Rebirthing Update and Overview

by Franceen King, Ph.D.


The Self-Awareness Institute Newletter, 1994

Click here to return to my home page.

Click here to return to my Rebirthing page.

In addition to being a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and ordained minister, this is my sixteenth year as a professional rebirther. My love of this technique increases daily. I personally feel very blessed to have discovered rebirthing for myself, and to have had the opportunity to share it with so many others over the years. I thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about rebirthing in more depth in this newsletter, since it's been awhile since I've done so.

Because Rebirthing is such a multi-dimensional, transpersonal experience, it is difficult to describe or summarize. It is the "grandmother" of the currently popular "breathwork" therapies. It is related to ancient yogic pranayama and kundalini practices; has probably been used on the planet forever (though primarily in "mystery" schools); is totally natural and begins for many people quite spontaneously as they expand in awareness; is a powerful and direct link-up to the Holy Spirit (the Holy Breath) at a physiological as well a mental or emotional level; and ultimately is a life-long self-help practice.

Rebirthing cleanses the physical, emotional and mental bodies, and brings about a new integration of mind, body and spirit; so each session is in some ways a "rebirth." Many people also actually re-experience their physical birth into this body, which allows them to notice patterns of limitation which they may have created for themselves at that time. Overall, rebirthing is an experience of love and aliveness. As the flow of life energy begins to increase, anything unlike life (or love) gets flushed up and out, or into awareness for the purpose of healing. When this energy is combined with conscious thought, or intention, the transformational potential is unlimited. Breath adds power to our thoughts.

Some rebirthers place great emphasis on birth patterns; others emphasize elements of childhood or personal history; and others emphasize more transpersonal issues such as past lives, relationships with others, connections with other elements, dimensions, or expressions of life, or even future trauma. Eventually, anything unresolved will surface to be healed. This includes material from the collective as well as individual consciousness.

Most rebirthers recognize that thought is creative. Thoughts are not simply words, but rather anything we do in consciousness that adds form, shape or direction to undifferentiated energy. Most birth thoughts, for example, are definitely pre-verbal and stored and accessed emotionally and kinesthestically. Rebirthers assist their clients in consciously accessing more of their creative ability by discovering the space of consciousness from which they are free to choose. This faculty of choice can then be exercised through affirmations, visualizations, writing, music, emotion and intention, intensified by the heightened energy available through the breath.

Rebirthing is different than "positive thinking" in that thoughts are not judged to be inherently good or bad. Instead we seek to experience the context in which each thought is obviously perfect, totally okay. Problems generally arise when we take a thought that is perfect in the context of its creation and shift it to a situation or context in which it is no longer relevant or useful, or in which it actually inhibits the desired flow of energy. When we do this, many people add a layer of self-judgment or guilt which further restricts the flow of energy. As we learn to recognize the perfection of our thought creations, it becomes easy for us to forgive ourselves (and others), love ALL of ourselves, and choose in present time the thoughts which create the fulfillment of our dreams.

Most rebirthers are immortalists, recognizing that we are esssentially non-physical beings who have chosen to express in the physical world, and that we can continuue to do so forever according to our choices. Life in the physical body is a function of choice. Death (of the physical body) is not inevitable; nor is it necessary to periodically change bodies except as we so choose. Perhaps it might abe easier, or at least an entertaining option, to just continually transform our current experience the Resurrection and Ascension. As we continue to expand our awareness of ourselves as non-physical beings, we also discover that having a body is no longer a limitation, but instead, is a wonderful oportunity. Related to this, most rebirthers empasize additional spiritual purification and person growth paractices such as bodywork, realtionship with the earth elements (earth, air, fire, water), chanting, fasting, prayer, meditation, community, etc.

Many rebirthers are students of the Course in Miracles and include this set of teachings in their work with clients. Many people find that Rebirthing is a direct, physiological experience of the Course, and that after rebirthing they are easily able to understand and integrate passages that were previously only words.

Rebirthing as a "movement" has changed over the past 20 years. Leonard Orr was the modern day re-discoverer of this practice and began to popularize it during the mid '70's. On the one hand, there are more and more skilled, dedicated rebirthers throughtout the world. On the other hand, there is very little organization nationally or internationally. There are no national standards for training of rebirthers, although many individual practiotioners set up their own schools and develop training standards. (For example, I train and certify rebirthers through the Tampa Bay Rebirthing Academy.) Some practitioners add minor modifications, or emphasize certain elements of the process and create new names for what they do. Some of the currently popular names are Vivation, Resonant Breathing, Energy Breathing, Holotropic Breathwork, Integrative Breathwork, Conscious Breathing, Stillpoint Breathing, Breathwork, etc. I personally feel quite comfortable with the term Rebirthing. Although there has been very little research to support the practice or outcomes of rebirthing, preliminary studies suggest that the differences between practitioners using the same terminolgy is less than the differences between those using different terminology. The breath itself is the guide. Although many rebirthers are licensed health practitioners, most are not. It is important for consumers to thoroughly inquire as to their rebirther's background and training, and to use their intuition as well, in selecting a rebirther.

Most rebirthers suggest that clients make a committment to a series of ten individual sessions. Group rebirths are a valuable adjunct to individual sessions, but in no way compare to the value of individual work with an experienced rebirther. Ultimately, rebirthing is a life-long self-help technique.

For those who are interested in learning more about rebirthing as a technique and process, and the effects of birth patterns, I recommend the following books:

  • Rebirthing in the New Age, by Sondra Ray and Leonard Orr
  • Celebration of Breath, by Sondra Ray
  • I Deserve Love, by Sondra Ray
  • Ideal Birth, by Sondra Ray
  • Birth and Relationships, by Sondra Ray and Bob Mandel
  • Loving Relationships (I & II), by Sondra Ray
  • Rebirthing: The Science of Enjoying All of Your Life by Jim Leonard andPhil Laut (retitled Vivation: The Science, etc. in later editions)
  • Spiritual Psychology, by Jim Morningstar
  • Rebirthing: Freedom From Your Past by Deike Begg
  • Physical Immortality, by Leonard Orr
  • Rebirthing Made Easy, by Colin Sisson
  • Rebirthing for Life, by Ken Kizer
  • The Adventure of Self-Discovery, by Stanislav Grof
  • Open Heart Therapy, by Bob Mandel
  • Imprints, by Arthur Janov
  • The Psychology of Birth, by Leslie Feher
  • The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, by Thomas Verney
  • Birth Without Violence, by Frederick LeBoyer