Further to my posting above, I have been asked if I accept people on medication [anti-depressive or antipsychotic] for cathartic healing practices, and thought I would share my personal response to this question with everyone interested in this thread.
The short answer is that I have accepted participants on a range of various medications and so far without any problems
HOWEVER I do take Health and Safety very seriously and would like to emphasise the importance I attach to these aspects...
1. I require participants to let me know [in strict confidence] beforehand if they have any current health problems or are taking any medication. This is so that I can keep a particular eye on their progress during the practice and, if the worst came to the worst, quickly provide important information to emergency services.
2. I emphasise that this is an extreme physiological practice - on the same level as sweatlodge, firewalking, fasting etc and is therefore not without risks. I emphasise that each person must look within themself and find the deep guidance that this is the right thing for them to be doing at this time. My catharsis sessions are preceded by breathwork and bodywork [grounding exercises] mindfulness exercises to encourage people to be in their most resourceful state for good decision-making. If the practice is being undertaken within a shamanic context we will all do sacred space setting and purification rituals [e.g. smudging] beforehand and encourage people to connect to their spirit guides. Even when the cathartic work is part of a secular course, I will do my own shamanic preparation [and seeking guidance] beforehand.
3. So far I have only accepted participants who have already done a workshop or healing with me - so that I have had a chance to assess their suitability for this type of strong deep healing. The most important considerations being are they emotionally and psychologically grounded in body, breath, nature and social connectivity and are they on a path of finding and living with TRUTH in preference to self-serving illusions.
4. Cathartic practices are always preceded by training people in self-stabilisation techniques [and graduated self-surrender exercises] because if they do have a strong transformative experience they will often feel a bit strange and unstable at times in the next few days - as old realities/patterns/beliefs and new realities/patterns/beliefs struggle against each other. I am believe that after a deep transformative healing there is some re-wiring of the brain continuing for some days, plus ONGOING self-healing work of the psyche, plus physical detox type processes in the body i.e. REAL and DEEP healing is A JOURNEY rather than an instant 1-off event. So I warn people to plan to take things easy for a few days afterwards and get plenty of rest etc in the post-cathartic period. Not everyone will have such a strong experience, but I like everyone to be prepared.
I have led catharsis practices for 4 or 5 years, but rebirthing for only 1 year. I never wanted to get into rebirthing work because I am trained as a physiologist [also worked as a veterinarian for 30 years] and my respiratory physiology training had left me very wary of anything that involved overbreathing. However, I had overcome my reservations and tried rebirthing myself, with good benefits, and I had also had a lady go spontaneously into rebirthing during one of my workshops a few years ago [in the last year I have also had a man also go spontaneously into rebirthing during a workshop] and I have heard other reports of this happening, so there is no doubt that it can be a natural, non-forced part of a self-healing journey.
However a year ago while leading a series of shamanism workshops I experienced a deep spiritual guidance to hold a rebirthing session. My ego was very scared - what if someone had a medical crisis during this extreme release? Just as if we were about to start a guy came to and told me he had had heart surgery and was on medication for that. I was terrified - this was my biggest fear! However I followed my spiritual guidance that this was OK and so told him that he was at greater risk of problems and that he must look within himself for guidance about participating. He had no hesitation at all about taking part and in fact had the strongest experience of anyone who was there! I met him a couple of days later and he told me that he felt lighter and more at ease in social situations as a result of the rebirthing.
A midwife friend tells me that the rebirthing breathing pattern is quite usual in newborn babies, perhaps that is part of how it can connect us to our birth experience.
More on catharsis and rebirthing....www.lovehealth.org/tools/catharsis.htmwww.lovehealth.org/books/cathartic.htmwww.sunflower-health.com/courses/projects/rebirthing.htm
Laughter is of course one of the important forms that catharsis can take..www.lovehealth.org/books/laughter.htm