Completion of life processes through Holotropic Breathwork

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Article, Holotropic Breathing | 0 comments

In this article, I am showing how one can very effectively come to a completion of life processes through Holotropic Breathwork. One could also speak of closing a circle. This has importance because open processes, consciously or unconsciously, draw our attention and thus our energy, which we could use much better for “current” matters.

Especially traumas are old, not processed, and therefore not closed events, which still demand an evaluation. These have to be neutralized to use the full potential of the individual. Thus, in trauma therapy, the goal is to find these events and come to terms with them. To do this, I use techniques such as Holotropic Breathwork and Craniosacral Therapy, which I will discuss in detail later in my series of articles. But first, let’s get to the question of how and why we should come to the completion of life stages.

Completion of life stages

In Cranisosacral Therapy

People have an inner need to complete experiences of specific life stages or life processes. J. Upledger presented this concept in his SomatoEmotional Practice of CranioSacral Therapy (CST). Unfinished events are experiences, relationships, conversations, life stages, or biological processes that have not been fully experienced, i.e., parts of what has been experienced remain excluded, blanked out, or unfulfilled. Incomplete events drain vital forces from the organism and energy system. With the help of SomatoEmotional Relaxation (SEE), these experiences can be re-energized and completed.

Memories of physical and emotional traumas, or even life-threatening situations—conscious or unconscious—are divided into two categories in CST:

The Unfinished Life Processes:

  • Birth
  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy/Miscarriage
  • Partnership/separation
  • Midlife crisis at the age of about 40-50 years old
  • Retirement

The completed life processes:

  • Diseases
  • Injuries
  • Operations
  • anesthesia
  • other physical traumatic experiences

“During SEE (SomatoEmotional Relaxation), we are repeatedly asked to bring the re-experiencing of the birth process, both from the child’s point of view and from the mother’s point of view to a satisfactory conclusion in qualitative terms for the bioinstinct.”

John E. Upledger

It also happens very often that the process of SEE brings the transition of death or other transitional processes to an end. In doing so, J. Upledger assumes that a naturally planned or predetermined process has somehow been disrupted.

“What comes first, goes last.”

John E. Upledger

By applying the principle according to John E. Upledger of all relaxation techniques of CranioSacral Therapy, it becomes clear that the re-experiencing of the birth process can predominantly occur only in the advanced stage of therapy and after several therapy sessions. It may occasionally present itself spontaneously in phases during the first session. However, according to Stanislav Grof, Holotropic Breathwork is more effective in therapeutically reaching such unfinished life processes as a traumatic birth experience.

In Holotropic Breathwork

Stanislav Grof’s decades of observation of his clients’ expanded states, the re-experiencing of birth is common. It manifests in all users in specific repetitive patterns, with corresponding physical types of movement, symbolic visions, and feelings that are ultimately very similar in all people. Therefore, he categorized the patterns and assigned them to the different stages of the birth process.

Birth as trauma

In addition, fears of death, or even an actual near-death experience, may also be experienced during birth. The experience of arriving in this world can lead to “life and death” moments for the child during the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal stages of birth, as well as for the mother, or to situations where it is a struggle for survival. It is, therefore, that one speaks of birth trauma not without reason.

Due to my own experience with craniosacral therapy, reliving my birth during treatment was not possible until I was in advanced study of CST. After several treatments, this phenomenon presented itself in various degrees and intensities of experience. However, it was strongest during the multi-hand treatment.



In summary, craniosacral therapy and holotropic philosophy have independently recognized that old unfinished life processes come to the surface in the practice of treatment. Birth is the most common and the most important life process, requiring reprocessing and completion. Here the circle must be closed to release the full potential of the human being.

In my follow-up article, I will discuss the birth matrices according to Stanislav Grof, as they best illustrate how our entry into life can already be accompanied by possible experiences that may be considered physically completed but can still represent an unprocessed trauma.

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Continue to the follow-up article about birth matrices >


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