Stanislav Grof: Revision and Re-enchantment of Psychology

In this slide-illustrated lecture Stanislav Grof explores observations from more than fifty years of research of holotropic states (an important subgroup of non-ordinary states of consciousness) that call for a radical revision of basic assumptions of modern psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. The proposed changes involve the nature of consciousness and its relationship to matter, dimensions of the human psyche, the roots of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, and therapeutic strategy. In the light of the new observations, spirituality appears to be an essential attribute of the human psyche and of existence in general.

Without these changes, the understanding of psychogenic emotional and psychosomatic disorders and their therapy will be superficial, unsatisfactory, and incomplete. Psychiatry and psychology will lack genuine comprehension of the nature and origin of spirituality and of the important role that it plays in the human psyche and in the universal scheme of things. Many potentially healing and transformative experiences (“spiritual emergencies”) will be misdiagnosed as psychotic and treated by suppressive medication. In addition, a large array of the experiences and observations from the research of holotropic states will remain mystifying “anomalous phenomena”, events that according to the current scientific paradigms are in principle not be possible and should not occur.

Stan Grof, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years experience researching the healing and transformative potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His groundbreaking theories influenced the integration of Western science with his brilliant mapping of the transpersonal dimension. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of Transpersonal Psychology and received an Honorary Award for major contributions to and development of the field of Transpersonal Psychology from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1993. Dr. Grof is also the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and its past and current president. He has organized large international conferences throughout the world and continues to lecture and teach professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology. Currently, Dr. Grof is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and teaches at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA