From "Bad" Ritual to "Good" Ritual: Transmutations of Childbearing Trauma in Holotropic Ritual
In this article a tentative and provisional theory is advanced on the treatment of birth-giving trauma. ?Birth-giving-trauma? here refers to women (and men) psychologically, physically or emotionally traumatized during birth-giving. In the first part of this article I outline anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd?s argument that Western medicalized birthing can be constructed as a ?modern? rite of passage which can negatively imprint disempowering images into women?s minds, reinforce messages of inferiority, and traumatise the birth-giving mothers. In the second half of the article I will argue that the trauma catalysed by the ?bad? ritual of technocratic birth may need to be therapeutically treated or rather ?ritually combated? with an equally powerful and reparative ?good? ritual. I will explore psychiatrist Stanislav Grof?s and Christina Grof?s holotropic breathwork as a pre-eminent contemporary ritual in which ?good? transpersonal medicine is ritually made.
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