Biography - Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D.
Stanislav Grof’s professional career has covered a period of over 50 years
in which his primary interest has been research of the heuristic and therapeutic
potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. This included initially four
years of laboratory research of psychedelics - LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and
tryptamine derivatives - (1956-1960) and fourteen years of research of psychedelic
psychotherapy. He spent seven of these years (1960-1967) as Principal Investigator
of the psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in
Prague, Czechoslovakia. This was followed by seven years of research of psychedelic
psychotherapy in the United States.
The first two of these years, he worked as Clinical and Research Fellow at The
Johns Hopkins University and in the Research Unitof the Spring Grove State
Hospital in Baltimore, MD. The following five years, he held the position of
Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. In
this capacity he headed for several years the last surviving official research
project of psychedelic therapy in the USA.
From 1973 until 1987, he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute in
Big Sur, California, where he developed jointly with his wife Christina a powerful
non-drug form of self-exploration and psychotherapy that they call Holotropic
Breathwork. They have used this method in workshops and in professional training
in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. They have also worked
with many individuals undergoing spontaneous episodes of non-ordinary states
of consciousness, psychospiritual crises or “spiritual emergencies.” During
these years of psychotherapeutic research, Stan Grof has made the following
- Developed theory and practice of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and
described it in his book LSD Psychotherapy, which has been until this
day the only comprehensive treatise on this subject.
- Published over 150 articles and 20 books discussing the theoretical and
practical implications of modern consciousness research for psychiatry, psychology,
- Created a new extended cartography of the psyche that includes, besides
the biographical-recollective level and the Freudian individual unconscious,
two additional levels - perinatal (related to the trauma of birth) and transpersonal
(including the ancestral, racial, collective, phylogenetic, karmic, and archetypal
- Developed, with his wife Christina, Holotropic Breathwork (a method of
psychotherapy that uses non-ordinary states induced by faster breathing, evocative
music, and focused body work), and The Grof Transpersonal Training, an extensive
training program for Holotropic Breathwork facilitators that has certified
over 1000 practitioners in various parts of the world.
- Formulated jointly with Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, Sonya Margulies
and Jim Fadiman the basic principles of transpersonal psychology, a discipline
that explores the full spectrum of human experience and attempts to integrate
spirituality and new paradigm science. He received from the Association of
Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) on the occasion of its conference in Asilomar,
CA, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its existence, a special award
for his contributions to the development of this field. Transpersonal psychology
has been rapidly growing since its inception in the late 1960’s. At present,
it is being taught at several American universities and accredited schools,
has two special journals, and symposia at professional conferences. Associations
of transpersonal psychology also exist in many countries of the world.
- Attempted to provide a solid theoretical basis for transpersonal psychology
by exploring in his writings its relationship with various revolutionary advances
of new paradigm sciences.
- Founder and past President of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA). Organized jointly with his wife Christina
nine large international conferences of this association in Boston, MA; Melbourne,
Australia; Bombay, India; Santa Rosa, CA; Eugene, OR; Atlanta, GA; Prague,
Czechoslovakia; and Manaus, Brazil. (Click
here to read: "The Past and Future of the International
Transpersonal Association", published in The International Journal
of Transpersonal Studies (Vol. 28, 2008)
- Together with his wife, Christina, they were invited by Metro’Goldwyn/Meyer
as special consultants for the science fiction movie, Brainstorm, and
later for the movie Millenium. At present, Stan Grof is interested
in returning to this work in a project that would use the best of special
effects available today to portray various non-ordinary states of consciousness
in the context of movies with transpersonal orientation.
To read this Bio in Polish, please visit
He has performed a great service for us in drawing upon not only psychedelic
and holotropic breathwork data, but upon literature, cross-cultural studies,
ancient mystical sources, and psychological data in his profound articulation
of what we now know about non-ordinary states of consciousness.
- Richard Alpert, Ph.D. (RAM DASS), psychologist, spiritual teacher, and author
of Be Here Now and The Only Dance There Is.