The Implications of Consciousness Research for Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy
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Stanislav Grof, MD



Abstract: Based on his experience from more than half a century of consciousness research, Stan will outline the radical changes that would have to be made in our understanding of consciousness and of the human psyche in health and disease to accommodate the revolutionary observations from psychedelic therapy. Without these revisions, psychiatry and psychology will be unable to genuinely comprehend the origin and nature of spirituality and appreciate the important role that spirituality plays in the human psyche and in the universal scheme of things. These revisions are therefore essential for understanding the ritual, spiritual, and religious history of humanity: shamanism, rites of passage, the ancient mysteries of death and rebirth, the mystical traditions, and the great religions of the world. Without these radical changes in our thinking, potentially healing and heuristically invaluable experiences (“spiritual emergencies”) will be misdiagnosed as psychotic and treated by suppressive medication. A rich array of experiences that occur on a daily basis in non-ordinary ("holotropic") states of consciousness and in connection with them, such as astonishing synchronicities, will remain baffling "anomalous phenomena." Once the necessary revisions are made, the use of psychedelics will become a logical and integral part of psychiatric practice.

Desired Outcomes for : At the conclusion of the activity, learners will be able to:


  1. Diagnose and work with patients who are experiencing or have experienced non-ordinary states of consciousness
  2. Communicate more effectively with patients who have issues concerning spirituality and religion
  3. Advise patients on the long-term effects and consequences of psychedelics for therapeutic and spiritual purposes based on published evidence-based literature


Stanislav Grof, MD, is a psychiatrist with more than 50 years of experience studying non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic substances and various non-pharmacological methods. He is currently Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, conducts professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and gives lectures and seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA). In October 2007, he received the prestigious Vision 97 Award from the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation in Prague, and in 2010 the Thomas R. Verny Award for his pivotal contributions to pre- and perinatal psychology. Among his publications are over 140 papers in professional journals and the books Beyond the Brain, LSD: Gateway to the Numinous, LSD Psychotherapy, The Cosmic Game, Psychology of the Future, When the Impossible Happens, The Ultimate Journey, Healing Our Deepest Wounds, as well as (with Christina Grof) Spiritual Emergency and The Stormy Search for the Self.


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