This five-day training retreat explores the basic elements of Breathwork workshops: group process, intensified breathing, evocative music, focused bodywork, expressive art, and integration and closure. The history of depth psychology and its culmination in Transpersonal Psychology are provided as a crucial backdrop. The format includes four Breathwork sessions, supplemented with lectures, discussion, group sharing and processing.
Lecture, discussion topics, and references are given below.
Day 1 – The nature of group process
Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, chapter 4
Grof, Psychology of the Future, chapters 1 and 2
Historic uses of breathing techniques, physiology of breathing
Instructions for participants:
Introductory Talk – Theoretical Points
Cartography and dimensions of the psyche.
The nature and architecture of emotional and psychosomatic disorders.
Therapeutic mechanisms and the process of healing.
The strategy of psychotherapy and self-exploration.
The role of spirituality (distinct from religion) in human life.
The diverse nature of reality.
Introduction to Holotropic Breathwork (PDF Format).
Introduction to Holotropic Breathwork (PowerPoint Format).
Introductory Talk – Practical Points (Technique/Mechanics)
Day 2 – Physiology and phenomenology of the birth process: Grof’s Basic Perinatal Matrices, Abnormal Psychology and psychosomatic disorders, bodywork
Grof, Psychology of the Future, chapters 3 and 4
Ontology of the Shadow, Lenny Gibson
The Timing of Birth (Scientific American, March 1999, pp. 68 ff.)
Evolution of Human Birth (Scientific American, November 2001, pp. 72 ff.)
Early Embryonic Development
The Miracle of Life, video of 9 months of life in the womb
Human Biome: “Germs Are Us”
Day 3 – Depth Psychology: From Freud to Transpersonal Psychology
Grof, Beyond the Brain, chapter 3
Grof, Psychology of the Future, chapter 5
Wilhelm Reich — Depth Psychology and Bodywork, Lenny Gibson
Transpersonal Psychology – History and Development
An American origination
Life and thought
Dynamic continuity of the real and the ideal
Mental illness vs. personal development
Structuralism and Functionalism
The Legacy of William James, Stanley Ivie
Influence on intellectuals such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty, and even Presidents, such as Jimmy Carter
“This is Descartes’ error: the abyssal separation between body and mind, between the sizable, dimensioned, mechanically operated, infinitely divisible body stuff, on the one hand, and the unsizable, undimensioned, un-pushpullable, nondivisible mind stuff; the suggestion that reasoning, and moral judgment, and the suffering that comes from physical pain or emotional upheaval might exist separately from the body.”
Transpersonal Psychology – More Antecedents and Accompaniments
The singularity of human birth
Eastern thought (Alan Watts)
Perennial philosophy (Aldous Huxley, Herman Hesse)
Psychedelic History and Developments
Lenny Gibson papers
The LSD Experience: A Whiteheadian Interpretation
Whitehead, LSD, and Transpersonal Psychology
A Whiteheadian Perspective on Psychedelic Experience and Research
Near Death Experience
Kyle Buller, A Near Death Experience
August L. Reader, The Role and Physiology of the Visual System in Contemplative Practices
Albert Heim, Account of a Fall
Extraordinary Experience and Human Potential, Lenny Gibson
Day 4 – Integration, Music
The varieties of non-ordinary experience
Integration of extraordinary experience into ongoing living
Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, chapter 5
Grof, Psychology of the Future, chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9.
Jung, Mandala Symbolism, from Volume 9i Collected Works
Characterization for use in Breathwork sessions
Some elementary musical concepts
Breathwork Music Suggestions
Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, pp. 32-37
Grof, Psychology of the Future, pp.186-194
Ongoing nature of the process
Go easy, revisit mandalas (see story about Lenny’s mandala)
Facilitator transparency, availability