Valentine's Day Message

Posted by MASO on February 13, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (570)

Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th. It is another holiday where we are bombarded with the commercialization and record breaking sales of flowers, candy, stuffed teddy bears, romantic dinners, rom-com movies, sexy lingerie and the like with all the pressure to be romantic and passionate. For many individuals and couples, this day is about love, romance, and happiness. Many use this holiday to forge new relationships, engagements, and weddings.


We believe Valentine's Day should be a focus on love, but self-love first and foremost for we cannot attract the kind of loving relationship we deserve without it. Valentine’s Day should also serve as a reminder to focus on gratitude for what we have, as opposed to what is missing. Avoid focusing on the “woulda”, “shoulda”, “coulda” and other past stuff as that is the past. Banish those words altogether from your thoughts. Stay present in the here and now. You cannot change the past, but you can choose to not let your past steal your future and your now.


This is a season of love and love needs to also be about acceptance especially self-acceptance. It's about adjusting the expectations and not demanding perfection, or even seeking it. Love is about noticing what's good and nurturing it, as well as noticing what needs repair and attending to it.


However, even for those who have not been harmed by an abuser, Valentine’s Day can also be a day of idealisms of what we think our partner should be based on what we read in romantic novels, watch in the movies, as well as the imagery of the knight in shining armor and the white picket fence ideals we are brought up on. We use these ideals as a gage of pass or fail of love.


Valentine's Day can also be trigger for those who have been victimized by an abuser in their life and can be very difficult and painful day. This holiday can bring back for some a range of very sensitive painful memories, loneliness, and sadness.


For those survivors who are on a healing journey, please keep in mind that the abuse was NOT your fault. The abuse is never a victim’s fault, ever. The abuse perpetrated on the victim lies solely in the responsibility belonging to the person who offended. Again, let us reiterate, abuse is never a victim’s fault ever. This is true no matter how old you were or what you were doing at the time the abuse occurred.


With that said, everyone experiences their pain and traumas from abuse differently and at different rates. There is NO one correct way to feel, react, or heal. Everyone is unique in their own way and the abuse that was experienced is also unique even though certain things may be similar to that of other people. Everyone’s healing journey reflects that uniqueness with individual needs and pace. There is help available.


Just for today, celebrate love with all the triumphs, the struggles and the lessons we learn from our experiences with love and relationships that are both unhealthy and healthy.


At Massachusetts Survivors Outreach, we’re working to provide resources so everyone can experience the joy of healthy relationships not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day. It’s easy to feel alone, different, and isolated, but if you reach out, there are many people and resources that can help you. You might start by checking out a few of the resources MASO can offer. Have a happy day!


Please share your thoughts!


What is Reiki?

Posted by MASO on November 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese hands-on healing modality that is natural non-invasive and promotes healing. It is primarily used for stress reduction and relaxation, but is all effective in relieving pain,depression, and panic disorders.  Reiki is also assists in promoting the healing of fractures as well as alleviating many other physical and emotional challenges. 

This form of healing is based on the idea that an unseen life force energy flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. The practitioner administers the treatments by laying the hands. If one is frequently sick or under a lot of stress, the chances are one's life force energy is low.  Now if the life force is high,we are more capable of being happy and healthy.   Reiki is a very simple and natural method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that anyone can use to improve their quality of life. This safe alternative is effective in helping many known physical and psychological illnesses and always creates a beneficial and positive effect. Reiki does work in conjunction with all other alternative or traditional medical treatments.

Reiki is not taught, but is transferred tothe student during a Reiki class through a process called and anattunement.  During an attunement a Reiki master allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of life force energy to improve one's health and enhance the quality of life.  This healing method has been taught to thousands of people from all over the world.

Reiki comes from the Japanese words "Rei" meaning Higher Power or Wisdom and "Ki" meaning Life Force Energy.

What does a treatment feel like? 

A reiki treatment gives you sense of warm energy surrounding your body as well as flowing through you.  When undergoing a treatment, you are treated as a whole meaning your mind, body, and spirit.  A sense of well-being and peace is felt with many miraculous results.

Is this Religious?

No, even though it is spiritual innature.  There is no structured faith base or dogma crossing allcultures.  It works not matter what faith you have as it's naturalhealing uses universal spiritual laws to promote wellness and peace. However, this can enhance your own faith and religion.

Check out our Calendar  page for more information

Reiki Can Do No Harm or Can It?

Posted by MASO on November 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (7)

Reiki can do no harm or can it? Just as in any profession, there are many wonderful reiki professionals who do amazing work and many individuals receive the many benefits of reiki. However, there are also downsides.  So, before I answer that question, I want to tell you a story.

I was teaching an anatomy and physiology class at a college in Boston. There was a section in one of the chapters talking about links to stress related illnesses and the benefits of meditation as a treatment option. I went on my normal tangents talking about how reiki, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies have benefits as well. I elaborated on each on what benefits, for what purposeand cited types of studies and research done.

I also discussed my professional experiences teaching and practicing meditation and reiki in a medical environment as well as how I teach them and why I teach them a certain way. I also discussed my volunteer work with traumavictims especially, but not limited to, domestic abuse survivors.

During break I had a few students inquire and ask questions about alternative therapies and about reiki in particular. At the time, I assumed their questions were out of curiosity.

A couple days later I received an email from one of my students through one of the websites I have written articles for. She wanted to know if reiki could help her because she was a survivor of child sex abuse and for the last 20 years everything she has tried has not helped her.  She had tried reiki once before about 5 years ago, but she said it felt like "someone put voodoo" on her. She talked about the class and how what I said made sense to her. She wondered if "this reiki thing" could really help her to finally heal and move on with her life.

Why am I telling you this story? This story is one of many stories of survivors of abuse having a negative experience with reiki. It did not matter if it was an alternative healing night, a referral from a psychiatrist orphysician, or a student. The stories began to stack up as to why these individuals never sought reiki again until they met me. It always puzzled me,but also knew there was a reason even it I did not know it at the time.

So now back to the question. Reiki can do no harm or can it?

Reiki itself can do no harm. It is a Japanese energetic touch therapy with roots that go back to Ancient Tibetan Buddhist healing as do many other alternative therapies.  Reiki works with the electrical conduction system of the human body, BUT with the wrong practitioner it may give the appearance it can do harm.  The problem is not with reiki, but with the unqualified reiki person working with trauma victims.

In the case of my student, the reiki worked. It was the lack of training by the practitioner that caused the problem that exacerbated the healing crisis she felt making her feel as if “someone put voodoo” on her.

Sadly, over the years, I have seen too many reiki practitioners take a 6-8hr workshop and want to profess their expertise in reiki. That is not reiki, but ego talking. If you are teaching this or have been taught that, there is a misconception, and it needs to change.

Working with trauma victims, requires more than just reiki training. You must know the clinical signs and symptoms of trauma and in my opinion, have some sort of clinical or medical training in one or many areas such as trauma,abuse, first aid and cpr, psychology, grief, post traumatic stress, etc.

There is a lot of scientific data research citing the many benefits of reiki as a treatment option especially for diagnoses such as anxiety and depression which tends to plague many victims, and speaking as a survivor of abuse myself, reiki does works. 

Reiki is also used in medical offices and hospitals all over the country as part of an integrative therapy approach. Boston area hospitals that offer reiki as part of their programs include: Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farberand Brigham and Women's. Nurses are also able to get CEUs. So you see reiki itself, has become a viable treatment options for many within the medical community.

A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services.

Out of ignorance, I see so many well intentioned reiki teachers and practitioners exacerbating serious medical problems and shedding a negative light on the good reiki can do as viable healing modality by preaching that anyone can do reiki on anyone as reiki can do no harm. Again, it is not the reiki doing harm, but the unqualified reiki practitioner.

How? With an unqualified reiki professional, a victim who already experiences fear, mistrust, and guardedness, these symptoms can significantly worsen.

A qualified reiki professional does the proper client intake, knows when the client is ready for actual healing to take place, there is proper communication between practitioner and client, and if healing crisis takes place a qualified practitioner knows what to do and knows where to refer the client if medical intervention or treatment is required.

With statistics such as, one in three women experience abuse in their lifetime, the chances a reiki professional will encounter a client with trauma is great.  Domestic abuse has hit epidemic proportions in this country andis expected to remain steady until the economy improves, laws to protect victims are enforced and resources to organizations that work with victims are improved.

This is not taking into account other traumas from events such as our military servicemen returning from war or Hurricane Sandy or 9/11.

Of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 (20percent) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.[i]   Accordingto the VA, about one-in-five female veterans have post-traumatic stress related to "military sexual trauma," a catch-all category that includes everything from sexual harassment to rape.[ii]

For 9/11 survivors, “at least 10,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians exposed to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder.”[iii]

“Statistics say that only 5% of those who survived 9/11 in New York City went on to experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But in the case of Hurricane Katrina, 33% later suffered symptoms. This is a very high percentage, even for an extremely traumatizing event.”[iv]

With these numbers and statistics, it is imperative, the manner in which reiki is utilized needs to be given much consideration.

The reiki practitioner who looks out for their client first, will set egoaside and do the right thing by referring those clients to a professional better qualified to work with those individuals.

If you have ever experienced some form of trauma in your life whether it be abuse, rape, natural disasters, loss, war, or the like, then please understand that not all reiki professionals are the same just like not all doctors or therapists are the same. Seek out a reiki professional with training or professional experience in the related fields you seek and ask questions.

Reiki has so many wonderful benefits. This article was intended to help educate both well intentioned reiki practitioners as well as educate the general public on why choosing the right reiki professional is critical to your overall health, healing and overall wellbeing.

I sincerely hope the information given served as informative and beneficial. 

Article By: LauraBonetzky-Joseph, RMA, RMT, MASO Volunteer



Laura Bonetzky-Joseph is a MASO Volunteer, Registered Certified Medical Assistant and Reiki Master Teacher in the UsuiTradition.  She has over 15 cumulative years in the holistic and allopathic health fields and has incorporated energy medicine in her line of work over the past 6 years. Laura is also an adjunct professor teaching medical classes in Boston.

With Laura’s diverse background, Laura has a very unique way of teaching and working with her clients than what is typically seen in mainstream reiki which is why many certified reiki practitioners opt to take her courses to better fulfill their personal or professional healing needs. Laura also has extensive training and experience working with trauma victims and domestic violence overthe past 6 years. She has a keen sense of awareness when working with her clients that many chronic illnesses, major life events and past life challenges often appear as potential energetic blocks during reiki treatment sessions.

Laura's unique style to energy medicine can only be witnessed.  Laura also teaches a variety of wellness classes and seminars including The Science of Human Energy, Meditation, Reiki, Nutritional Health, and Stress Reduction.

ICRT Reiki Membership Association - Affiliate Member

Weare an Affiliate Member of  ICRT, and follow a code of ethics, andstandards of practice.  Its purpose is to maintain a professional imagefor our members while at the same time preserving the spirit of Reiki andassisting members in creating a thriving Reiki practice. By becoming a member,we'll be associating with an organization that has the reputation of providingaccurate, up-to-date information on the history, practice, and scientific study of Reiki. Affiliate members must abide by the following requirements: Use ICRTclass manuals purchased from when teaching Reiki I, II,ART, Master and Karuna Reiki® classes. One manual must be provided to each student.Abide by the RMA Code of Ethics. Abide by the RMA Standards of Practice. Placethe RMA logo on member’s web site home page (if member has a website).Affiliate members must be Usui Reiki masters. Reiki training must havetaken place with teacher in person. (no Internet, distant, CD, or book onlytraining accepted).    Contact us in Quincy, Massachusetts,to learn more about Reiki treatment for stress reduction, spiritualhealing, and relaxation.


For More Information:(


MassachusettsSurvivors Outreach





©2010-2012 Laura Bonetzky-Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is forgeneral educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specificmedical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call,consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional withany   health-related questions or concerns. Thisarticle does not share the opinions of Massachusetts Survivors Outreach or any of it’s affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to youby your physician or health care professional.


[i] RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, Invisible Wounds of War, 2008

[ii] J. Kitfield, National Journal, 2011

[iii] Anemonia Hartocollis, 10 Years and a Diagnosis Later, 9/11 Demons Haunts Thousands, TheNew York Times, August 8, 2011.

[iv]by SusanneBabbel, Ph.D., MFT, Bridging the mind-body gap, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After 9/11 and Katrina, PsychologyToday; September 12,2011.

Breaking The Generational Cycle of Abuse

Posted by MASO on August 7, 2012 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (4)

By: MASO Staff

It breaks my heart to read and hear so many stories of victims of abuse whether child abuse, domestic abuse, sex abuse, or systemic abuse. It is difficult enough to hear the stories of a child victimized by a perpetrator and the desperate pleas for help. It is even more devastating to witness the parent who was a victim themself either discredit their child's abuse or makes attempts to normalize it.


I had a talk the other day with a teenager whose friend was sexually abused. As a direct result of the child reporting the abuse, her friend’s family disowned her and this young girl is facing "the system" alone. Granted the perpetrator is facing the courts and a family member in law enforcement faces termination for failing to report. However, to the victim, it pales in comparison to the feelings of abandonment of the unsupportive family to this child victim.


When I mentioned the importance of a support system and a clear pathway to healing, she said "she doesn't want it" because the mother who was sexually abused too by someone in the same family disowned her. She just wants it over. Unfortunately, it will not be over, until those other things are matched. Even when the “system” is done, there usually remains an emptiness unless true healing is obtained. It is very disheartening to hear such stories.


My words to the children out there who are being abused, you have nothing to hide. You have nothing to be ashamed about. The person or persons who victimized and/or violated you are the ones who need to be held accountable. Not you. There are people out there who do care about you … who want to be there for you … who want to help you heal … and in my opinion, are angels on earth. Have faith and trust in yourself when all else fails and stick to the truth. Always.


My words to especially those Parents who were victims of abuse yourself, you out of anyone should know the feelings of isolation and the courage to come forward despite the numerous threats made to the victim to keep quiet or else. How dare you subject your own children to the same fate. You claim you got over it. Clearly not, because your child desperately needs you yet you abandoned them.


Please .... for your sake as well as your child .... love them ... support them ... BE their rock .... BE the person you needed at your time of need that was not there. By helping your child heal, you help break the cycle of abuse. You help save your future grandchildren from going through the same experiences and fate. Have the courage if not for yourself, but for your future generations to come.


God knows how difficult life may have been for you and the horrible experiences you endured. It is ok to cry. It is ok to feel the pain. It is ok to say what happened to you was wrong. It is ok to grieve. It is ok to finally have enough and move past it. Then let go and let God. Please do not make your child suffer the same fate. Please do not tell your child get over it, because you turned out fine. If that were true, your child would not be alone going through the pain of being violated and re-victimized by the very people who were supposed to keep them safe.


You cannot change what you cannot acknowledge. Talking and truly healing from your own abuses you endured in the past is a start. Confronting your abuser in an appropriate manner with the help of a professional can help you release the invisible ties that bind you. Then BE the one light in the darkness your child needs. Do not make them go through this alone. Remember, when you were in their shoes, how desperate you felt just to have someone believe you without judging or condemning you.


Finally, to the parent who supports your child regardless of the claims, may you continue to shine brightly in the world as a pillar of strength to all around you. May the rest of the world stand by you and flock to your side. May you find the voice to be one that breaks the silence. May the truth prevail. May true justice be served and true healing begin.


As a society, we must learn to protect the victim and not the offending abuser. "Alone we are weak ... Together we are strong.”


For More Information:

MASO ~ Massachusetts Survivors Outreach

Research ~ Advocating ~ Holistic Healing For Victims of Abuse


Email: [email protected]



ABC's Of Overcoming Fear and Healing From Abuse

Posted by MASO on September 10, 2011 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)


These come from years as a survivor of abuse. Moving from victim to survivor is quite important as a part of healing.I am thankful for all those who passed in my life over the past 5yrs. I'll never forget this statement "People come into your life for a reason, a moment, a day, a season, or a lifetime" My blogs started out from personal experiences & grown into my professional experiences. Thank you for coming by & PLEASE leave your comments.


Please visit Blogger for full article

Domestic Abuse and Health

Posted by MASO on September 10, 2011 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Here you will find medical studies on various subjects surrounding child abuse & domestic violence including the medical community's failure to protect children & their mothers from abuse, health consequences of domestic violence as well as the medical community failure to diagnose. This systemic problem has serious negative affect on court, criminal,& custody proceedings which has had a huge negative affect on our society, future & protection of our children and economics

Please visit Blogger for complete list of articles and studies.

Massachusetts Resources For Victims of Abuse

Posted by MASO on September 10, 2011 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Please visit our blogger page for a list of resources for organizations fighting for victims of abuse in Massachusetts.

Some provide services. Some provide advocacy.  Some are working with larger organizations on the problem of abuse as a whole.

There are national organizations, Massachusetts organizations, & Massachusetts legal information.