Rebirthing: ‘The treatment that changed my life’
Some treatments, sessions and personal development classes are a bit like fast food. They make you feel good for a while, but the feeling doesn’t last.
Every now and then, however, something comes along that has a more profound impact.
If you haven’t heard of ‘rebirthing’, it’s not about being dragged screaming through a fake birthing canal; it involves breath work and revisiting the past.
My therapist was Béatrice Garoche; picture a French version of Angela Lansbury’s iconic gumshoe Jessica Fletcher.
Personable, patient, compassionate and, if you need someone to solve a murder in one episode, you can’t go wrong.
I admit I’m anxious as we sit down in her Herne Hill front room but I’m soon describing how that feels: ‘Like a cannonball is sitting in my gut?’ Even I’m not convinced, and I’m pressed further. ‘It’s grey?’ I add, with some doubt. ‘And furry?’
Despite reservations, by merely addressing it, the anxiety disappears.
Back on track
I’m asked to revisit traumatic moments from my past. When we’re younger, we don’t have the self-awareness to process the darkness. Instead, something happens to us (parents’ divorce, abuse, and so on) and we crack on.
Under Beatrice’s guidance, I’m asked to speak to my younger self, to address one such moment when I was 13.
Without prompting, I volunteer to hug my younger self and say I’m sorry.
And so, there I am, hugging myself with my eyes closed, telling the teenage me how sorry I am that I’ve not been there for him. Amazingly, given how easily I cry, there are no tears.
The next stage of being rebirthed takes place in an adjacent bed, whereupon I’m told to breathe through my mouth.
Beatrice is by my bedside, encouraging me to imagine my throat is as wide as my shoulders. Within moments, I’ve drifted off, only to be awoken 45 minutes later feeling calmer and, ultimately, different. What happened in that time? No idea. It felt like seconds.
Since the session, I live better in the here and now, having processed the past.
I used to be in constant pursuit of escapism, gawping at my phone, listening to a podcast or audiobook. Since being ‘rebirthed’, however, the headphones have stayed largely off and the need for escapism has gone.
And that’s after just one session. Angela Lansbury would be proud.
Give It a Go: For anyone who wants to exorcise ghosts of the past.
High point: It has stayed with me a month on.
Low point: Addressing the past – though ultimately it’s hugely beneficial.
Cost: Two-hour session £120