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Implications of Psychedelic Research for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy
Stanislav Grof, M.D
Friday, April 21, 2017 • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM • East Hall
Continuing Education (CE) • Continuing Medical Education (CME) • 1.0 Credit
An additional Q & A will take place from 12:00 - 12:30 PM, immediately following the presentation.
Observations and experiences from clinical work with LSD and with other psychedelics have revealed an urgent need for a major revision of major basic assumptions underlying the theory and practice of psychiatry and psychology. The changes would involve a vast extension of the cartography of the human psyche, understanding of the depth of the roots of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, taking advantage of new powerful therapeutic mechanisms and the self-healing intelligence of the psyche, and recognition of spirituality as an important and legitimate dimension of the psyche.
Without these changes, our understanding of psychogenic emotional and psychosomatic disorders and their therapy will remain superficial, unsatisfactory, and incomplete.
Psychiatrists and psychologists will be unable to genuinely comprehend the nature and origin of spirituality and ritual, spiritual, and religious history of humanity – shamanism, rites of passage, the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, and the great religions of the world. Potentially healing, transformative, and heuristically invaluable experiences (“spiritual emergencies”) will be misdiagnosed as psychotic and treated by suppressive medication.
Mental health professionals will also have difficulty accepting the therapeutic power of psychedelic substances, mediated by profound experiences that are currently seen as psychotic — as demonstrated by the terms that mainstream clinicians and academicians use to describe them: experimental psychoses, psychotomimetics, hallucinogens, or delirogens.
Stanislav Grof, M.D., is a psychiatrist with over sixty years of research experience in non-ordinary states of consciousness and one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he also received his scientific training: an M.D. degree from the Charles University School of Medicine and a Ph.D. degree (Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine) from the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Grof’s early research in the clinical uses of psychedelic substances was conducted at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, where he was principal investigator of a program that systematically explored the heuristic and therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic substances. In 1967 he was invited as Clinical and Research Fellow to the Johns Hopkins University and the Research Unit of Spring Grove Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
In 1969, he became Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and continued his research as Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Catonsville, MD. In 1973 Dr. Grof was invited to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he developed, with his late wife Christina Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, an innovative form of experiential psychotherapy that is now being used worldwide.
Dr. Grof is the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and for several decades served as its president. In 1993 he received a Honorary Award from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) for major contributions to and development of the field of transpersonal psychology, given at the occasion of the 25th Anniversary Convocation held in Asilomar, California. In 2007, he received the prestigious VISION 97 lifetime achievement award from the Foundation of Dagmar and Václav Havel in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 2010, he received also the Thomas R. Verny Award from the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) for his pivotal contributions to this field.
Among Dr. Grof’s publications are over 150 articles in professional journals and the books LSD: Gateway to the Numinous; Beyond the Brain; LSD Psychotherapy; The Cosmic Game; Psychology of the Future; The Ultimate Journey; When the Impossible Happens; Books of the Dead; Healing Our Deepest Wounds; Modern Consciousness Research and the Understanding of Art, The Stormy Search for the Self; Spiritual Emergency; and Holotropic Breathwork (the last three with Christina Grof). These books have been translated into twenty-three languages.