Spiritual Emergency: Embracing Unexpected Transformation

With Tav Sparks and GTT staff.

Open to all, and counts as a required topic for those getting certified

Understanding Spiritual Emergency is one of the major contributions of the Holotropic perspective. Whether you are a professional or a layperson, someone interested in working with people in transformational crises, or primarily in your own growth, the module offers a rich experience and valuable information. In addition to differentiating between psychosis and spiritual emergency, we’ll also explore the intensely practical aspects of who, in these kinds of crises, can benefit from Holotropic breathwork and how best to work with them in their emergencies. This workshop includes a discussion of the concept of spiritual emergency, its manifestations and forms, historical and anthropological perspectives, treatment strategies and work with family and friends.


Tav Sparks

Lector: Tav Sparks

Tav Sparks is the director of Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT), the only training program that certifies people as practitioners of Holotropic Breathwork. Tav is a teacher, consultant, and writer with over 25 years of experience working therapeutically with people in non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Since 1986, Tav has conducted hundreds of trainings and workshops and supported thousands of individuals in their deep inner work. In1990, he became the primary faculty member of GTT, working alongside Stanislav Grof, M.D. (co-creator, with Christina Grof, of Holotropic Breathwork, and author of Psychology of the Future, The Cosmic Game, and When the Impossible Happens). In 1998, Tav, along with Cary Sparks, took over GTT from the Grofs, and he currently leads and oversees a network of seminars and events all over Europe; North and South America; and Australia.

Tav is the author of three books, a training manual, and a CD series. His most recent book, Movie Yoga: How Every Film Can Change Your Life, demonstrates how movie watching can be a deep spiritual practice. Stanislav Grof said Movie Yoga “is a unique instrument that could transform one of the most popular mass entertainments into an adventure of self-discovery, self-healing, and inner transformation.“ Tav’s CD series covers four topics as they relate to Holotropic Breathwork: Getting Started on Your Inner Journey; Addiction, Recovery, and the Spiritual Path; A Modern Spiritual Method with Lessons for Practical Life; and Healing Stories from Holotropic Breathwork.

His work for four years in a traditional recovery environment, and his experience of the limitations of the current treatment model, were the inspiration for Tav’s first book, The Wide Open Door: The 12 Steps, Spiritual Tradition, and the New Psychology. In this groundbreaking text, he pioneered the wellness approach to addiction and recovery. International lecturer and author Rokelle Lerner calls the book a “stunning synthesis of psychology, spirituality, and Twelve Step traditions” and “an important contribution to the addictions field.”

His 1987 article in Revision Journal, “Transpersonal Treatment of Addictions: Radical Return to Roots” was the forerunner of currently accepted trends in treatment.

Tav is also the author of the training manual Doing Not Doing: A Facilitators Guide to Holotropic Breathwork. His poetry book Through Thunder: A Death Rebirth Journey, received much praise, and he has also completed seven screenplays.

He was program coordinator for three conferences of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and served as a member of the ITA Board of Directors.

Tav lives in Northern California and is the father of two sons, Ason and Bryn, and the grandfather of three boys.