Healing the Family with Bach Flower Essences


Healing the Family with Bach Flower Essences
by Yeo Soo Hwa

Book review by Jann Garitty

“The true causes of dis-ease are negative personality traits, attitudes and emotions… . By falsely identifying with them, we have forgotten and lost connection to our spiritual nature. The ways in which we lose ourselves are both highly individual and universal. Dr. Bach used a model of seven group types and 38 essences to describe the pathways in which we have turned away from our essential state. To understand the essences is to understand ourselves and to begin a process of self-discovery, of learning how to recover essence and empower true health in every way. … Cultivating conscious intent and using the essences to release unwanted energetic forms of past habits in combination is therefore the true pathway to health. … Because of the unique nature of treating the person, not the problem, one needs to re-orientate one’s mind towards this concept before understanding the essences.”

The above quotes from the book, Healing the Family with Bach Flower Essences, is a summary of the basic premise of the book, as well as the underlying philosophy of educating the reader in regard to using the original Bach essences in the context of self-help family therapy. It is, if you will, a psychological study and understanding of family dynamics that provides one with a “global” view based on essence “types.”

The book is divided into three main sections:

  1. “Dr. Bach and his system”—includes information on the basic concepts and describes the 38 essences;
  1. “Understanding Therapy and Usage”—explains the unique meaning of therapy in this system and highlights its difference from other healing modalities; it reinforces the unique approach of treating the individual personality rather than the illness or problem; provides basic working knowledge of essences; choosing and preparation;
  1. “Healing the Family”—describes specific uses of flower essences in the family context within four areas that include:

    advice on helping and how different personality types give or respond to help,

    use of essences to resolve common challenges faced by families,

    personality traits that generate stress, emotional limitations and conflicts in parents,

    a brief overview of different stages and challenges from birth to young adulthood and explains how the essences can heal imbalances and move toward full potential.

This third section of the book, “Healing the Family,” warrants special attention as it deviates from many other books on the practical use of flower essences and puts forth the educational philosophy utilized by Soo Hwa as an author, that of teaching by personality or essence type. For example, in the section, “Resolving Family Issues,” Soo Hwa describes the essence/personality type of one of the members of a family from their point of view and contrasts it with other family members’ points of view, thereby illustrating the effects and misunderstandings that can occur. Topics with examples include communication, absenteeism, abuse, jealousy and rivalry, family feuds, transitions, and unforeseen circumstances.

Further, the chapter “Growing Up as a Parent” is a characterization of parents as particular essence types describing their resulting impact and influence on children. Often times, there are misunderstandings relative to these types, especially if there is lack of communication in the family. The point is made that if parents address their own negative patterns and release them, they are better able to parent and support their children’s growth. Therefore, parents take greater responsibility for their own contribution to their childen’s behaviors. Essences that can be helpful for children, given their parents’ types, are also discussed.

“Nurturing Your Child” brings forth some of the moral and ethical concerns in regard to parenting. Given the unique “essence” of each infant and child, the highest responsibility of a parent “is to protect that natural potential, nurture and grant it all the necessary conditions to grow and develop.” Adversely, the pattern of imbalance, if acted out by parents, would “censor their individuality and force them to be like [their parent].”

Topics addressed in this section include infants and toddlers, “tackling change,” learning difficulties, social interaction, teenage years, and young adults. Here again, Soo Hwa utilizes the overview by essence type, and this helps to eliminate implied judgment of the children’s behaviors, gives understanding, and easily illuminates the exact remedy for the situation.

The listing presented is not a comprehensive “repertory” by any means and not every possible situation is addressed. However, presented as it is, the specific situation or overall context in which an individual with a particular personality type exists, provides an understanding into the overarching knowledge of the remedies required for balance.

The final chapter of the book, “Making Conscious Choices” is a philosophical discussion of the “importance of a higher level of self-awareness and conscious decision making in the family environment.” It also offers suggestions for raising children in an empowering way with loving respect.

As implied in this review, one of the greatest strengths of this book is the repeated use and descriptions of essence or personality types—both those who are helping and those on the receiving end, whether in or out of balance—which reinforces the understanding of the essences and their practical uses. Studied and taken to heart, this is a tool that provides a thorough understanding of the essences rather than just providing a list of remedies and what they’re used for; it truly educates the reader providing underlying foundational knowledge rather than just serving as a “reference book.”

Important to note and pertinent to Soo Hwa as an Asian practitioner, is a very interesting observation made by her as mentioned in the book preface written by Ann Holmblad: “Of particular interest with this book is its focus on those cultures, such as Asian or Scandinavian, for whom the freedom of self-expression is inappropriate and often denied as social and family norms. Soo Hwa points out how the Bach flower essences are especially relevant in such cultures, helping to alleviate conflicting feelings with the family by allowing individual members to release and rebalance their emotional distress.” Soo Hwa further discusses in the introduction her hope that the use of flower essence therapy will help to change in a healthy manner the “…generations of cultural habits and patterns that are no longer useful in this world we live in.”

Healing the Family with Bach Flower Essences is a book that feels “fresh” even given the many books written on Bach flower essences over several decades. Written with straight forward heartfelt warmth and wisdom, it is easy to read and assimilate. It is clearly-presented and well-organized—even the choices of typography, titling, etc.—contribute to making it very accessible to the reader.

Soo Hwa Yeo is a trained pharmacist (M.Sc.(Pharmacy)), Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, Assessor, Teacher and Mentor with the Bach International Education Program. Visit her website.


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