Stan and Christina Grof developed Holotropic Breathwork at Esalen Institute as an alternative to psychedelic therapy. Esalen had fortuitously engaged Stan as Scholar in Residence when prohibition defunded his psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins. As Scholar in Residence, Stan had time for extended writing to produce his first and many subsequent books, and to create the workshops that became Holotropic Breathwork.
Holotropic Breathwork combines group process, intensified breathing, evocative music, focused bodywork, and expressive drawing in a way that facilitates transpersonal experiences similar to psychedelic sessions. Groups of participants provided Stan with more extensive accounts than could individual psychedelic therapy. The growing body of data from breathwork inspired him to develop holotropic theory – beyond his groundbreaking discovery of the psychological importance of the human birth process – to its archetypal and cosmological dimensions.
This lecture will recount the history of the Grof’s work, explain its significance for personal self-discovery, its connections with the work of Carl Jung, and its implications for the future of the psychedelic renaissance. The renaissance undergirds the most important psychotherapeutic research in modern times, research that promises genuine cures for depression, addiction, and anxiety about dying.
Lenny Gibson holds Ph.D.’s in Philosophy and Clinical Psychology, has 55 years of experience working with exceptional human psychological experience, and trained with Stan and Christina Grof from the beginning of Holotropic Breathwork. Recently Lenny and his wife Elizabeth founded Dreamshadow Group (www.dreamshadow.com), a Vermont-based nonprofit dedicated to the creative application of exceptional experience based on an approach combining personal development and community building in the context of a process-based metaphysical framework. The Gibsons have conducted hundreds of Holotropic Breathwork workshops in the US and internationally over the last quarter century. Lenny is a founder and currently Vice Chair of Community Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving forty thousand patients in the Rutland Vermont region.
Jean Wood will be the primary facilitator for the December Holotropic workshop in Topsham, Maine. She will introduce Lenny to the group, add thoughts or personal experiences of her own, and will assist in answering questions for the group. Jean has been participating in Holotropic Breathwork sessions since 1989, and certified as a facilitator with the Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT) in 2006. She has facilitated in large groups with Stan Grof and staff at Naropa University, Omega Institute, and Kripalu, and has assisted with smaller groups in the Pacific Northwest. She has long used this work as a primary psycho-spiritual discipline for her own personal growth and learning, and is always eager to share it with others. She lives in Maine and offers weekend workshops in the Midcoast area as well as in Boston. Jean is a botanist, naturalist and inveterate gardener with a master’s degree in botany from the University of Wyoming. She has long been fascinated by the potentials of self-exploration and inner healing, and finds the natural world to be a powerful source of connection to the inner world and the human soul. She is also a student of astrology, pursuing – and awed by – the archetypal correlations between the planetary transits of participants and their experiences in our workshops.