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N.C. Rebirthing Ban Comes Under Fire From Supporters

Dec. 1, 2003 • Friday December 5, 2003

Law Bans Controversial Practice

RALEIGH, N.C. — A new law that takes effect Dec. 1 bans a controversial form of therapy that led to the death of a Durham girl. State lawmakers marked the death of rebirthing therapy when they decided to ban the controversial practice.

The new law makes the use of rebirthing therapy a misdemeanor; a second offense is considered a felony.

Not everyone supports the ban.

Barbara Janeway is disappointed by the decision. She underwent the therapy and said it changed her life. “I feel more grounded, more solid. [It was] one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Just so blissful and peaceful and happy and calm,” she said.

Janeway’s experience is overshadowed by that of Candace Newmaker — a Durham girl who died in Colorado three years ago when she was smothered by blankets.

Her two therapists went to jail.

“We’ve rebirthed millions of people around the world and we’ve never lost a single client,” said Raymond Knight, a rebirthing therapist for 25 years.

Knight defends the techniques used in Colorado were not legitimate.

“We use a number of techniques but there’s no physicality whatsoever,” he said.

Knight said the process is a mental one.

“The goal is to assist the client in releasing powerful negative thoughts,” Knight said.

Lawmakers were not convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.

Colorado lawmakers were not convinced either and banned the practice there.

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