Treating the Mind Through the Body Body Psychotherapy. Part 5

I asked Klein if any of her clients had ever become violent. She replied:

People have expressed a great deal of violence. They have expressed it verbally and they have expressed it physically. And I’m trained to work with that. And if I need help — which I often do … I ask for assistance from partners. … People have certainly expressed violence and rage — at life, at the cosmos, at their parents, at the church, at themselves … at the doctor.

“The Grofs,” she said, “have found that we all tend to carry one of the birth matrixes as the ground in which we live and work from.” In “The Adventure of Self-Discovery” (1980), Stanislav Grof describes four “basic perinatal matrixes”:

the “amniotic universe”
“cosmic engulfment and no exit”
the “death-rebirth struggle”
the “death-rebirth experience”

Klein explained: “There’s like a whole constellation of experiences that surround these different stages.”

She prepared us for holotropic breathing:

The breathing instructions will be to breathe faster than normal and deeper than normal. How you do that is completely individual. You can use your nose, you can use your mouth, you can do it in combination. Your “fast” may be somebody else’s “slow.” Their “slow” may be your “fast.” It’s whatever is deeper and faster to us. There’s no wrong way to do it. …

The music will be very loud. … I have earplugs if anybody really wants them. … If you like the music, you can go with it — great. If you can’t stand it, it’s part of the process. …

You’re encouraged to stay lying down with your eyes closed the whole time. …

Sometimes people have an experience — because this is hyperventilating — where there’s … a … spasm in [either] the hands or the feet. … Everything that comes up is something that is coming up to be worked through. If you have a lot of spasm and you want some massage, let me know. … But … if, let’s say, your hand goes into spasm, the first thing you might want to do is to increase it, make it even worse. … My response to just about everything will be … to increase whatever your experience is. …

If anything feels distracting, make it part of the journey. Everything is part of the journey. … Sometimes people throw up. …

If you really feel stuck and you don’t know what to do, the first thing to do is to ask for inner guidance.

The first breathwork period began shortly after 10 o’clock. Klein said: “This is sacred time. If you have a connection with a god or any higher power, this is the time to make that connection.” Each breathwork period began with an instrumental melody at a restful volume, but the rest of the music was loud and often cacophonous, including chanting, sorrowful noises and the sound of breaking glass. I developed a headache. None of the singing was in English. Later, Klein explained that facilitators try to use only songs whose lyrics are in a language their clients don’t comprehend. Her audiocassette collection included “Africa Witchcraft and Ritual Music” and Sufi music for meditation.

I was a sitter during the first breathwork period. The breather under my observation, the cabbie, behaved like a restless sleeper until noon. Then, as he lay on his side, his stomach began jerking. Klein knelt beside him and placed her hand and forearm on his back. He wept. Klein whispered to him. When he lay on his stomach, she applied pressure to his back with the palm of her hand.

The other breather, the rebirther, lay like a corpse, with a sheet covering him up to his neck, until about 12:45 p.m. Then he became restless. Klein applied finger pressure to his jaws and then placed the palm of her hand over his brow. About 20 minutes later, she applied pressure to his chest with her arms and he screamed. Then he began laughing. He screamed three more times and laughed again. Klein applied finger pressure to his jaws again, while his sitter’s palms lay crosswise over his forehead. He screamed again twice. “I’m having a good time!” he exclaimed. He laughed again; then he roared. Later, I asked the rebirther what had made him scream. He replied that Klein had encouraged him to “let it out” as she applied pressure to his chest.

After a lunch break, I was a breather. Breathing deeply and rapidly made me uncomfortable, so my breathing was generally natural. I was bored and eager to leave. I did not inform Klein of my boredom, perhaps fearing she might try to increase it. Hearing two familiar tunes composed by Yanni dissipated whatever absorption I had managed. Later, I told Klein I would have been more relaxed listening to such music at a lower volume alone in my study. Unlike me, the cabinetmaker huffed and puffed, then laughed or cried. “Get away from me!” he shouted. (He did not appear to be speaking to anyone present.)

At about 5 o’clock, a burst of light made me open my eyes. Klein had opened a Venetian blind. In a while, I went to the dining room to draw a mandala with crayons of various colors. A half-hour later, Klein lay embracing the cabinetmaker for about 10 minutes.

During the “sharing session,” he explained that his older brother had been wont to beat him up. Klein disallowed taking notes or using a tape recorder during this period. The rebirther stated he did not want to participate. He complained of a headache and uneasiness, expressed dissatisfaction with the music, and said he doubted he would continue using holotropic breathwork. He told us that during his breathwork session, he had wished he were home watching the U.S. Open golf championship. He left early. The cabdriver said he had cried in order to get his money’s worth. Klein stated that my jaw looked more relaxed than it had in the morning. She said that during one breathwork session, she had witnessed the disappearance of blisters from a breather with poison oak dermatitis.

The Bottom Line
At best, supernaturalistic forms of bodywork promote relaxation or provide pleasant stimulation. At worst, they are painful and expensive sources of false hope.

When you buy prescriptions drugs online, you defend private life plus economize whole lot of money on needless calls to your doctor.


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