Dr. Niki's Journey
The development of The Innerlight Method (TIM) began with Dr. Niki Elliott’s traumatic childbirth experience. While grieving the loss of her child, she began to feel other people’s illnesses and emotions in her own body. Not understanding what was happening, Dr. Niki visited doctors on a regular basis, only to be told there was nothing wrong with her. Finally, with the help of holistic midwives and energy healing practitioners, she realized that she was energetically absorbing other people’s physical and emotional pain as a result of the acute trauma (Life Shock) she had experienced. Prior to this experience, she had not recognized herself to be empathic, intuitive or highly sensitive.
Desperate for relief, Dr. Niki engaged her love of learning (BA at UC Berkeley; MA at Teachers College, Columbia University; PhD in Education from UCLA) and began researching strategies and solutions, which led her to the intersection of her spirituality, mindfulness, educational neuroscience and polyvagal nerve theory. As she regained balance in her own nervous system, body and mind, Dr. Niki began to wonder if these techniques could help the children at her school who were being sent to the principal’s office at her school for behavior problems and diagnosed with learning, mood, and attention disorders, as many of them exhibited the same symptoms she had experienced.
Dr. Niki began to support her students with the energy balancing and mindfulness techniques she had acquired and found she experienced the greatest success when working with those who had heightened sensitivities, empathic abilities, or expanded intuitive awareness. As a result of their work together, a significant number of children stopped demonstrating aggressive behavior, head banging, cutting, nail biting, and bedwetting. Another unanticipated result was these children’s sleep and overall self-regulation improved dramatically.
Working with the children, and digging into the emerging research in mindfulness, interpersonal neurobiology, and quantum physics, Dr. Niki began the journey of developing the ground-breaking protocol which is now known as The Innerlight Method.
Unfortunately, because science had not yet caught up to explain how or why this mindfulness practice was working, Dr. Niki’s work in both the school system and as an ordained minister at a New Thought Spiritual Center brought into question the appropriate placement of the work with regard to the separation of church and state. In 2011, Dr. Niki resigned from her public charter school position and her role as a minister, and began serving children and families with The Innerlight Method in a full-time private practice. It was during this time that she began to merge her background in education, meditation, energy healing, and mindfulness.
Although therapeutic mindfulness is not a religious practice, it is based on ideas that rest at the core of most spiritual traditions -- that we all have a divine spark or innerlight, that the suffering we experience in these human bodies dim or even block our access to it, and that releasing toxic stress, life shocks, and traumas from the nervous system, brain, and gut allows us to regain access to our light and grow into our full potential. TIM actively practices a secular sacred approach, one that promotes our common ideals of mindful presence, acceptance, compassion, love, unity, equity, non-judgment, and the healing power of forgiveness. TIM is not religious or dogmatic in any way, and is appropriate for use in publicly-funded schools or organizations.
By 2016, Dr. Niki not only had plenty of client data to demonstrate the power of this modality, but the science had caught up. Interpersonal neurobiology, polyvagal nerve theory, affective neuroscience, quantum physics and mindfulness research could now explain exactly why and how this method works. After publishing her book I Feel Your Pain: A 7-Step Survival Guide for Empaths, Intuitives, and Highly Sensitive People, The La Fetra College of Education at the University of LaVerne hired her to serve as the Co-Director of the Center for Neurodiversity Learning and Wellness and to begin offering The Innerlight Method training as a pilot certificate program. She currently teaches Educational Neurobiology and Mindfulness to K-12 teachers earning a master’s degree in Special Education.
Over the years, Dr. Niki has witnessed the transforming impact of this work when placed in the hands of teachers, psychologists, social workers, ministers, coaches, parents and other helping professionals who embrace holistic well-being. Her curriculum development team repackaged The Innerlight Method curriculum in 2018 with the ultimate goal to support helping professionals from all walks of life learn to manage their own well-being while sharing the healing benefits of mindfulness and energy balancing with children, families, and communities worldwide.
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