Catherine Dowling was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. At age ten, she made the decision to leave home in search of what she identified back then as freedom. Always practical, she postponed any action on that decision until she was old enough to get her own passport. Twelve years later, with a degree in English and history, a minor in psychology and a teaching qualification, she picked the town of Missoula, Montana off a map of the United States and joined the master’s program in history at the University of Montana.
Her time in Missoula produced several life-long friendships, but the freedom she sought proved more elusive. However, after multiple diversions into teaching, waitressing, merchandizing and a host of other jobs, she discovered breathwork psychotherapy. Through breathwork she realized that the kind of freedom she craved has little to do with location or life circumstances. It comes from within. Thus began her quest for ever deeper levels of awareness and spiritual growth.
Catherine trained as a breathwork psychotherapist with the Association of Irish Rebirthers and ran a private practice in Dublin for nearly twenty years. She has been a leading member of the professional breathwork community both in Ireland and internationally. Catherine is a founder and former chairperson of the Irish Rebirthing Psychotherapy Association and co-founder of the Federation of Irish Complimentary Therapy Associations. She is a former president of the International Breathwork Foundation, and developed a nationally accredited training program for breathwork therapists in Ireland. She was also a member of the Irish Department of Health’s national working group on the regulation of complementary and alternative therapists.
Throughout her school years, Catherine, an avid reader, wrote many books –all of them in her imagination. After many years in private practice as a breathwork psychotherapist, one of those books finally made its way onto paper. Rebirthing and Breathwork (Piatkus, UK, 2000) became essential reading for students of breathwork therapy, but more than that, the book is a treasury of information and exercises for readers searching for ways to create a happier, fuller life.
Catherine is committed to helping others find their “freedom” and has worked extensively for community, non-profit and voluntary organizations as a workshop leader and group facilitator. She brings to this work twenty years of experience in therapy, adult education, group dynamics and organizational development. She has devised and run workshops on personal development, stress management, boundary setting, assertiveness, strategic planning and committee skills for community based groups, women’s groups, businesses and state organizations. She was also a consultant evaluator to the Irish Health Services Executive on the issues of suicide prevention and residential child care.
In 2010 she moved to the United States where she has written her second book, Radical Awareness: Five Practices for a Fully Engaged Life, (Llewellyn Worldwide, USA, 2014). Radical Awareness guides readers compassionately and eloquently along the spiritual path of Awareness and a full, free engagement with life.