Posted By: Ilad (Ilad) on 'CZpsychology'
Title:     rozhovor se S. Grofem
Date:      Wed Feb 19 13:40:12 1997

 Cauky :)

 Jeste bych rad postnul rozhovor se S. Grofem, ktery jsem nasel na inetu

 Je to IMHO srozumitelne uvedeni do dane problematiky. Opet se omlouvam za 
anglictinu, ale snad lepsi takhle nez vubec.

 Stan Grof Interview 

by Daniel Redwood 

  Stanislav Grof, M.D., is one of this century's pioneers in consciousness
  exploration. Born in Czechoslovakia, he came of age as an atheist in a
  Communist country, and was trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst. In 1954,
  Sandoz Pharmaceutical Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland sent a sample of
  a newly-developed, little-known substance called lysergic acid
  diethylamide to the lab where Grof worked, with a request that they study
  it and report back their findings.

  Grof's experience with LSD caused him to substantially reconfigure his
  worldview. Since that time, he has devoted his professional life to the
  exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness, first with
  psychedelic substances and later with non-pharmacological means.

  For years, he performed legal, government-sponsored research with
  psychedelics, exploring ways to utilize these substances in a
  psychotherapeutic setting. His book LSD Psychotherapy grew out of his
  work. He is a former Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland
  Psychiatric Research Center, and is the author of over ninety professional
  articles and six books, including The Adventure of Self-Discovery and 
  Beyond the Brain, and The Holotropic Mind. With his wife Christina, he
  co-authored The Stormy Search for the Self, and co-edited Spiritual

  His current work focuses on the use of non-drug methods for deep
  psycho-spiritual work. Stan and Christina Grof have developed a method
  called Holotropic Breathwork, which employs specialized breathing
  techniques, in conjunction with music designed to evoke deeper states.

  DR: When you were growing up in Czechoslovakia, what first led you to
  pursue medicine, and in particular psychiatry?

  STAN GROF: It was a very interesting thing. I never dreamt of becoming
  either a psychoanalyst or a physician, and I spent much of my later
  childhood and adolescence very, very involved and interested in art, and
  particularly in animated movies. Walt Disney was my great hero. Just
  before I graduated from high school, I had an interview to start working
  in the film studios in Prague. At that time, a friend lent me Freud's 
  Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis. I read it in basically one
  sitting, and it had a powerful impact. Within a couple of days, I decided
  that psychoanalysis was so interesting that I sacrificed my original plan
  for a career in animated movies. I decided to enroll in medical school. It
  was almost like a conversion experience.

  DR: You started off as an orthodox Freudian, and you certainly aren't one
  anymore. What profound event or events brought about the change in your

  STAN GROF: I developed a very deep conflict within myself. As I became
  involved in psychoanalysis, and went deeper, I was more and more impressed
  with the theory of psychoanalysis. But then when I started seeing clients,
  I saw how narrow its range was, that not everybody could be considered a
  good candidate, and also that people must commit to doing it for a very
  long time. Three times, five times each week in the traditional framework,
  for a number of years. It was a great disappointment for me. And I have to
  say I regretted giving up animated movies.

  Just at that time, I was working in the psychiatric department in the
  school of medicine in Prague. It was the beginning of the era of
  tranquilizers, and we were doing a big study on Mellaril, a tranquilizer
  manufactured by a company in Switzerland called Sandoz. They had also
  developed LSD, and since we were one of their clients, they sent us a
  complimentary sample so that we could work with it, and give them some
  reports as to what uses it might have.

  DR: What year was this?

  STAN GROF: 1954. I was still a medical student. I had to wait until I
  became a psychiatrist to have access, to have an experience. So I
  volunteered for an LSD session. It was such a powerful opening of my own
  unconscious that I temporarily became more interested in psychedelics than
  in psychoanalysis. It kind of overshadowed my interest in psychoanalysis.
  Later, I realized that LSD could possibly be used as a catalyst, that the
  two could be combined.

  DR: It's hard for most of us to imagine what it must have been like to
  take LSD for the first time in the mid-1950s, before all the publicity had
  led people to preconceived judgments about it. What were you expecting,
  and what happened?

  STAN GROF: Well, I have to tell you, I kept a very detailed record of all
  my dreams. I believed that since this had something to do with the mind,
  that it would have to be understandable in Freudian terms. But what
  happened  there was a level that was understandable in psychoanalytic
  terms, but then there was also this very, very powerful experience that
  was way beyond that.

  DR: Is that something you can describe in words?

  STAN GROF: What happened was that my preceptor was very interested in EEG
  [brain wave monitoring], and I had to commit myself to become a guinea pig
  in the middle of my session. I was wired up, and she was attempting
  something that called "driving the brain," which meant that you would be
  exposed to a very strong stroboscopic, flashing light. The goal was to
  find out of the brainwaves would pick up the frequency that you were
  feeding to it. In relation to LSD, she was trying to find out how "driving
  the brain" was affected pharmacologically.

  In the middle of my first LSD experiment, when I watched the flashing
  stroboscopic light, the nature of it all changed basically what happened
  was that I was catapulted out of my body. I first lost the laboratory,
  then I lost the clinic, then Prague, and then the planet. I had the sense
  that I was a disembodied consciousness of cosmic universal dimensions. I
  witnessed things that I would describe today as pulsars, quasars, the Big
  Bang, and expanding galaxies. While this was happening, the woman who was
  doing the experiment very carefully moved [the strobe light] through the
  different ranges of frequency ­p; delta, theta, and alpha range, all
  carefully according to the research protocol.

  When I came back to my body, I had a very intense curiosity about this
  experience. I tried to get hold of all the literature that was available.
  And psychedelics became part of my work.

  DR: This was something you pursued while in Czechoslovakia, and later in
  the United States.

  STAN GROF: I can say that since that time, in my professional career, I
  have done very little that is not in one way or another related to
  non-ordinary states of consciousness, with or without drugs. It is by far
  the most interesting area in the study of the human psyche.

  DR: What would you say are the advantages of non-drug, and drug-induced,
  methods of psychospiritual work?

  STAN GROF: I would say that it was a tremendously fortuitous thing that it
  came in the form of a substance, a pharmacological agent. That was pretty
  much the direction that psychiatric science was going at that time. We
  discovered the other dimensions ­p; the spiritual, or what we call
  today the transpersonal dimension ­p; as a kind of side effect of
  something that started as a psycho-pharmacological exploration of the

  I became more and more interested in this, but it became much more
  complicated politically to work with psychedelics. This was because of the
  unsupervised experimentation with psychedelics, particularly among young
  people. So I became interested in similar states that are not produced by
  drugs. But had it not been for the fact that this opened up
  pharmacologically, I don't think we would ever have studied these
  non-ordinary states. So my whole interest in finding some
  non-pharmacological way was inspired by what I had experienced with the

  DR: What non-pharmacological methods did you gravitate toward first, and
  what has been the process through which you have developed your work?

  STAN GROF: I would say that as long as I had easy access to psychedelics
  at the government-sponsored research project at Spring Grove in Baltimore
  [Maryland Psychiatric Research Center], most of my energy went into
  psychedelic sessions. I was also interested in near-death experiences,
  which are very powerful non-ordinary states, as well as various shamanic
  procedures, and meditation. [I have taken part in] ceremonies with North
  American and Mexican shamans, as well as Brazilian ceremonies 

  When I came to California in 1973 ­p; I came first for a year ­p; I
  was living at Esalen Institute. I decided to stay in California, and
  explore non-pharmacological methods. My wife and I developed holotropic
  breathwork, where the whole spectrum of psychedelic experience can be
  induced by very simple methods. You close your eyes, and breathe fast. It
  is enhanced by specially-chosen music.

  DR: With holotropic breathwork, do some people access significantly deeper
  levels than others? If so, why?

  STAN GROF: I would say that this is even true with psychedelics. There are
  some people who are quite resistant to psychedelics, while others have
  very powerful experiences at very small dosages. We know there are people
  who can start having very powerful experiences without anything, without
  taking psychedelics, without [holotropic] breathing. It can happen against
  their will. We call this "psychospiritual crisis" or "spiritual
  emergency." This is a universal phenomenon. 

  DR: In some cultures, what you are calling a "spiritual emergency" is a
  recognized part of growth and individuation. In our culture, at least its
  symptoms are frequently considered pathological. How does our culture move
  in a more inclusive direction?

  STAN GROF: My wife Christina and I have written a couple of books ­p;
  one we wrote and the other we edited. We wrote The Stormy Search for the
  Self and edited Spiritual Emergency, which has articles by other people,
  pointing in the same direction.

  The basic idea is that there exist spontaneous non-ordinary states that
  would in the west be seen and treated as psychosis, treated mostly by
  suppressive medication. But if we use the observations from the study of
  non-ordinary states, and also from other spiritual traditions, they should
  really be treated as crises of transformation, or crises of spiritual
  opening. Something that should really be supported rather than suppressed.
  If properly understood and properly supported, they are actually conducive
  to healing and transformation 

  DR: Who should and should not do holotropic breathwork?

  STAN GROF: It's not so much a matter of who should and who shouldn't, but
  a matter of context We like to have people who don't have a serious
  psychiatric history, for example a history of having been hospitalized
  It's not a question of the holotropic breathwork itself, but if people
  really want to work on very serious problems, they should do it in an
  ongoing therapeutic relationship, rather than flying to another city where
  they have no connections, and then going home with no follow-up.

  DR: So you feel follow-up is important?

  STAN GROF: For someone who doesn't have serious emotional problems, it may
  not be necessary, but if you are working with someone who is a borderline
  personality [according to the psychiatric definition], then this kind of
  work should be conducted in a setting with 24-hour supervision 

  DR: Do such facilities, with informed and caring staff, exist in this

  STAN GROF: There are very few of them. For example, we have one here in
  California called Pocket Ranch, in Geyserville, about an hour north of San
  Francisco. A Jungian analyst, John Perry, has conducted two experiments,
  one called Diabasis, and the other called Chrysalis, near San Diego. Those
  are facilities where people who had these spontaneous episodes could go.
  Rather than being given tranquilizers, they were actually encouraged to
  experience fully what was happening to them. with the idea that they can
  get through it. One thing that is really missing is alternative facilities
  where people can come to be offered support rather than suppression DR:
  Can you give a general overview of the maps of consciousness that you have
  developed through your work?

  STAN GROF: If you work with non-ordinary states, you will find out that if
  you systematically study the observations and the experiences, they would
  require very substantial revisions of our basic concepts of psychology and

  The traditional model that we have really takes into consideration only
  the body and the brain, which is the most critical for psychiatry. In
  terms of what in computer language we call software (the programs, the
  learning in the broadest sense), this model includes only postnatal
  biography. Freud said that we are born as a tabula rasa ­p;- a clean
  state ­p;- and that we become [what we are as] a function of the other,
  of mothering, of different events, various sexual problems, and so on.
  This is a model that simply is too superficial and inadequate.

  I would add some very significant dimensions to it. The biographical
  domain is there, and it's important, but it's not all there is,
  particularly when we have more powerful ways of accessing the unconscious.
  There are two other domains, which I have called the "perinatal" and the
  "transpersonal." The perinatal generally relates to the trauma of birth.
  There are now a number of techniques through which this can be
  experienced, such as primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic
  breathwork, as well as psychedelic sessions.

  Then, beyond this is another level which we now call transpersonal. Here
  we find various mythological sequences, sequences from the lives of
  ancestors and the history of the race, and from past lives. Here we have
  many of the states described in spiritual literature, of cosmic
  consciousness, of the perennial philosophy. This map of the human psyche
  shows that each individual is an extension of all of existence. This
  supports what it says in the Upanishads. "Tat twam asi," [which means]
  "You are it," or "Thou art that." This means in the last analysis that the
  psyche of the individual is commensurate with the totality of creative
  energy This requires a most radical revision of western psychology.

  DR: With regard to holotropic breathwork workshops, what do you hope
  people can gain from it. Who should come?

  STAN GROF: Are you talking about the lecture or the experiential part?

  DR: Both, but particularly the experiential.

  STAN GROF: I will be talking about the levels of non-ordinary states of
  consciousness, and in that sense I think it would be interesting not just
  for professionals ­p; psychiatrists, psychologists, and
  psychotherapists, but also for theologians. and then because we all have a
  psyche, and it is very important to know ourselves, it would be worthwhile
  for intelligent laypeople.

  In terms of the experiential part, it gives people a sense of what is
  possible in terms of deep self-exploration. It gives them a chance to get
  a taste of the holotropic breathwork. If it is something that they find
  useful, then they can pursue it on their own. Most of our energy these
  days is going into training people in holotropic breathwork. We have
  trained over 200 people, and 200 more are in training. These workshops are
  available now, in most areas of the United States.

                                          Ilad :)


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