6. Does Holotropic Breathwork require bodywork?

Holotropic Breathwork facilitators are trained to help participants with a form of support that is sometimes called, and often confused with, bodywork. Increasingly, however, this is called “Focused Energy Release Work” rather than “bodywork”. It is available to clients, if they request it, during a session or at the end of a session. It is used requested by participants when they feel stuck, ungrounded, or perceive that their session hasn’t completed.

Most participants complete their sessions without needing any such help. But if someone does want help, a facilitator will respond creatively and empathically to whatever the client asks for. More often than not, this means simply placing a hand gently on the shoulder for encouragement. Sometimes a facilitator will suggest that the client amplify what is already happening. This could be physical amplification but could also be expressive amplification. It might mean simply encouraging a client to vocalise a sound, or explore an image, that she is already experiencing. A client might also want physical resistance for a particular gesture in order to intensify the feeling in it. But this physical resistance does not involve doing something to the client, and it is never ever intended to overwhelm the client. It is simply meeting the client where she is, and encouraging her to go a bit further, if she wishes.

Unfortunately, I have seen some therapists, not trained by Grof, do some interventions in work with non-ordinary states that appalled me, so let me be very clear: A Holotropic Breathwork facilitator would never ever physically intervene in a session without the client’s permission—unless there were imminent danger that the client would hurt himself or someone else.