Spiritual healing is an important part of Spiritualism’s ministry. Hopefully, “Spiritual Healing: A New Frontier,” which is currently in production, will take it to a much wider audience. The film is being produced by British-born Dena Barnett, 53, who now lives in Italy. Interviewed by “PN,” the first point put to Dena was, “Why have you decided to make the film?”
THE film picked me. It all began with my chance encounter with a spiritual healing ritual at a North London Jewish cemetery in 2014, which became a portal into my inquiry into spirituality, my cultural roots and eventually the nature of spiritual healing.
There is a wealth of new research and clinical evidence to support the reality of spiritual healing and the role it plays in modern medicine. However, we live in a materialistic society dominated by a rationalist model of science, which still believes that anything which is not measurable through our senses is immaterial or nonsense.
Originally, I wanted to make a short film to represent healers in a positive way, telling the stories of those who play a largely unseen but important role in healing and transforming the lives of thousands of people in their community.
However, I took a wide but temporary sidestep away from the human story of the healer to focus on the role of healing within medicine.
How many people do you have in your crew?
Besides myself as a producer, writer and narrator, we have UK, Italian and American crews.
In the UK, we have Graham Fowler as cinematographer, as well as director and editor John Luton, videographer Giacomo Cannata, photographer Lewis Horsley and post-production consultant Verity Wislocki.
The Italian crew consists of Marco Ballerini as director, editor and drone pilot, set photographer Daniele Pisanni and Lorenzo Maiani as voiceover engineer.
Finally, our newest crew in the US comprises Robert Campbell as director of photography and editor, post-production consultant Luiz Braga and Susanne MeyerFitzsimmons, as writer and general coordinator.
Where are you filming?
We have filmed in the UK, Italy and the US. The film’s narrative unfolds through a personal journey rooted in Britain where we filmed many interviews with healers.
Since the film has attracted support from several American luminaries in the field of spiritual healing – Dr Daniel Benor, Dr Larry Dossey, and author and researcher Lynne McTaggart – we decided to include the American perspective.
In today’s connected world it really makes sense to offer a cross-cultural perspective and broaden the dialogue internationally to include the American story.
We recently filmed in New York. Last month we filmed again in the UK, this time during the Conference for Consciousness & Human Evolution in London and interviewed Dr Dossey and Lynne McTaggart.
Can you list healers you have already interviewed?
In the UK, we interviewed Aubrey Rose, CBE, OBE. Much has quite rightly been written about Aubrey, a human rights lawyer and activist, author, environmentalist and seeker into the world of spirit.
I got to know Aubrey the healer and Aubrey personally when I met him for the first time in 2015.
In the 1980s, Aubrey wrote a chronological guide to the process of healing, in which he says, “The greatest problem is not the acceptance of the reality of spiritual healing, but the implications of such an acceptance.”
Aubrey’s interest in the spiritual world was born out of a traumatic experience, after his third child, David, became ill with cancer and died at the age of 21 in 1978.
In his own words, Aubrey “moved heaven and earth to try and solve the problem of overcoming the cancer. The medical world had no answer to the problem and so I sought advice and expertise in that spiritual world.”
At the height of David’s illness in 1977, Aubrey took him to visit healers from the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. One healer advised him to put his hands on David’s back, which seemed to give him some relief from the pain.
Aubrey’s first successful attempt at healing someone was a legal client, a Mayfair hairdresser, who had a problem with his hands, which meant he could no longer hold scissors.
To quote Aubrey again: “I was very sorry for him. I just ran my hands over his hands and said, ‘I’m sure something will happen and you’ll get better.’
“The following day, I got a very excited telephone call. ‘Aubrey,’ asked the hairdresser, ‘what did you do?’” When Aubrey asked “Why?” the man replied, “My hand is normal.”
After this incident, Aubrey went to London’s College of Psychic Studies where he began to research the subject. A healer at the college told him he was a natural.
Throughout the 1980s and for 40 years thereafter, Aubrey secretly treated people in his law office.
We also interviewed Sandy Edwards, who trained to be a spiritual healer with a non-religious UK charity and instigated one of the largest healing trials in the world.
In 2016, Sandy published a book about her experiences called Healing in a Hospital: Scientific Evidence that Spiritual Healing Improves Health.
Lastly, we interviewed Ruth Kaye, who has been a natural healer for over 30 years, is a member of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers and based at the Oncology Day Ward at St James’s University Hospital.
Ruth has also been running a meditation group for cancer patients in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, for almost twenty years.
Can you likewise name other experts you’ve interviewed and their backgrounds?
In New York, we filmed William Bengston, a professor of sociology at St Joseph’s College in Brooklyn.
In addition to numerous publications and conference presentations, Prof Bengston has been a pioneer in the clinical research of energy medicine.
He is the author of the Sounds True audio-learning programme Hands-On Healing, where he explores his research and demonstrates the techniques he’s refined to produce full cures of cancer in experimental mice with no recurrences.
We also spoke with Lawrence LeShan, a clinical psychologist and prolific author, who is known for his research in the 1960s and 70s into parapsychology, mysticism, clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition, as well as meditation.
How long will the film be?
Where do you hope it will be broadcast?
If the budget allows, we will work with a PR company and enter the film in the best film festivals in the United States and the UK.
The PR company would be responsible for introducing us to the right distributor to acquire the film and help release it worldwide as well as through DVD distribution.
We will also pitch the film to production companies and TV commissioners in the UK and USA.
What will the project cost?
We are currently putting together a comprehensive and updated budget projection to include filming in the US and London, then the wrap-up to edit and complete the film. We will need around £70,000.
So far, I have financed the entire project myself. However, we have a GoFundMe site at https://www.gofundme.com/ spiritual-healing-film
Thus far, we have raised £2,830 of the original £20,000 goal, which needs to be updated. We were excited to notice increased traffic and a few new contributions since going public with the new website.
We are grateful for all contributions and would love to find a private sponsor with an interest in the subject matter.
How many patients have come forward to be interviewed so far?
We are still looking for a subject as a main protagonist whose healing story I would observe and film, and have also been promoting this search on social media.
This could be someone who is either experiencing spiritual healing for a medically diagnosed condition or who has resorted to spiritual healing therapies because allopathic treatment didn’t work and has been healed, preferably verified by a physician.
Have any of those interviewed so far experienced especially unusual or dramatic cures?
Yes. Notably 75 per cent of the film’s contributors’ lives were transformed in a variety of ways.
Marie Withers, for example, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2000 and immediately underwent a radical mastectomy followed by six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy.
She then called on her friend and healer Sandy Edwards to help during chemotherapy treatment, which really knocked her out.
“The healing Sandy gave me truly saved my life,” says Marie. “It gave me such a sense of wellbeing and positivity that I honestly think I would not have managed without it.
“My recovery was most definitely assisted and improved because of it. I continue to use healing to this day and encourage as many people as I can to do the same.”
Have any of the cures been verified by a physician?
Prof Paul Dieppe, of the University of Exeter School of Medicine, who features in the film, went to see a healer about his arthritic knee.
The healing was so successful that Paul did not have to undergo surgery, which had been recommended before he went to see the healer.
Do you plan to interview any physicians who are open-minded about healing?
Yes, we interviewed Dr. Sukhdev Singh, of Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, Prof Dieppe, and Dr. Sian Greenwood of the Mowbray Square Medical Centre in Harrogate.
Can you name other supporters, contributors and collaborators?
I’ve already mentioned Larry Dossey, a physician of internal medicine and well-known authority on spiritual healing.
Dr. Dossey lectures throughout the USA and has been a frequent guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN and The Learning Channel.
Additionally, Dr. Dossey is responsible for introducing innovations in spiritual care to acclaimed institutions across the United States. He has published more than 100 articles and is the author of thirteen books.
His goal in all his books is to anchor the so-called holistic health movement in a model that is scientifically respectable and which, at the same time, answers humanity’s inner spiritual needs.
To give some further details on Dr. Daniel Benor, he is a holistic psychiatrist and an internationally recognised authority on the scientific study of spiritual healing.
Dr. Benor’s psychiatric psychotherapy blends elements from various areas, such as intuitive and spiritual awareness, spiritual healing, emotional freedom techniques, chakra psychotherapies, hypnotherapy, meditation, imagery and relaxation, dream analysis, and other approaches.
We’ve also received support from social anthropologist, researcher, award-winning writer and public speaker Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, who serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at The Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Based in California, this non-profit parapsychology research institute was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell.
Additionally, Marilyn is a senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and a board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute. An accredited American graduate school, the institute has two campuses near Santa Barbara, California. For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies.
Have you ever sought spiritual healing?
Yes, but only since and because of making the film. I did not want to film and receive healing from all the healers we interviewed, but I did want to experience different modalities, such as psychic surgery and healers that use meditation techniques.
Ruth Kaye’s meditation group was particularly effective for me, as I was going through a very difficult and stressful period of my life.
What you see on film is someone who is totally relaxed, but not asleep. I really valued Ruth’s healing group for the social support it offered and the meditation.
Where are you from in the UK? Whereabouts do you live in Italy?
I am from Enfield, North London, then moved to Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, in 2009 to care for my father until his death in 2015.
After my father passed, I moved to Italy where I live northeast of Pisa, in Palaia, which is a beautiful part of the world.
You have been filming the documentary for three years, which seems a long time. What’s the reason for this?
There are several factors. Apart from the sheer complexity of the subject matter, this film was research-driven from the outset and has been an unfolding process.
While the film relies on current and reliable research, I am not a journalist or scientist.
To really answer the question, the reason for the length of time is that a film is ready when it’s done.
As William Bengston, and no doubt many others, pointed out, what’s important to understand are the two E’s – experience and experiment.
This film is, without doubt, a personal experience for me and an experiment at the same time. For more information about the film, please visit https://spiritualhealinganewfrontier.com.