunity to observe Rhonda Lenair's work, Judge has sent to Lenair a total of four individuals whom the social worker was ready to label “treatment failures.”
Lenair, who sees clients at her Benson, Vermont, home with a meadow view, has been doing her healing work since the mid-1980s and attracts individuals with a variety of health complaints. But as her work has evolved she has seen a growing percentage of people with substance addictions or at least problem use; the tagline for the center on its Web site (http://www.lenair.com) reads “Addiction and Medical Intuitive Services.”
Her work would appear to turn on its ear the average field professional's notion of what addiction treatment is, in that the Lenair technique does not involve medical detoxification, medication treatments to combat craving, or extensive counseling with a detailed rehash of a client's history. As a medical intuitive, Lenair uses a highly developed sense of intuition to “read” the client's true self. She says she does not “figure something out” about the client, but is simply able to speak the person's knowing self via the one-on-one encounter.
She says this type of work found her, as opposed to the reverse. During her youth she thought she would become a ballerina, but she fell ill as a teenager during a tryout with a company in England. After her recovery, a physician in a chance meeting told her she had a strong electromagnetic field, and she soon began to study energy healing and medical intuition.
Based on interviews with clients, professionals, and Lenair herself, her clients generally leave a three-day treatment schedule with no cravings for the substance that has created problems in their lives. “They usually feel very affected, or somehow different but they don't know why,” explains Barry Chalfin Lenair, Rhonda Lenair's husband and the administrator of the center's day-to-day operations. “It is a subtle change that takes place through their entire being.”
As part of Lenair's treatment, carried out in three sessions over four days, clients also receive detailed advice from her on a tailored regimen of natural products and other remedies to improve their well-being. “When we empty ourselves of that which we do not need, we're clear to achieve what we can profit by,” Lenair says.
While Lenair's work has been featured in regional newspapers, some general medical publications, and a detailed article in Elle magazine in 2001, her efforts have not captured the attention of organizations in the addiction field. This is perhaps not surprising as the field continues to align with science-based strategies confirmed through large controlled trials—something Lenair cannot generate at present. Yet Lenair certainly has encouraged more awareness among healthcare professionals. She says she treated mostly health professionals in the early years of her work, and she routinely urges clients to ask their doctor or therapist to accompany them to the center.
Judge has done this for a client, and even though she did not sit in on that client's one-on-one sessions with Lenair, she concluded from other discussions with Lenair and her client that this healer has a special way of accessing aspects of her clients' consciousness.
“All four clients whom I've sent haven't had a drink since they returned,” Judge says. “I recognize that something different from normal is happening here. This somehow is another piece of the continuum.”
Clients' unusual experience
Dan McKeon, a 47-year-old electrician, saw Lenair for an alcohol problem in 2000. He described himself at the time as the person whose impending arrival at a party would make other guests cringe. He had tried to stop drinking on his own several times, but managed only short periods of success. A counselor recommended that he attend Alcoholics Anonymous, but he believed the 12-Step approach didn't fit for him. He once was offered a chance to take the medication Antabuse, but he realized he simply would stop using the aversive medication if he decided he needed to drink.
Then a friend with a background in nutrition mentioned the Lenair center to him. “The only reason I was skeptical is I didn't know anything about it, but I was desperate,” McKeon says.
As is the case with most of Lenair's clients, McKeon has difficulty explaining what he actually experienced in the sessions with her. “She was sort of reading my energy; she said my body was coming up short of various nutrients. She described to me things to avoid in my diet,” he says.