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Beyond the Brain
Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy
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Author(s) :
Stanislav Grof
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State University of New York (SUNY) Press
Beyond the Brain seriously challenges the existing neurophysiological models of the brain. After three decades of extensive research on those non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs and by other means, Grof concludes that our present scientific world view is as inadequate as many of its historical predecessors. In this pioneering work, he proposes a new model of the human psyche that takes account of his findings.

Grof includes in his model the recollective level, or the reliving of emotionally relevant memories, a level at which the Freudian framework can be useful. Beyond that is the perinatal level in which the human unconscious may be activated to a reliving of biological birth and confrontation with death. How birth experience influences an individual's later development is a central focus of the book.

The most serious challenge to contemporary psychoanalytic theory comes from a delineation of the transpersonal level, or the expansion of consciousness beyond the boundaries of time and space.

Grof makes a bold argument that understanding of the perinatal and transpersonal levels changes much of how we view both mental illness and mental health. His reinterpretation of some of the most agonizing aspects of human behavior proves thought provoking for both laypersons and professional therapists.

Stanislav Grof was formerly Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is currently Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute. He is the author of Realms of the Human Unconscious, LSD Psychotherapy, The Adventure of Self Discovery, The Holotropic Mind, and Beyond Death (with Christina Grof). His edited volume Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science is also published by SUNY Press.