This comprehensive work is a tour de force through the worlds of psychology, psychotherapy, Holotropic Breathwork, maps of the psyche, birth, sex, and death, transpersonal experiences, psychospiritual death and rebirth, reincarnation, karma, mystical states, archetypes, spiritual emergency, art, artists, and higher creativity. The commanding breadth and depth of knowledge is astounding, the tone of his writing easy and accessible, and the narratives brightened with intriguing personal accounts, amusing anecdotes, and brilliant case studies. Grof reviews the history of depth psychotherapy, the important revisions that are needed to make it more effective, and why the inner quest is such an essential activity. Arguably one of the fathers of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, its most experienced practitioner, and deeply deserving of a Nobel Prize in medicine, he has successfully unveiled a new and sweeping paradigm in self-exploration and healing. The vast and useful knowledge in this book is sure to be an invaluable and treasured resource for all serious seekers. If they are properly understood and supported, they can positive therapeutic, transformative heuristic, and even revolutionary potential.

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As its name indicates, it was the twenty-fifth compound developed in a systematic study of amides of Iysergic acid.

LSD is a semi-synthetic chemical product; its natural component is Iysergic acid, which is the basis of all major ergot alkaloids, and the diethylamide group is added in the laboratory. According to Stoll, Hofmann and Troxler 98 , it has the following chemical formula: [molecular diagram omitted in this hypertext reproduction] Various ergot alkaloids have important uses in medicine, primarily as drugs that can induce uterine contractions, stop gynecological bleeding, and relieve migraine headache.

The objective in the Sandoz study of ergot derivatives was to obtain compounds with the best therapeutic properties and least side effects. The unique properties of the new substance were brought to the attention of the researchers by a series of events involving a fortuitous accident.

In Albert Hofmann was reviewing the results of early pharmacological tests on LSD and decided to investigate the stimulating effects on the central nervous system indicated in animal experiments.

Because of its structural similarity with the circulatory stimulant nikethamide, LSD seemed promising as an analeptic substance. Feeling that it would be worthwhile to carry out more profound studies with this compound, Albert Hofmann decided to synthesize a new sample. However, even the most sophisticated experiments in animals would not have detected the psychedelic effects of LSD, since such specifically human responses cannot be anticipated on the basis of animal data alone.

A laboratory accident came to the help of the researchers; by a strange play of destiny Albert Hofmann became an involuntary subject in one of the most exciting and influential experiments in the history of science.

Working on the synthesis of a new sample of LSD, he accidentally intoxicated himself during the purification of the condensation products. On arriving home, I lay down and sank into a kind of drunkenness, which was not unpleasant and which was characterized by extreme activity of the imagination.

As I lay in a dazed condition with my eyes closed, I experienced daylight as disagreeably bright there surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness, accompanied by an intense kaleidoscope-like play of colors. This condition gradually passed off after two hours.

However, he could not understand how the LSD had found its way into his body in a sufficient quantity to produce such phenomena.

He was also puzzled by the nature of the effects, which were quite different from those associated with ergot poisoning. Three days later he intentionally ingested a known quantity of LSD, to put his suspicions to a solid scientific test. Being a very conservative and cautious person, he decided to take only micrograms, [1] which he considered to be a minute dose judging by the usual dosage level of other related ergot alkaloids.

At that time he had no way of knowing that he was experimenting with the most powerful psychoactive drug known to man. The dose he chose and ingested without any special preparation, or any knowledge about psychedelic states, would at present be considered a high dose and has been referred to in the LSD literature as a "single overwhelming dose.

About forty minutes after the ingestion, Hofmann started experiencing dizziness and unrest; he had difficulties in concentration, disturbances of visual perception, and a strong unmotivated desire to laugh. He found it impossible to keep a written protocol about his experiment as originally planned. The following is an excerpt from his subsequent report written for Professor Stoll: 38 "At this point, the laboratory notes are discontinued; the last words were written only with great difficulty.

I asked my laboratory assistant to accompany me home, as I believed that I should have a repetition of the disturbance of the previous Friday. While we were cycling home, however, it became clear that the symptoms were much stronger than the first time. I had great difficulty in speaking coherently, my field of vision swayed before me, and objects appeared distorted like images in curved mirrors.

I had the impression of being unable to move from the spot, although my assistant told me afterwards that we had cycled at a good pace. Once I was at home, the physician was called. As far as I remember, the following were the most outstanding symptoms: vertigo; visual disturbances; the faces of those around me appeared as grotesque, colored masks; marked motoric unrest, alternating with paralysis; an intermittent heavy feeling in the head, limbs, and the entire body, as if they were filled with lead; dry, constricted sensation in the throat; feeling of choking; clear recognition of my condition, in which state I sometimes observed, in the manner of an independent, neutral observer; that I shouted half-insanely or babbled incoherent words.

Occasionally, I felt as if I were out of my body. Six hours after ingestion of the LSD, my condition had already improved considerably. Only the visual disturbances were still pronounced. Everything seemed to sway and the proportions were distorted like reflections in the surface of moving water.

Moreover, all the objects appeared in unpleasant, constantly changing colors, the predominant shades being sickly green and blue. When I closed my eyes, an unending series of colorful, very realistic and fantastic images surged in upon me. A remarkable feature was the manner in which all acoustic perceptions, e. Subsequent experiments with volunteers from the Sandoz Research Laboratories confirmed the extraordinary influence of this drug on the human mind. He found the new psychoactive substance of.

His observations of the LSD effects in these two categories of subjects were published in The incredible potency of LSD and the fact that infinitesimally small quantities could profoundly alter mental functioning of otherwise healthy volunteers gave a new impetus to speculations about the basically biochemical nature of endogenous psychoses, particularly schizophrenia.

It was repeatedly observed that microscopic doses of LSD, in the range of 25 to micrograms, were sufficient to produce changes in perception, emotions, ideation and behavior that resembled those seen in some schizophrenic patients.

It was conceivable that the metabolism of the human body could, under certain circumstances, produce such small quantities of an abnormal substance identical with or similar to LSD. According to this tempting hypothesis, endogenous psychoses such as schizophrenia would not be primarily mental disorders, but manifestations of an autointoxication of the organism and the brain caused by a pathological shift in body chemistry.

Much research during the years following the discovery of LSD was aimed at proving or disproving the "model psychosis" hypothesis. Its power was such that for many years LSD sessions conducted for any purpose were referred to as "experimental psychoses," and LSD and similar substances were called hallucinogens, psychotomimetics psychosis-simulating compounds or psychodysleptics drugs disrupting the psyche.

This situation was not rectified until when Humphrey Osmond, after mutually stimulating correspondence with Aldous Huxley, coined a much more accurate term, "psychedelics" mind-manifesting or mind-opening drugs. These descriptive studies had their counterpart in the research exploring parallels between these two conditions, as reflected in clinical measurements, psychological tests, electro-physiological data, and biochemical findings.

The significance attributed to this avenue of research found an expression in the number of studies contributing basic data about the effects of LSD on various physiological and biochemical functions as well as on the behavior of experimental animals, on isolated organs and tissue cultures, and on enzymatic systems. Of special interest from the point of view of the "model psychosis" hypothesis were experiments studying the antagonism between LSD and various other substances.

The possibility of blocking the LSD state, by premedication with another drug or by its administration at the time of fully developed LSD effects, was seen as a promising approach to the discovery of new directions in the pharmaco-therapy of psychiatric disorders. Several biochemical hypotheses of schizophrenia were formulated at this time, implicating specific substances or whole metabolic cycles as the primary cause of this disease.

The serotonin hypothesis coined by Woolley and Shaw received by far the most attention. According to their model LSD causes abnormal mental functioning by interfering with the neurotransmitter substance serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine. A similar mechanism was postulated as the biochemical cause of schizophrenia. This reductionistic and oversimplified approach to schizophrenia was repeatedly criticized by psychoanalytically and phenomenologically oriented clinicians and biochemical investigators, and finally abandoned by most researchers.

It became increasingly obvious that the LSD-induced state had many specific characteristics clearly distinguishing it from schizophrenia. In addition, none of the biochemical mechanisms postulated for schizophrenia was unequivocally supported by clinical and laboratory data.

Although the "model psychosis" approach did not resolve the problem of the etiology of schizophrenia or provide a miraculous "test-tube" cure for this mysterious disease, it served as a powerful inspiration for many researchers and contributed in a decisive way to the neurophysiological and psychopharmacological revolution of the fifties and early sixties. Another area in which the extraordinary effects of LSD proved extremely helpful was self-experimentation by mental health professionals.

In the early years of LSD research didactic LSD experiences were recommended as an unrivaled tool for the training of psychiatrists, psychologists, medical students, and psychiatric nurses.

The LSD sessions were advertised as a short, safe and reversible journey into the world of the schizophrenic. Even though the concept of the LSD experience as "model schizophrenia" was later discarded by a majority of scientists, it remains an unquestionable fact that experiencing the profound psychological changes induced by LSD is a unique and valuable learning experience for all clinicians and theoreticians studying abnormal mental states.

The early experimentation with LSD also brought important new insights into the nature of the creative process and contributed to a deeper understanding of the psychology and psychopathology of art.

For many experimental subjects, professional artists as well as laymen, the LSD session represented a profound aesthetic experience that gave them a new understanding of modern art movements and art in general.

Painters, sculptors and musicians became favorite LSD subjects because they tended to produce most unusual, unconventional and interesting pieces of art under the influence of the drug. Some of them were able to express and convey in their creations the nature and flavor of the psychedelic experience, which defies any adequate verbal description.

The day of the LSD experience often became a dramatic and easily discernible landmark in the development of individual artists. Equally deep was the influence of LSD research on the psychology and psychopathology of religion.

Even under the complex and often difficult circumstances of early LSD experimentation, some subjects had profound religious and mystical experiences that bore a striking similarity to those described in various sacred texts and in the writings of mystics, saints, religious teachers and prophets of all ages. The possibility of inducing such experiences by chemical means started an involved discussion about the authenticity and value of this "instant mysticism.

Any discussion of the various areas of LSD research and experimentation would remain incomplete without mentioning certain systematic explorations of its negative potential. For obvious reasons, the results of this research, conducted by the secret police and armed forces of many countries of the world, have not been systematically reported and most of the information is considered classified. Some of the areas that have been explored in this context are eliciting of confessions, gaining of access to withheld secrets and information, brainwashing, disabling of foreign diplomats, and "nonviolent" warfare.

In working with individuals, the destructive techniques try to exploit the chemically induced breakdown of resistances and defense mechanisms, increased suggestibility and sensitivity to terroristic approaches, and intensification of the transference process.

In the mass approaches of chemical warfare, the important variables are the disorganizing effect of LSD on goal-oriented activity, and its uncanny potency. The techniques of dispensation suggested for this warfare have been various kinds of aerosols and contamination of water supplies. For everybody who is even remotely familiar with the effects of LSD, this kind of chemical warfare is much more diabolical than any of the conventional approaches.

Calling it non-violent or humane is a gross misrepresentation. Observations of the dramatic and profound effects of minute quantities of LSD on the mental processes of experimental subjects led quite naturally to the conclusion that it might be fruitful to explore the therapeutic potential of this unusual compound. The possibility of therapeutic use of LSD was first suggested by Condrau 21 in , only two years after Stoll had published the first scientific study of LSD in Switzerland.

In the early fifties several researchers independently recommended LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy, one which could deepen and intensify the therapeutic process. These reports attracted considerable attention among psychiatrists, and stimulated clinicians in various countries of the world to start therapeutic experimentation with LSD in their own practice and research. Many of the reports published in the following fifteen years confirmed the initial claims that LSD could expedite the psychotherapeutic process and shorten the time necessary for the treatment of various emotional disorders, which made it a potentially valuable tool in the psychiatric armamentarium.

In addition, there appeared an increasing number of studies indicating that LSD-assisted psychotherapy could reach certain categories of psychiatric patients usually considered poor candidates for psychoanalysis or any other type of psychotherapy.

Many individual researchers and therapeutic teams reported various degrees of clinical success with alcoholics, narcotic-drug addicts, sociopaths, criminal psychopaths, and subjects with various character disorders and sexual deviations. In the early sixties a new and exciting area was discovered for LSD psychotherapy: the care of patients dying of cancer and other incurable diseases.

Studies with dying individuals indicated that LSD psychotherapy could bring not only an alleviation of emotional suffering and relief of the physical pain associated with chronic diseases, it could also dramatically change the concept of death and attitude toward dying. Since the appearance of the early clinical reports on LSD much time and energy has been invested in research of its therapeutic potential, and hundreds of papers have been published on various types of LSD therapy.

Many psychopharmacological, psychiatric, and psychotherapeutic meetings had special sections on LSD treatment. In Europe, the initially isolated efforts of individual LSD researchers resulted in an effort to create a homogeneous organizational structure. LSD therapists from a number of European countries formed the European Medical Society for Psycholytic Therapy, and members held regular meetings dealing with the use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapy. This organization also formulated the specifications and criteria for selection and training of future LSD therapists.

During the decade of most intense interest in LSD research several international conferences were organized for the exchange of experiences, observations and theoretical concepts in this field Princeton, ; Goettingen, ; London, ; Amityville, ; Amsterdam, ; and Bad Nauheim, The efforts to use LSD in the therapy of mental disorders now span a period of almost three decades.

It would be beyond the scope of this presentation to describe all the specific contributions to this unique chapter of the history of psychiatric treatment, as well as give due attention to all the individual scientists who participated in this avenue of research.

The history of LSD therapy has been a series of trials and errors. Many different techniques of therapeutic use of LSD have been developed and explored during the past thirty years. Approaches that did not have the expected effect or were not supported by later research were abandoned; those that seemed promising were assimilated by other therapists, or developed further and modified. Instead of following this complicated process through all its stages, I will try to outline certain basic trends and the most important therapeutic ideas and concepts.


Stanislav Grof

Werkzaamheden[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] Hij was, samen met Abraham Maslow en Anthony Sutich, mede-founding father van de transpersoonlijke psychologie , die — als uitbreiding van de humanistische — ook ruimte biedt aan ervaringen van religieuze en spirituele aard. Hij geldt als een van de grootste autoriteiten op het gebied van LSD -psychotherapie, en heeft gedurende de laatste vijf decennia een zeer uitgebreid methodologisch en kentheoretisch referentiekader ontwikkeld, waarin ook de meest uiteenlopende en extreme ervaringen die door de dominante — voornamelijk op symptoombestrijding gerichte — psychiatrie doorgaans worden ontkend dan wel gepathologiseerd, een plaats hebben gevonden. Met name in zijn in verschenen hoofdwerk Beyond the Brain - Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy heeft hij de contouren geschetst van een volledig nieuwe psychologie die tevens recht doet aan de veranderde en nog steeds veranderende inzichten met betrekking tot de structuur van de werkelijkheid en de aard van het menselijk bewustzijn. Stanislav Grof is met name bekend geworden vanwege zijn vroege onderzoeken naar LSD en de effecten ervan op de menselijke psyche , het terrein van de psychedelische psychotherapie. In de loop der tijd wist Grof op basis van tientallen jaren intensief klinisch onderzoek eveneens een zeer uitgebreide en complete cartografie van de diepere menselijke psyche te ontwikkelen, die zich mede onder invloed van het werk van andere transpersoonlijke pioniers zoals bijvoorbeeld Richard Tarnas , Christopher Bache en Ken Wilber nog steeds verder ontwikkelt.


LSD Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Psychedelic Medicine

Sie zeigen ein dringendes Erfordernis an, manche unserer theoretischen Konzepte und selbst manche wissenschaftlichen Grundparadigmen drastisch zu revidieren. Bei weitem die erstaunlichsten und aufregendsten Verbindungen scheinen aber zwischen den psychedelischen Ergebnissen und der modernen Physik zu bestehen. LSD ist ein halbsynthetisches chemisches Erzeugnis. Auf die Besonderheiten der neuen Substanz wurden die Forscher durch eine Reihe von Ereignissen aufmerksam, in denen der Zufall eine Rolle spielte. Ein Laborzufall kam dem Forscher zu Hilfe; und durch eine Laune des Schicksals wurde Albert Hofmann zur unfreiwilligen Versuchsperson in einem der faszinierendsten und folgenreichsten Experimente in der Geschichte der Wissenschaften.


As its name indicates, it was the twenty-fifth compound developed in a systematic study of amides of Iysergic acid. LSD is a semi-synthetic chemical product; its natural component is Iysergic acid, which is the basis of all major ergot alkaloids, and the diethylamide group is added in the laboratory. According to Stoll, Hofmann and Troxler 98 , it has the following chemical formula: [molecular diagram omitted in this hypertext reproduction] Various ergot alkaloids have important uses in medicine, primarily as drugs that can induce uterine contractions, stop gynecological bleeding, and relieve migraine headache. The objective in the Sandoz study of ergot derivatives was to obtain compounds with the best therapeutic properties and least side effects.


Following the suppression of legal LSD use in the late s, Grof went on to develop a theory that many states of mind could be explored without drugs by using certain breathing techniques. Grof received his M. In he was invited to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur , California , and lived there until as a scholar-in-residence, developing his ideas. As founding president of the International Transpersonal Association founded in , he went on to become distinguished adjunct faculty member of the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies , a position he remains in as of [update]. Grof featured in the film Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within, a documentary about rediscovering an enchanted cosmos in the modern world. The holotropic is characteristic of non-ordinary states of consciousness such as meditative, mystical, or psychedelic experiences.

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