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Comment: Cover has a few small corners slightly bent, light wear all around edges, heavy wear on corners, several short creases, a large sticker ghost on back, several small scars on back, and a few dimples and scuff marks. Side edges of pages have a few very small brown spots. Bottom edges have a small light tan spot. Inside back cover is a library card jacket. A few pages have a few small brown spots, a few have some curling on two small corners, a few have a small crinkled spot, and last 2 pages are covered in notes written in pencil. Mostly inside is pristine!
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Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transendence in Psychotherapy (Suny Series in Transpersonal & Humanistic Psychology) Paperback – August 1, 1985


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Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transendence in Psychotherapy (Suny Series in Transpersonal & Humanistic Psychology) + The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration (SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology) + Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis (New Consciousness Readers)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 486 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (August 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873958993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873958998
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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 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 psycho-analytic 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.

About the Author

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, and Beyond Death (with Christina Grof). His edited volume Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science is also published by SUNY Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
BEYOND THE BRAIN presents the distilled essence of the lifework of Stanislav Grof, M.D.: the insights and conclusions he has come to as a result of his seventeen years as a
pioneering LSD psychotherapist.

The opening chapter explores the convergence of modern physics with ancient mysticism, and the resulting radical implications for human psychology, thus setting the stage for the rest of the book.

Chapter two, "Dimensions of the Human Psyche: Cartography of Inner Space," describes the stages a person passes through when undergoing a series of low-dose psychedelic therapy sessions; these stages correspond to increasingly deeper layers of the psyche.

During the first few therapy sessions, one relives childhood traumas. Subsequent sessions gradually deepen into a reliving of one's birth, and a confrontation with death. After many such death-rebirth sessions, one experiences the final ego death: a profound psychospiritual annihilation, followed by visions of blinding white supernatural light, with feelings of ecstasy and rebirth. All subsequent psychedelic sessions are transpersonal: embryonic memories, encountering deceased relatives, ESP episodes, etc.

These three levels of the psyche, as revealed by LSD psychotherapy--biographical, death-rebirth, and transpersonal--provide a working model of the psyche.

Chapter three, "The World of Psychotherapy: Towards an Integration of Approaches," describes and critiques about a dozen major schools of psychotherapy from Freud, Adler, and Jung through Maslow and the modern experiential therapies of gestalt, primal scream, and bodywork.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Joni Parker (cima@rmi.net) on January 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is the most marked up, beat up, and well-thumbed book I have. In my opinion, it's the most complete explanation and synthesis of all that has been studied and written about the philosophy of human existence and transformational psychology. It provides a big picture that clearly explains things no other book even approaches.
Because of my severe clinical depression, I've gone through the normal route of countless anti-depressant drugs and psychiatrists. At the end of my rope, I decided that I am the only one who could help me. I turned to books and my own intellect for help, and in so doing I discovered many wonderful books, especially "Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature" edited by Connie Zweig, "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" and "The Disowned Self" by Nathaniel Branden, "Inner Work" by Robert A. Johnson, and "Life Between Life" by Joel L. Whitton. In my opinion, though, Stanislav Grof's "Beyond the Brain" is the best book ever written for expanding one's consciousness so that we can see how far we can go toward discovering our awesome heritage as human beings and beyond. "Beyond the Brain" has been and still is a tremendous guide to my personal evolution.
I also use Grof's "The Holotropic Mind" for my study.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Yves Latorte on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Read it in 1990 at the age of 29 and was not yet ready to be convinced. Reread it in 1999, older, humbler and still ailing, and found it to be a work so absorbing, so obviously true, that I became depressed at how entrenched medical orthodoxy has been and may continue to be. This book rethinks virtually all aspects of human maturation science, paying crucial attention to the simple observational facts of birthing and how they vary individual to individual in contributing to a staggering range of lasting psychopathologies. The result is one of the essential speculative works of the 20th century. It became the key to my own discovery of long harbored and misunderstood neuroses, and marked the beginning of a long campaign of recovery and personal transformation. This is a massive, clinically-worded text for the advanced psychology reader that testfies to the fact that events of lasting developmental significance happen to many people before the dawn of ego and conscious memory(age 3-4). If you've exhausted all other modern medical strategies for healing without finding whats wrong with you, and are ready to open the door to the huge new world waiting, this is the book. Grof is a caring, brave voice that always allows room for every imaginable personal particular. While it does not provide any firm mechanisms which relate transpersonal phenomena to the biochemical level of functioning, it poses many questions crucial to further investigation in the realm of pure consciousness. The one book by Grof that enters the deepest, most complete account of his thought.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Joseph H Pierre on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first encountered Stanislav Grof in the late 'seventies at a seminar held in Pacific Grove, California. He was a featured speaker, and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement.

In this book, he speaks of paradigms--the model of reality that scientists work within, accepting certain basic assumptions. He points out that the Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm (a system of thought based on the work of Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes) is still accepted and the orthodox foundation of precepts in use in psychiatry, psychology, anthropology and medicine. He points out that physics has moved on to a new paradigm: relativity and quantum theory and beyond, while the previously named sciences have languished, and opines that it is time for them to re-examine their fundamental belief structure as well.

Grof said, at the seminar, that he was originally--in Czechoslovakia where he originated--a dyed-in-the-wool Freudian, until he began to perceive difficulties with that approach. He grew from there. He was one of the original medical investigators to use
d-lysergic acid diethylamide in serious psychiatric research, from which he derived some astonishing results.

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 no lightweight airhead, but rather is a highly qualified, credentialed and credible researcher. This and his other books are well worth your time, if you have the necessary vocabulary and the scientific background to benefit from them.

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 research in transpersonal experience evokes serious questions into such areas as reincarnation and the spritual side of the human being.

Joseph H. Pierre [...]
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