of us working in the field of Breathwork/Rebirthing have bewailed
the sparse literature on the subject, but recently things have improved,
with a new generation of practitioners producing books as well as
a steady stream of papers into an academic Website Journal
Dowling is an Irish practitioner, running an Accredited Rebirthing
course, also a teacher and Stress Management trainer. She brings a
balanced approach to the subject of Rebirthing and Breathwork, from
its origins to current practice, drawing on her own considerable experience
in the field.
is going to be a useful handbook for students on Breathwork courses,
and for others wanting to know about the developments in this area
of therapy. The author puts Breathwork into a Psychotherapy historical
context, citing links with William Reich, Grof, Eastern Breathwork
practices, and then the more recent renewal of interest in Rebirthing
which surged up in the 1990s with the creation of the International
book is in 3 parts. In Part 1 there is a clear explanation of
the respiratory mechanism, breathing problems, and the therapeutic
effects that can take place from breathing consciously and fully.
I was pleased to see recognition for Dr. Robert Fried and others working
in the Breathwork field, including the earlier pioneers of Rebirthing
as well as more recent writers. There is a detailed description of
what a Breathwork session looks like, from the outside, explaining
how it can help, who will benefit, and when it is contra-indicated.
2 starts with the Womb, considers birth and bonding, then guidance
from parents, and finally the development of our core beliefs about
life. Case histories help to clearly show the effects of different
types of birth experience , and how early traumas may carry on into
adult life. Acknowledging the work of Bob Mandel., Sondra Ray and
Deike Begg in this field, she shows how prematurity, breech and Caesarian
births can bring a predisposition to certain patterns of feeling and
particularly appreciated the author's view on stages of development
in the release of anger and pain, and the necessity to work through
these, rather than hopefully trying to forgive, by the use of affirmations.
Self-responsibility, as she says, comes at a later stage in the forgiveness
process - a process that needed time, honesty and acceptance
to help it develop organically - and most therapists would agree
3 explains how the Conscious Connected breathing process can take
you on a journey, creating increased energy, and enabling suppressed
issues to surface to full awareness and intensity. As Catherine Dowling
puts it "it is a wonderful experience of flowing with the breath,
of giving over to it, and letting it proceed as it will, knowing that
it can be trusted completely ..." She describes how
this is achieved, through the 5 essential elements of the Rebirthing
process, and lists the possible physical effects that can be expected,
such as energy release, Breath release, tetany. This is a journey
towards insight and self-acceptance, and freedom from conditioning.
Deep healing and lasting changes can take place in what becomes a
"non-ordinary state of consciousness" during the breathing
session. Diversionary behaviours which can occur - from yawning, coughing,
non-stop talking, are useful for the new Breath therapist to know
about in advance. The energy cycle is explained, with activation of
physical or emotional feelings, symbolic visions and encounters which
are later discussed with the Therapist in the final stage of Integration.
and adequate completion of a breathwork session are well described,
and the importance of consolidating the experiences which have occurred.
the last two chapters, the author looks at the role of Rebirthing
in management of Stress, and in Creativity., with some exercises for
home practice. The selected readings which follow include Breathwork
books, articles, and a general reading list of relevant material.
is a clear and informative introductory book on Rebirthing, without
excessive claims for it, but with a good understanding of the process,
and how it can work effectively for many clients.