Gay Hendricks is a New Age guru and, with his wife Kathlyn, relationship manager. He has written numerous books consisting of motivational speech fluff and platitudes and the occasional piece of pseudoscience. Hendricks is, indeed, a psychologist, and has enjoyed a long career as professor in the Counseling Psychology Department at the University of Colorado, but that does of course not mean that what he and is wife are promoting through their very own Hendricks Institute has anything to do with science or reality. Kathlyn Hendricks also calls herself “PhD”, but her degree seems to be issued by a diploma mill. Gay Hendricks is the author of some 35 books, including numerous apparently popular books of fiction (the Tenzing Zorbu mystery series) and was the producer and writer on the Louise Hay movie You Can Heal Your Life.
The Hendrickses invented Bodymind Centering or Bodymind Centering technique (not to be confused, apparently, with the equally nonsensical Body-Mind Centering®, which is the registered trademark of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, author of Sensing, Feeling and Action; if your health/wellness technique has an ‘®’ behind it …), a form of meditation which in their book In Radiance! Breathwork, Movement and Body-Centered Psychotherapy is defined as “a precise, step-by-step technique for solving life problems through contact with the Inner Self.’ The “Inner Self” is, of course, “the part of us that knows how we really feel,” and Bodymind Centering is supposed to reconnect the “Inner Self” and the “Outer Self.” Yes, it’s New Age religious drivel, nothing else, and while probably not harmful certainly does not have any of the benefits the Hendrickses handwavily and not very committedly suggests it might have. A component of the technique is Radiance Breathwork, which ostensibly releases “unresolved” emotions “held” in the body, increases one’s ability to handle “positive energy,” can “clear” the effects of birth trauma, and ultimately “connect” one to life’s boundless transpersonal dimension. As with New Age therapies in general, it is important to keep the descriptions at a metaphorical level to ensure that no one – God forbid – actually stumbled upon testing the hypotheses.
Radiance breathwork is at least a type of breathwork, a familiar type of New Age practice in which the conscious control of breathing is claimed to influence mental, emotional and physical states and is sometimes claimed to have therapeutic effect. Breathwork can cause distress and has no proven positive health impact other than perhaps promoting relaxation.
They also promote something called Third Way manifestation, which requires: total commitment to serving the “creative force of the universe”; openness to the deepest “energies” within oneself; constant self-development in order to see and feel “currents of energy” and follow them through the universe; telling the truth; and keeping agreements. How this can be taken to be anything but old-fashioned religious dogma beats us. Gay Hendricks is also behind this rather creepy manifesto.
Diagnosis: The thing to notice is really how the Hendrickses’ techniques are nothing but religious creed. But it isn’t promoted as such, and that’s why they get an entry in our Encyclopedia. Probably pretty harmless, though; we’ll admit that.