Kristin Barber – I have a background in Behavioral Psychology, Graduate of Goddard College in VT with post Graduate work in the same field, emphasis on single case experimental design. I become introduced to Aromatherapy through my work as a Program Director for Intermediate Care Facilities for Adults with severe Developmental Disabilities. During this time, I also worked as a Consultant Behavioral Analyst for several private non-profit agencies. Essential oils were being considered for use in the Day Program where I worked and I took an interest and began reading. I introduced them within this setting, using data analysis to measure outcomes. Some of my behavioral plans, which were reviewed by local Peer Review Committees, involved the use of essential oils.
I initially took a 30 hour introductory course, until such time as NAHA established standards for a curriculum for schools. After they did, I enrolled and graduated from the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, which took me about a year to complete. I began a small home based business selling blends and providing a limited amount of private consultations. My area of applications focused mostly on pain management, psychological and energetic effects of the oils. My wholesale suppliers were Prima Fleur and Elizabeth Van Buren.
My adventures included some of the following:
- Presented and sold products at East West Pain Center in Hamden, CT.
- Guest speaker at Southbury Training School on use of Aromatherapy with dementia
- Presenter at two La Lech League conferences, one workshop with Mid-wives
- Contributed to newspaper article on using eo’s for “Winter Blues?
- Presented on the safe use of EO’s at Local Health Food Store “Edge of the Woods? in New Haven, CT and sold products through a number of small stores and outlets
- Local Garden Club and vendor events
My business lasted for a total of 5 years and I did this while working full time in my profession.
I was an on-line participant with the IDMA group. My final straw came while being asked for a third time to present at a La Leche League conference; I learned that the practice of Raindrop Therapy was going to be demonstrated on a pregnant woman by an obstetrician. When I spoke up about my concerns, it was mutually decided that I would not attend.
I met Janice-Gagnon (co-author of the RDT White Paper) on the IDMA chat forum. We decided to write a detailed research paper on RDT. I was a member of NAHA and I contacted Jade Shutes (her first tenure as President) to ask if we could be an ad-hoc Sub-Committee and draft a position for NAHA. According to Robert’s Rules it was to be voted on by NAHA for acceptance or not. She agreed we could write this. I had also contacted Dr. Barrett of Quackwatch as he was originally going to cover this RDT topic. I offered to send him a copy when completed. This was subsequently included in the Gary Young expose and was in communication with the author, Dr. Eva Briggs with my concerns.
Young’s invention, Raindrop Therapy, (RDT) is recommended at the clinic and by thousands of YLEO distributors.
In RDT, essential oils are dropped in potentially unsafe concentrations onto a subject’s feet and back. An excellent paper by K. Barber and J. Gagnon-Warr, White Paper on Young Living Oil’s Raindrop Technique http://www.aromaticsage.com/RDT.html describes in great detail why this technique is potentially unsafe and does not represent the best use of essential oils. http://www.jonnsaromatherapy.com/pdf/Briggs_Real_Story_of_Gary_Young_2013.pdf
Jade Shutes, also tried to appoint, David Stewart (a huge proponent of RDT and still to this day) to the Sub-Committee. But after several e-mail correspondences, it became clear to me that he was not objective and could not provide any empirical based evidence regarding his supportive position of this practice. He then dropped out of this effort and went on to publish a series of subjective antidotal experiences of people who had experienced RDT.
After Janice and I finished the White Paper on RDT, it was peer reviewed by several including Martin Watt and Gabriel Mojay. It was then given to Jade Shutes for presentation at the a Directors meeting, to take place at the next NAHA Conference. She refused, to present it, even though I cited Robert’s Rules of Order on the matter. I then sent it directly to every Director of NAHA at the time (about 2001). Janice and I decided that we were not going to let it wither on the vine, so we put it out as copyright free and sent it to several websites in the AT International Community. It then had a life of its own. I was in brief contact with Janice several years later, and she said that it was eventually recognized and NAHA did adopt a one page position on this practice. (This has since been removed from their website, during Jade Shutes’ recent tenure as President of NAHA, and the Safety Committee was disbanded by her as well).
I was extremely discouraged after the paper was written and decided to put my business on a shelf. It was just about breaking even. I decided to walk away and just consider this whole experience a life lesson. My additional studies with recognized Mentors during and after that time included, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki level one, studies in Psychic Energy, initiation into Tibetan Shamanism, and certification and practice as a Laughter Yoga Leader.
My professional career includes work in the field of Disability Rights. I have served on Commissions and was appointed as Executive Board to the CT Council on Independent Living. I also worked for the City of New Haven for close to ten years, as a grant writer, public relations, and Services Coordinator for constituents with disabilities, across disabilities, across lifespan. I was responsible for initiating use of wheelchair accessible taxi cabs that run on natural gas in CT.
Currently, I work as a part time Consultant “Corporate Program Director? providing systems change and Quality Assurance to an agency that serves adults with Developmental Disabilities in Residential and Day Programs in CT. I am semi-retired. I also unintentionally started a band, singing and playing rhythm guitar, in a four piece Classic/Modern Rock and Roll band. (A throw back to my musical roots, as my father was a Ph.D. who taught music theory at Yale University. Music was a part of our family life.)
My re-involvement with Aromatherapy came about (early 2013) when I started participating in social media. It was then I discovered that the RDT paper was not only alive and well, but that the AT field had, in my opinion, gone even beyond my wildest nightmare. I became familiar with the practices and claims that were being promoted by the Young Living Company and now the doTerra, branch off. I joined the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy FB page. Sylla Sheppard-Hanger was asking for a volunteer to compile injury reports. I volunteer and later drafted the first injury report, and participated in efforts to get reporting more widely adopted within existing AT organizations. I minimally participated in the Aromatherapy United effort, as I did come “late to the party?.
At this point, I am an advocate for safe use of essential oils and would like to contribute in any way that is helpful to furthering the advancement of Aromatherapy in the USA. I am not a Stakeholder however. This is both a pro and a con. It puts me in a unique position of not having any conflicting interests, assets to protect or organizational loyalties to defend. I regard myself as being a calm-headed, empirical minded, envelope pushing, individual who often uses humor to point out the absurd or accept that which is beyond control. I will offer an honest opinion and ideas if I think it will be worthwhile. If not, I will listen and observe the process unfolding. I contributed to the fund raising campaign as I am in support of its goals. I will help when appropriate. The only website I currently maintain is for “Knot A Band.com? and my FB page reflects this interest as well. Sometimes, I quote song lyrics, but I would like to summarize and encourage this group with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. It comes from a preface to a journal in which I was published for my efforts at deinstitutionalization for persons with chronic schizophrenia, Special Issue on Sociopolitics, Oxford Press, “Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities?, 1983.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.?
PS. I realize the first paragraph of the RDT White Paper needs revision, as Jeanne Rose correctly pointed out. (Wished I had known you back when, Jeanne). However, yesterday when surfing, I found that the publication in 1983 has made it to ERIC. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ289807
— Kristin Barber, 10/11/14