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An Interview with Internationally Known Healer Sharon Forrest
published in Uptown Express April 1991
Sharon Forrest's childhood was one of economic privilege and tragic abuse. As painful as the physical abuse was, Forrest reports that it was actually the emotional and mental abuse that was the most devastating on a long-term basis. The wounded child blocked out much of the early experience that was too painful to remember.
She describes her father as warm and loving, a sharp contrast to her mother whom she describes as Victorian English. From infancy into adulthood, Forrest's mother seemed to have some uncontrollable, inexplicable rage against her younger daughter.
At the age of nine, following a severe beating from her mother, Forrest was removed to the home of an aunt. The incident coincided with the family's discovery of her sexual abuse by the family chauffeur and a neighbor, memories that were buried so deep that she recalled them only in the dreams that haunted her adulthood.
After a series of persistent, terrifying dreams, Forrest contacted her older sister who was incredulous that she had not remembered being sexually abused by these two men. Shortly after working through these shocking revelations, Forrest saw the neighbor at a wedding. She relates that she was able to be in the same room with him and look at him without animosity or thoughts of revenge. "I kept my distance, but friendly. But I didn't feel anything negative towards him at all."
The next week she was dong a workshop in Rochester, New York, and was astounded to learn that of the 25 participants, 22 were victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forrest's experience of forgiving and reaching out to understand her abusers has enabled her to help other victims. "Very often it's warped love on the part of the abuser," reports Forrest.
Forrest has spent years working to get over the hurt, the anger, to change her thought patterns. "I used to spend a good half of my life in the hospital. I had lupus and chronic bronchial asthma, pneumonia 13 times, and sometimes spent 26 weeks out of the year in the hospital, getting last rites on a regular basis."
When she began looking at her thought patterns, explains Forrest, "I realized that I really was the master of my life. I had been going around looking for whoever had put a jinx on me and found out I was my own worst jinx. As soon as I was able to change around my thought patterns and started doing breathing exercises, I have never been back in the hospital except to visit patients."
Forrest's lifework as a healer and counselor began at the age of 16, when she ran away from home and lived in the slums of Montreal. She worked at helping the new neighbors improve their lives, counseling them with hope and understanding. They called her Cher Ange, Dear Angel.
This work led Forrest into studies in psychology and parapsychology; she learned Gestalt and Transactional Analysis. While it helped, it didn't seem enough. "I found that people would take an issue out, look at it, yell, scream, cry, go over it and put it back on the shelf for the next time they decided to look at it again," says Forrest.
Anger and frustration are her reactions to clients who come to her as veterans of 20 years of therapy. "So many therapists were helping their clients get off being co-dependent in an abusive relationship, drugs, alcohol, whatever, and then make them co-dependent on the therapist."
"I read a book once that said, 'After working with the client for five years, he finally realized that he didn't hate his father, but wanted his father's love.' Five years of therapy to realize this? This is ridiculous. I kept saying, there's got to be more."
A course in Silva Mind Control taught Forrest how to use her mind to "see" inside a person's body. "That kind of intrigued me," she says, "because if we can go into a person's body and understand them from the physical point of view, why can't we go in and understand them from a mental or psychological point of view?" Using friends as experimental subjects, Forrest asked permission to go into their minds and attempt to trace the origin of thought patterns. These experiences led to the development of what she terms "inner life release," the use of applied kinesiology to detect where there is a toxic pattern in the subconscious mind.
Forrest states that what we think and see is only about 15% of our everyday life; what we feel is the other 85%. Making the conscious decision to experience prosperity with a good job and a happy relationship is only the beginning. Changing the hidden messages that say you don't deserve a good job and you'll only get hurt in a relationship is the real work that must be done.
"So you can get mad at the universe, mad at God, and mad at your mate and your parents and your children, but there's nobody really to blame," says Forrest. "Using applied kinesiology, I trace in and see what's in there and trace it back into their childhood and then we trace it also into parents and grandparents."
She cites the case of Joe, a man in his fifties who was traced back to the womb. "It was an interesting experience for me," says Forrest, "because I didn't believe that a child was absorbing that much at conception." Joe experienced a fetal memory, hearing his father call his mother names, accusing her of infidelity and being pregnant with someone else's child. He felt the frustration of trying to scream out, "Daddy, I'm yours." During lunch break from the workshop, Joe called his mother in Ireland to ask her if it were true. "How did you find out?" she responded.
"Once people get into what's there, trace it back and then release it, then it's gone," says Forrest. "You can give the same situation to ten people, and ten of them react differently according to what's in their subconscious mind, what their trigger points are. Change your perception and you've changed your whole life."
A popular therapeutic method involves confronting the parents, particularly in cases of physical and sexual abuse. "I think it can be absolutely devastating for a whole family," says Forrest. "I don't think it's really necessary. I think you can do it on an etheric level." Forrest's method takes the client to the most recent event, gets them to understand that, and then works back into their childhood to understand where the abuser was coming from.
I've found that no matter what anybody ever did, at the precise moment they did it, they felt it was right, justified, and called for. It may be two seconds, two minutes, two weeks or two years later that they feel guilty, but anything they did, at that precise moment they felt it was justified. Everything is done through fear or love, even if it's warped love. Anything that is committed is of those two things, even anger. Behind anger is always a fear of something. So when we can trace that back, then you can eliminate it."
Sexually molested from age 6 to age 9 and raped at age 18, Forrest was shocked when both of her daughters suffered similar fates. She wondered what the connection could be, and recalled an earthworm experiment she learned of while attending college in Finland. "They did an experiment where they had earthworms burrowing underneath a plate of plexiglass and the worms were turning to the left and right, and each time a worm turned to the left they gave it a small shock and the worm immediately turned right. In the second generation of worms, very few turned left. The ones that did got the shock and immediately turned right. In the third generation, none turned left."
Forrest quotes the Biblical passage: "The sins of the parents are born upon the child."
"It didn't make sense to me that God would be an all-punishing god and because your grandmother maybe had an affair with the iceman or your grandfather stole somebody's cow that the children and grandchildren would suffer," she states. Her studies of DNA and RNA led her to a less literal interpretation of this Biblical scripture. "It's really whatever issues or whatever fears and beliefs were deeply embedded in these people, then they are also embedded in their offspring."
Forrest's healing workshops are an interesting blend of techniques centered around psychoneuroimmunology, the power of the mind over the immune system. One workshop exercise involves visualizing a spoon as a boiling strand of spaghetti until it bends in the hand.
When it was first suggested that she teach spoon bending, Forrest rejected the idea. It was OK for the Amazing Kreskin, but she was not interested in introducing sensationalism into her work. But then she found what seemed to be a meaningless stunt was a powerful way for students to get in touch with the power of their minds. "If we tell people that with the power of their minds they can make themselves ill or well," she says, "maybe two out of a hundred will believe it." When the student opens his eyes and sees the spoon in his hand twisted into coils, he needs no further convincing.
Forrest's ideas about the mind/body connection are no longer in the mystical realm. Using CAT scans, researchers have been able to show that when a person thinks of anger, a certain part of the brain cortex will activate and specific chemicals are secreted into the body. Thinking happy, joyful thoughts causes the release of endorphins and other beneficial enzymes into the body as another part of the brain is activated.
Forrest's natural gift as a hands-on healer is the subject of research at UCLA where researchers are documenting the energy that comes into her body and affects the movement of bones in people with scoliosis. She is well known for her ability to straighten the bones of victims of this disease by a touch on the head.
The most dramatic demonstration of her healing gift occurred when she was in her late teens. When a woman severed her thumb with a butcher knife, Forrest pressed the severed member back into place and said, "Blood stop." She held the thumb in place all the way to the hospital. When she released her grip for the doctor to examine the hand, the thumb was completely healed. The doctors would not believe that it had ever been severed, although witnesses described the accident.
When she opened her healing center in Montreal, The Forrest Foundation for Effective Living Inc., Forrest turned to traditional studies to strengthen her credentials. But her ideas and supporting evidence from the scientific community are ahead of the classroom, and medical professionals flock to her seminars as one of the few sources for information and training in the mind/body connection.
Forrest's dream is to open a holistic hospital, something she hopes to accomplish within the next two years. The facility will integrate traditional medicine with alternative therapies. Despite resistance from much of the established medical community, there is a significant segment of medical professionals who are keenly interested in Forrest's work. Last September she gave a conference in Chicago, and most of the 460 in attendance were doctors, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Heads of psychiatric hospitals and medical professionals from all specialties have attended her center in Montreal.
Now an international figure, booked for lectures and workshops through 1993, Sharon Forrest says that only four and a half years ago she would not go into a restaurant alone, could not even muster the courage to ask a gas station attendant for a key to the restroom. Her turnaround came when she dug into her past and healed the wounds of childhood.
"I can actually say I am thankful for my childhood, because everything I went through has actually helped me to understand and to be able to help a large number of people. I can just know what they are feeling and know what they are experiencing because I have been through it. Having been able to help myself go beyond it, now I can use that as a tool to help others go beyond."