Breathwork In Expanded States Of Consciousness
Breathwork Therapy is an experiential approach which enables people to get in touch with their own spontaneous healing processes by unblocking the energy that can become blocked when they are exposed to any kind of trauma, particularly when this occurs in the early stages of life. Sometimes people will not even be consciously aware of traumatic experiences which, nevertheless, affect their lives and how they live them. This is especially true of events that may have happened before or around the time of birth.
When hurt or traumatised, people frequently employ psychological defences and resistances to prevent them from fully experiencing the pain and/or fear of the experience and, typically, they will do this by restricting their breathing. Increasing the rate and depth of breathing enables the loosening of those defences, leading to a release and emergence of unconscious and super-conscious material. Using deep abdominal, rather than the more usual thoracic or upper chest, breathing significantly enhances this process.
Breathwork is a powerful and deep therapy which has been well documented by Stanislav Grof, William Emerson and others and because of its depth and power, it is only practised by fully trained and experienced therapists. It can be practised within individual therapy sessions or in group workshops.
During group sessions, each participant is accompanied at all times by another member of the group who will be fully present and attend to them solely throughout the session. The facilitators are also available and fully attentive throughout, working with individuals as the need arises.
Sessions begin with a period of deep relaxation followed by a time of deep, fast abdominal (sometimes called ‘theta-dominant’) breathing accompanied by music specially chosen to enhance the experience. People sometimes experience some physical effects and/or strong emotional reactions during this time. These responses are part of the process of the releasing of blocked experience and can be very powerful.
As each session draws to a close, there is another relaxation time and then time to talk about the experience with the sitter and then with the larger group. As with all deep experiential work, this is an important time as it is the beginning of integration and assimilation of the work. Later, participants may be encouraged to continue the work of integration in artwork, journaling, meditation, relaxation and ongoing individual or group therapy.