Beyond the Brain

 

Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, New York: State University of New York, 1985.

Beyond the BrainBeyond the Brain by Stanislav Grof seriously challenges the existing neurophysiological models of the brain. After three decades of extensive research on non-ordinary states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs and by other means, Grof concludes that our present scientific worldview is as inadequate as many of its historical predecessors.

In this pioneering work, Stanislav Grof 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. Beyond this level, again, is the transpersonal level.

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.

Stanislav Grof
Stanislav Grof

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.


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