Feedback of participants of Holotropic Breathwork TM seminars in 2018 - 2019
Between 2018 and 2019, Inka Macháčková with other Holotropic Breathwork Practitioners organized a number of seminars. The seminars were attended by 70 clients, many of them repeatedly. The team conducted about 120 holotropic breathwork processes to participants. In addition to Inka Macháčková, Michael Riegler, Lenka Ečerová, Marek Antoš, Vladislav Kubíček and Martina Lupačová Švarcová participated in the facilitation of the seminars. All team members have also worked on other seminars, including large events for hundreds of participants under the leadership of Stanislav Grof and worked at Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT) training modules. All team members are either certified facilitators as required by GTT or are in training with apprentice status.
Participants in our seminars were asked to evaluate their experience, assess the quality of team work and the sites we selected for the seminars, and give their general view of the HB method itself.
Detailed information on how our participants evaluate the experience of the seminars can be obtained from the charts below. Overall, 80% of the answers rated their experience from seminars as important or meaningful with a deeper meaning for them. The work of the facilitation team is rated by 79% of the answers as of good quality, supportive, meaningful and safe. Most respondents (94%) evaluate HB as either a meaningful method of working with a psyche, a quality tool for self-experience or an interesting possibility of self-knowledge.
Next to those for which our seminars made sense, we also received several negative feedbacks. A woman who had worked long-term with HB in another group did not appreciate the fact that our facilitation team "did not let her win over men". In the holotropic states of consciousness, she used to wrestle with men and win, what gave her strength. According to her perception, our seminar did not allow her this experience, and led her to become aware of traumatic flashes that she did not want to work with. Another client decided not to continue in the seminar after hearing the introductory lecture. She had had psychedelic experiences with Bufo alvarius, which led her to blend in with light and love, and the possibility of encountering more demanding psychic content such as traumatic or emotionally demanding biographical or transpersonal experiences discouraged her. Another negative feedback was from a man who did not feel safe with the facilitating team at the seminar, inquiring about the cause that he did not consider the facilitating team to be mature enough to facilitate his process. We displeased also the married couple, who fell asleep in the process and felt the absence of accompaniment in the process and support in returning to the technique of breath after awakening.
We continue to work with all negative feedbacks to find out to what extent our own weaknesses and mistakes cause our negative feedback and how to improve our work, especially what to emphasize even more in preparation for the process and what to pay attention to in our own facilitation. On the other hand, the word "holotropic" means "moving towards wholeness," and in the process, the splintered parts of our experience may become conscious demanding to be integrated into the whole of our psyche. And they are not always enjoyable and kind - but in the wider perspective, working with them makes sense and bring healing.
The healing process has two phases - curing and recovery. The actual experience of holotropic breathing can be compared to curing - but after a series of curing interventions in our body on the physical plane, we need time to convalescent and recover. Working with the psyche in transpersonal therapy is very similar to this. The actual experience of the holotropic state of consciousness requires further integrative work. And it is necessary to trust the process that - unless the facilitating team made a serious mistake in it - it brought what was needed at the moment and acceptable to our psyche.
What our clients very often appreciate at our seminars is the opportunity to experience enhanced states of consciousness in a safe and supportive environment. Many of them come with the previous experience of states of expanded consciousness induced by psychedelics, when the experience of our seminars brings them a deeper and more complete understanding. It offers the opportunity to fully explore and finish what psychedelics used in recreational fashion have often just opened. In the words of one client "Whenever I took LSD at a party, it was a deep depot, here I got through it and my life changed." Another client rated their experience from the holotropic process as the deepest one he had experienced, despite previous work with a number of consciousness enhancers, including the strongest psychedelic Bufo alvarius.
A large proportion of clients with previous experience of substance-induced enhanced states of consciousness perceive the experience of holotropic breathwork as very empowering. They find that states of enhanced consciousness are achievable because of their own abilities, not by influencing their biochemical environment with substances introduced from outside.
However, our seminars address also clients who have no experience with advanced states of consciousness, or they work with yoga and meditation techniques. Here they find out how enhanced states of consciousness can enrich their experience. HB workshops can be a safe preparation for working with enhanced states of consciousness in other ways. Last but not least, enhanced states of consciousness are part of the woman's labor and human love life. In both of these spheres, the experience of familiarization with the enhanced states of consciousness by the holotropic method can be very useful.