Since this is the first attempt for us oldsters to communicate about our journey and long history, I hope to make this fun as well as informative. Let me briefly introduce myself: I am Sharon Scandrett-Hibdon and although I am at retirement age, there is still much that I want to do. I was an Associate Professor and psychiatric-mental health certifi ed specialist when I met Janet Mentgen in 1988 in Estes Park, Colorado when both of us were invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association (AHNA). It was also the year that Janet was named the Holistic Nurse of the Year by AHNA based on her work in private practice and her years of teaching Therapeutic Touch at Red Rock Community College.
Both of us were a bit wide-eyed and unsure as we stepped into the political whirlwind of holistic health at the national level. AHNA at that time was attempting to gain a foothold in the holistic playing fi eld. The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) -already established – was supportive of our efforts. Charlotte McGuire, the founder of AHNA, really wanted nurses to have their own group and felt holism held a great life pattern for nurses who were often overworked, tired and feeling used. Energy work was readily accepted as a good way to revitalize the nursing profession — if it could be made available to willing nurses.
Janet was invited to offer her coursework for continuing education contact hours which AHNA would provide as a way to get nurses involved. Quickly accepting that invitation, Janet offered the fi rst Healing Touch class in 1989 at the University of Tennessee (my school) and we had a large class of fifteen participants from all over the country. Most of the students were experienced teachers and healers, and most completed the program coursework. We held Levels 4 and 5 (the last two levels of the fi ve-course core curriculum) at Peace Valley Retreat, Arkansas.
As Janet, Dorothea Hover-Kramer, Myra Tovey, Susan Morales and I (as well as other AHNA Board members) planned the curriculum, the idea of creating the fi rst energy therapy certification program became eminent. Concurrently the AHNA certificate for Holistic Nursing Program was being developed by Veda Andrus and Jane Lundt. However they were still developing their program coursework when the Healing Touch certificate program was completed.
Healing Touch was ready to move forward immediately with Janet teaching all of the courses which she had developed over the previous ten years in the Denver area. Janet wasn’t sure it was necessary for Healing Touch to become a certifi cation program, but I felt strongly that it was important – as did others.
So the energy carried us forward, AHNA supported our efforts (I was fortunate to be the president of AHNA at that time), and as you can see, in 1994, the fi rst certifi ed practitioners were acknowledged.
As you can imagine, the HT program took off. The early instructors began teaching immediately and the number of classes grew very quickly. It felt like the Healing Touch energy caught us and hurled us into the world – creating a whirlwind. That whirlwind continued for a long while — and here we are, twenty years later, celebrating Janet’s original program — now being taught in thirty-two countries around the world! To be continued…
About the author:
Sharon Scandrett-Hibdon, RN, Ph.D., HTCP/I, received her BSN and Ph.D., from the University of Iowa, and MSN from Texas Women’s College. She has been in private practice for 16 years doing psychotherapy and touch therapy. She is currently a Family Nurse Practitioner in a college health clinic in N. Texas (UNT) and has opened a NARHA therapeutic riding center at her ranch which focuses on physical and mental-emotional issues. Sharon is past President of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association. She is a co-author of the book Healing Touch: A Resource for Health Professionals. Sharon serves as the Chairperson for Healing Touch Certification.