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Holotropic Breathwork
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Table of Contents

Foreword Preface Acknowledgments 1. Historical Roots of Holotropic Breathwork Sigmund Freud and the dawn of depth psychology Humanistic psychology and experiential therapies The advent of psychedelic therapy Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, and the birth of transpersonal psychology 2. Theoretical Foundations of Holotropic Breathwork Holotropic states of consciousness Dimensions of the human psyche The nature, function, and architecture of emotional and psychosomatic disorders Effective therapeutic mechanisms Strategy of psychotherapy and self-exploration The role of spirituality in human life The nature of reality: Psyche, cosmos, and consciousness 3. Essential Components of Holotropic Breathwork The healing power of breath The therapeutic potential of music The use of releasing bodywork Supportive and nourishing physical contact Mandala drawing: The expressive power of art 4. The Practice of Holotropic Breathwork Use of Holotropic Breathwork in individual sessions and groups Setting and interpersonal support system Theoretical preparation of participants Screening for physical and emotional contraindications Practical instructions for breathwork sessions Preparation for the session and the relaxation exercise Conducting Holotropic Breathwork sessions The spectrum of holotropic experiences The role of the facilitators Mandala drawing and the processing groups 5. Integration of the Breathwork Experience and Follow-Up Work Creating conditions for optimal integration Easing the transition to everyday life Conducting follow-up interviews Using various methods complementing Holotropic Breathwork 6. Trials and Tribulations of Holotropic Breathwork Facilitators Encounter with the military junta in Buenos Aires Competing with the exhibition of Doberman pinschers Culture-bound challenges for Holotropic Breathwork facilitators Technological ordeals in Holotropic Breathwork sessions The pisspot, oinking piglets, and smoldering Kleenexes Supreme ordeal Down Under Conducting Holotropic Breathwork in adversarial settings 7. Therapeutic Potential of Holotropic Breathwork Healing of emotional and psychosomatic disorders Favorable effect on physical diseases Effect on personality, worldview, life strategy, and hierarchy of values Potential for healing of cultural wounds and historical conflict resolution 8. Therapeutic Mechanisms Operating in Holotropic Breathwork Intensification of conventional therapeutic mechanisms Dynamic shifts in the psyche's governing systems The therapeutic potential of the death-rebirth process The therapeutic mechanisms on the transpersonal level Healing as a movement toward wholeness 9. Physiological Mechanisms Involved in Holotropic Breathwork Biochemical and physiological changes Holotropic Breathwork and the "hyperventilation syndrome" Psychodynamics of psychosomatic disorders 10. Past, Present, and Future of Holotropic Breathwork Training of Holotropic Breathwork facilitators Holotropic Breathwork and the academic community Benefits of the holotropic perspective Holotropic states of consciousness and the current global crisis APPENDIX 1: Special Situations and Interventions in Holotropic Breathwork Sessions The experience of choking and of pressure on the chest Experience of muscular tensions and spasms Problems related to blockages in the genital area, sex, and nudity Overactive, erratic, and aggressive behavior Working with demonic energy Excessive self-control and inability to let go Working with nausea and the tendency to vomit Standing and dancing in the sessions Reliving the memory of biological birth APPENDIX 2: Holotropic Breathwork and Other Breathing Techniques Bibliography Index About Grof Transpersonal Training

About the Author

Stanislav Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist who teaches at California Institute of Integral Studies and is the founder of the International Transpersonal Association. He is the author and editor of many books, including Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research; The Cosmic Game: Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness; Human Survival and Consciousness Evolution; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy; and Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science, all published by SUNY Press. Christina Grof, PhDhc, is cocreator of Holotropic Breathwork, founder of the Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN), and the author of many books, including Beyond Death: The Gates of Consciousness; Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis; The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth through Transformational Crisis (all with Stanislav Grof), and The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spirit. They reside in Mill Valley, California.

Reviews

"Holotropic Breathwork elucidates a map expanded beyond the biographical and psychological realms of Western psychology into the perinatal and transpersonal realms identified by modern consciousness research and the study of ancient and tribal rituals and their cosmologies ... The wonder of this book ... is that this is not just a book, a map, a set of theories, or someone's research results, but that it also describes a very concrete and currently available technique one can employ for transformation." - Journal of Transpersonal Psychology "For anyone interested in Holotropic Breathwork this book offers a very extensive and detailed overview ... [and] offers a number of practical details of how to conduct a session." - Network Review "Stanislav Grof is one of the most important pioneers in the scientific understanding of consciousness. He and his wife, Christina, have contributed both to its intellectual and experiential understanding through their work with Holotropic Breathwork. Their book on this new approach to self-exploration and therapy is a must read." - Deepak Chopra, author of Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You "This fascinating, informative book invites you to open your mind to explore the depths of the psyche and transpersonal dimensions of consciousness. Stanislav and Christina Grof, who pioneered this powerful, innovative approach to therapy and personal growth, offer sound advice, thoroughly grounded in decades of practical experience." - Frances Vaughan, author of Shadows of the Sacred: Seeing Through Spiritual Illusions "Take a few rapid, staccato breaths and open this book. You will have a great read, and at the same time maybe discover a new kind of consciousness, just waiting inside of you to be revealed.Stanislav and Christina Grof are modern pioneers of consciousness and this book is their map of the territory. Holotropic Breathwork reveals how the Grofs developed their revolutionary healing techniques, often told through fascinating stories of people being transformed by the breathwork process. The Grofs are at the center of the current psycho-spiritual revolution in the West, and this book is a testament to their role in our collective healing." - Wes Nisker, author of The Essential Crazy Wisdom and Buddha's Nature: A Practical Guide to Discovering Your Place in the Cosmos "The Grofs offer the first comprehensive text of the theory and practice of their pioneering and integrative model of experiential psychotherapy and self-exploration. This 'psychology of the future,' with its extended cartography of the psyche, provides irrefutable evidence that spontaneous episodes of nonordinary states of consciousness have great healing, transformative, and even evolutionary potential for humankind. History will record that Holotropic Breathwork and the certification training and program designed by the Grofs advanced the field of psychotherapy far beyond the contributions of Freud and Jung." - Angeles Arrien, author of The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary "In this remarkable book Stanislav and Christina Grof summarize their pathbreaking discoveries of the past thirty years. They make two significant contributions, one to science, the other to our shared future. The first, by showing that altered states of consciousness have a dimension that is veridical-'imaginal' rather than 'imaginary'-and thereby transcend the outdated but still persistent belief that our experience of the world is limited to information conveyed by our senses. The second, by demonstrating that the altered states achieved inter alia through their holotropic breathwork method reduce aggression and enhance tolerance, compassion, ecological sensitivity, and a sense of planetary citizenship. Since these are the very qualities we urgently need to cope with the global emergency in which we presently find ourselves, their contribution to the future of humankind matches their contribution to the future of psychology." - Ervin Laszlo, author of The Connectivity Hypothesis: Foundations of an Integral Science of Quantum, Cosmos, Life, and Consciousness "Holotropic Breathwork appears to have the potential for facilitating psychological insights and transformations that can be remarkably rapid and deep." - Roger Walsh, coeditor of Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics "You hold in your hands a visionary book, one that offers a new understanding of healing, mental health, and human potential, along with powerful techniques to bring about these transformations. Developing such an integrated understanding, which combines science, experience, and spirit is critical for the twenty-first century." - from the Foreword by Jack Kornfield "The long-awaited volume by Stanislav and Christina Grof is the first comprehensive text on the theory and practice of their new strategy of psychotherapy and self-exploration ... this is sure to be a cherished addition to the libraries of intelligent seekers around the world and one of the most influential books of the decade." - Renn Butler, member of the Holotropic Breathwork Community

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