Dr. Ingo Benjamin Jahrsetz
I have been working as a psychotherapist for 35 years with individuals, couples and groups. I have worked extensively with psychoanalysis, psychodrama, family therapy, Holotropic Breathwork and systemic constellations. I have also been a practitioner of Vipassana meditation for many years, and it has become a significant anchor for my personal life as well as my therapeutic work.
Who am I?
For many people today, it is not only important what kind of methods their therapist employs, but also what kind of person they are. The question often arises of whether the therapist embodies and lives by the same methods of therapy that he provides for his clients. This has always been a great challenge for me. I began my training as a therapist after a great upheaval in my own life; it was then that I learned to search for my own perception of the truth. I have never stopped searching for this and I hope that I can continue to do this for the rest of my life.
I have never courted crises; however, after having worked through one, I never wanted another one to pass me by. Crises are a kind of ‘metabolic process’: they awaken in me a kind of ‘lust for life’, which I learned to satiate by the slow realization of what it means to let go. The wounds in my life taught me significant things about psychological patterns and spiritual problems. I learned a lot about psychotherapy and healing while my own wounds were healing.
I am a part of the generation of children born during the war. Finding a new and better kind of order amidst all the chaos has always been a central theme in my life: breaking down borders and reaching new horizons, transforming shame and guilt into a greater sense of responsibility, letting go of fear in the silent nights of war and feeling God’s love.
About my therapeutic work
The heart of my work lies in the trust I build in my relationships with clients. I seldom see them as ‘ill’, but rather as people who are having trouble dealing with difficult life situations. Most of them yearn for an authentic life, for the possibility of finding meaning in their work and living creatively. Often, people with generous hearts lack the courage to let themselves embark on intimate relationships.
For individuals, this often means making clear decisions, establishing boundaries and being true to oneself. This always means trusting your own feelings and perceptions and to have courage in them. It is often necessary to accept your own imperfections and fears. Many problems in life today stem from the collective. This is often difficult to recognize because the collective surrounds us and runs through us; it is like water to a fish.
For the past 15 years, I have intensively explored Germany’s Nazi history, and have discovered that these traumas had a great impact on the post-war generation and their adult children. Being aware of this can lead to realizations that can change our whole worldview. This is often bound to transpersonal experiences and insights into the secret of life. For many years, I found it very difficult to live in Germany. Today, now that I accept this country as a part of my heritage, the sadness about all the difficult things that have happened begins to wane. Instead, I see how it is possible to bring honor, mindfulness and empathy into the world. I can only make this possible by daring to accept myself and by treating myself kindly.
What methods do I use in my therapeutic work?
I would describe the methods that I use today as ‘integrated psychotherapy’. It is the culmination of everything that I have learned in my many years of work in therapeutic training, seminars and meditation retreats.
In my early years, I was fascinated by psychoanalysis, especially its theoretical foundation. Later, I learned of the worth of systemic connections that govern the life of families and couples, but that can also form a great part of therapy for individuals. In my work with psychodrama, it became clear to me how important emotional expression and an understanding of different rituals and scenes in our lives can be for therapy. Working with Holotropic Breathwork has shown me that the human soul reaches much further than all of these daily conflicts and family problems may indicate. Holotropic Breathwork enables experiences in which the personal, collective and the eternal are connected. Every person’s existential experience brings us closer to fulfilling the human desire for a sense of completion in our hearts. This can lead to a deep experience of healing.
What happens in psychotherapy is dependent on what the person desires. Sometimes the aim is to find a new drive for life, or to overcome a hindrance or something similar as quickly as possible. For many people, the main aim is to heal deep wounds. Through therapy, they can sometimes discover that the site of their greatest pain can also be the site of their greatest desire and their greatest potential.
What do I teach?
I am the Director of the International Institute for Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy, Freiburg (http://bewusstseinserforschung.de/en/).
Together with two other directors and an international team of psychotherapists and teachers, I lead courses and professional training in Transpersonal Psychotherapy, spiritual supervision, and Transpersonal Breathwork.
What is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?
Other than Behavioral Therapy, Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Therapy, it is the fourth player in psychotherapeutic methods. Transpersonal Psychotherapy is nothing abstract or esoteric. Like other therapeutic methods that orient around self-exploration, it works with that which people in need perceive to be their difficulties: these can be current conflicts, relationship crises, personal problems, etc. Transpersonal Psychotherapy supports people in taking responsibility for their lives and their wellbeing as ‘mature adults’. Freud’s famous saying that embodies the aim of therapy, “to love and to work”, is also true for Transpersonal Psychotherapy.
However, it often has a different view on the perception of happiness and sorrow. It views things in daily life from an existential perspective, from the perspective of death and birth and everything that lies beyond that. It takes on transpersonal and mystical experiences. It knows that the human possibility of living freely is far greater than our freedom from daily constraints. It knows that all fears can be transformed through the cosmic gift of empathy and love.
I teach that which I have learned—through my teachers, my studies, my students and my clients, through the experiences of my life.
What is Holotropic Breathwork™?
Holotropic Breathwork is a method of intensive self-exploration that works with ‘states of expanded consciousness’. These are states of a heightened sensibility and clarity for the self and for others. It enables authentic experiences that may make unresolved conflicts in life and personal biographies appear clearer. These experiences reach beyond everything and into the layers of an infinite consciousness to help heal our deepest wounds. This occurs by coming in contact with the numinous, as C. G. Jung describes it, through contact of the personal with the collective and the spiritual.
Holotropic states of consciousness (Stanislav Grof) have for centuries been prevalent in shamanic cultures for the healing of body and soul. They increase human intelligence and creativity and connect these with the power of the heart. Holotropic states of consciousness have a unique quality: they are perspectives that aim towards a state of completeness, of becoming one with yourself, with others, a Oneness with the eternal. Holotropic experiences further openness with archetypal, transpersonal and spiritual aspects of Being.
For many decades, Holotropic experiences have been in the sights of modern western psychotherapy and have undergone extensive empirical research. Holotropic states require a responsible professional setting. A high psychotherapeutic efficiency is undisputed in such a context.
The method of Holotropic Breathwork lies in a combination of intensive breathing (Hyperventilation), specially composed music, a body-focused energy activity, and the so-called “Mandala-painting”. A psychotherapeutic sharing takes place after the process, leading to a deeper understanding, which helps to integrate the experiences.
This method of intensive breathing originally comes from the Yoga tradition. It is with thanks to Stanislav and Christina Grof that it has been developed into such an effective therapeutic method.
With the support of Holotropic Breathwork, I have been guiding people in psychotherapy for 25 years through their difficulties and crises. These are people who have wanted to free themselves of their constraints and who want to live with an open heart. I had the privilege of learning this directly from Stanislav and Christina Grof.
Jahrsetz, Ingo Benjamin: Holotropes Atmen - Psychotherapie und Spiritualität, Stuttgart 1999 (Klett);
Jahrsetz, Ingo Benjamin: Das Holotrope Atmen. Zur therapeutischen Arbeit mit Zuständen Veränderten Bewusstseins
Grof, Stanislav and Christinia: Holotopes Atmen: Eine neue Methode der Selbsterforschung un Therapie. Solothurn 2014 (Nachtschatten Verlag)
Jahrsetz, Ingo Benjamin: Holotropic Awareness. In: Integral Transpersonal Journal, October 2013
- Psychoanalytically Orientated Psychotherapy (Ernst Göring)
- Systemic Family Therapy (Helm Stierlin)
- Psychodrama (Moreno Institute Stuttgart)
- Holotropic BreathworkTM Facilitator (Stan and Christina Grof)
- Systemic Constellations (Gunthard Weber)
- Director of the International Institute for Consciousness Exploration and Psychotherapy
- Committee Member of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA)
- Former President of the European Transpersonal Association (Eurotas)
- Honorary President of SEN Germany
Billing for psychotherapy on a private basis or on the basis of a treatment by non-medical practitioners of psychotherapy.