Monday, February 9, 2009

Holotropic breath seminar

As part of my studies towards an MSc in Transpersonal Psychology and also of my continuous personal development I attended a workshop recently on holotropic breathwork. Both Lori and I believe that it is important both develop as therapists using hypnosis as our main therapeutic tool but also intergtaing new learnings as well so that we can offer a special experience at our hypnotherpay practice in Northamptonshire sometimes known as Northants.What is holotropic breath I can hear you ask? Holotropic breathwork is a pyschotherapeutic process developed by Stanislov Groff MD Phd and his wife Christina which gives access to non ordinary states of consciousness. It is a technique which allows for self exploration and healing involving intensified breathing during which evocative rhythmical music is played really loud and you experience body work and expressive drawing. It was a most intense and at the same time enjoyable experience for me. Groff believes that "during this process you activate the inner radar which automatically brings into consciousness the contents from the unconscious that have the strongest emotional charge, are most pyschodynamically relevant at the time and most readily available for conscious processing" . What was most interesting for me was the concept of what Groff calls the "systems of condensed experience" or COEX systems. The theory is that each system comprises of emotionally charged memories from different periods of our lives that resemble each other in the type of emotion and or physical feeling that they evoke and are common to each other. Each COEX can have a basic theme which goes through all its layers and has a common denominator. Each layer has the potential to have variations on a theme that can occur in an individuals life. Therefore many COEX can exist and the number and themes vary from individual to individual. Its possible for a COEX to retain all the humiliating and degrading experiences which have damaged self esteem or in another system to have all the experiences which can lead to uncontrollable anger and frustration.
The idea of this in a therapeutic sense I found very interesting to compare and contrast with a technique we use at Sahasrara therapy's which is Timeline Therapy. Timeline also takes the notion that we store memories around powerful emotional events in our lives,and these also can have many links and and layers to them as well, now these can be both negative and positive emotions. Our minds just go ahead and store these, not paying any particular attention to whether an event is positive or negative or if the event is identical just so long as it evokes a similar emotional response or is an S.E.E. or significant emotional event . In a positive sense an S.E.E. is fantastic, as you experience the positive event plus all the associated events which makes it powerful and very memorable. The downside to this of course is that you experience negative emotional events in exactly the same way, which can for some people be a source of constant pain. Using Timeline as a therapy is a quick effective technique to overcome negative emotions in your past whilst at the same time engineering your future to be even more positive and fulfilling!