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Academic Articles and Papers

The following academic papers have not been peer-reviewed or published in journals, but deserve attention nonetheless.

Examining the Effects of Holotropic Breathwork in the Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 1995, Byron A. Metcalf, M.S., NCAC II, CAS, 14 pages, 5 MB.

The effects of Holotropic Breathwork were examined in twenty adults recovering from alcoholism or other chemical addictions. The major underlying issues and concerns affecting this population were individually assessed to determine the clinical efficacy of utilizing Holotropic Breathwork in psychotherapy and treatment settings. The test sample consisted of ten men and ten women who were interviewed utilizing a self-reporting, structured survey. Results indicate that Holotropic Breathwork is an effective therapeutic tool for treating alcoholism and drug addiction. The results of this particular sample also suggest that Holotropic Breathwork could prove very beneficial in the area of relapse prevention. Each category examined showed marked improvement or a positive outcome. The highest improvements were in the areas of depression and anxiety; feelings and emotions; family relationships and intimacy; stress reduction; self-esteem and spirituality.

Stanislav Grof's Holotropic Therapy System, by Peter A. Jackson, 1996.

This 50 page paper is based on presentations Peter Jackson made at the Nelson Conference of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists in March 1996 and at the First World Congress of the World Council for Psychotherapy in Vienna, Austria, July 1996. As he says in his introduction, his purpose was to provide a comprehensive introduction for psychotherapists to the therapeutic approach reflected by Holotropic Breathwork including both theoretical and practical aspects, comparing and contrasting it as well to other approaches to psychotherapy. The document includes a report (pages 27 - 46) of an empirical study conducted with 38 breathwork participants that explored some very interesting dimensions. For example, the study indicates that HB may for some individuals reduce the frequency and intensity of substance usage (alcohol and/or drugs). Jackson himself notes that the study, although seriously undertaken and done with care, does not qualify as scientific research, but the results are interesting and provide valuable hints about possible fruitful directions of future scientific research. As well as being presented here in its full length, this document is available on the internet at this link.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy with Chemically Dependent Clients, 1999, by Brack Jefferys, PhD. (Note: 78 pages, 7.5 MB scanned document)

The purpose of this study, a monograph based on the author’s doctoral work, was to assess the effectiveness of incorporating transpersonal psychotherapy into traditional approaches to the treatment of chemically dependent clients. The complementary nature of professional psychotherapy and self-help groups such as Twelve Step recovery was also explored. The subjects in this study were 29 adult clients treated at St. Joseph's Addictions Recovery Program in Asheville, North Carolina. The sample consisted of 20 males and 9 females that completed a 13 month outpatient treatment program for chemical dependency. The subjects were followed for one year post-treatment by an independent employee assistance/managed care firm to determine treatment outcomes. Results of the analyses of client outcome data indicated that this model offers an effective treatment approach for this group of chemically dependent clients.

Holotropic Breathwork - Healing Through a Non-ordinary State of Consciousness, by Nicola Crowley, MD, 2005.

The paper is based upon a talk delivered by Dr. Crowley on May 9th, 2005, at a special interest group meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.

Psychosis or Spiritual Emergence? Consideration of the Transpersonal Perspective Within Psychiatry, by Nicola Crowley, MD, 2006.

This paper was awarded the essay prize by the executive of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.

Psychotic Episode or Spiritual Emergency? The Transformative Power of Psychosis in Recovery, by Nicola Crowley, MD, 2007.

This is another paper by Dr. Crowley explaining how episodes considered psychotic in traditional psychiatry can have the potential for healing.

Learning to Die with Stanislav Grof, by Dominic Quarrell, MSC 2007.

This paper, written in 2007 as a requirement for his Master of Science degree course at Bath University in Somerset, England, describes a five-day course on Death and Dying the writer took with Stanislav Grof. Quarrell cites numerous scholars of this subject, and introduces, not uncritically, the main elements of Grof's perspective on the importance of understanding our relationship to death both individually and collectively.

From States to Stages: Exploring the Potential Evolutionary Efficacy of Holotropic Breathwork, Masters Thesis by Christopher Robedee, 2008, 246 pages.

Two areas through which human consciousness is being researched are nonordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) and consciousness development. A growing number of theories describe adult consciousness as having the potential to develop through vertical stage-like levels that represent the evolution of consciousness through the human experience. Holotropic Breathwork (HB) is a method of inducing NOSC to access the potential benefits that such states may offer. Although both of these fields are concerned with the nature of consciousness, there has been very little written about and, prior to this study, there has not been research showing a potential relationship between participation in HB and the vertical development of consciousness.

Twenty-two volunteers with previous HB experience were interviewed. Interviews were analyzed for reported life-changing effects that the participants considered to be related to their HB experiences. Additionally, self-reported descriptions of various aspects of the participants’ lives, both at the time of the interviews and retrospectively before having first participated in HB, were analyzed using the framework of Susanne Cook-Greuter’s Ego Development Theory to determine evidence of potential vertical developmental change. All participants reported effects that they characterized as “life-changing,” commensurate with the existing literature about HB. The retrospective, interpretive analysis of the data has also shown evidence of what appears to be vertical developmental movement for a majority of the participants between the time of their first session and the interview for this study. Thus, vertical development and engagement with HB coincided, and given evidence from previous research on the effects of HB, this study supports a potential relationship between HB participation and the development of consciousness up to the leading edge of consciousness within Western culture. Additional research is recommended and suggestions are offered. .

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