Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transendence in Psychotherapy (Suny Series in Transpersonal & Humanistic Psychology) Paperback – August 1, 1985
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. 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.
My issue with his book-reference to the review title- is that he repeats himself so much that reading the book became less fun than Chinese torture.
Also he would like to disprove many of today's traditional psychiatric school's findings, but he has a difficult time to built up a comprehensive argument to support his ideas.
I suspect that this is more a sign of bad penmanship than the absence of valuable findings in his field of study.
Still I would recommend the book, because it just might wake people up to a brave new world...
First, his review of where we are in this most comprehensive treatment of the scientific method and its contributions to our intellectual growth and development, may just be the most economical and coherent I have yet read. The same is true for his discussion of the other half of his thesis, the spiritual and psychological paradigms.
Second, even though he points out the flaws, gaps, missteps, and weaknesses of the scientific method, he refuses to do what most academics "pushing a theoretical cause" usually do at this point: They make the flawed scientific method an excuse for allowing them to then proceed in an "anything goes" approach. That is, they make it an academic license to engage in intellectual anarchy. No, this author doe not do that: he tightens rather than relaxes his criteria of enquiry. Touche to him on this very important point.
Third, he introduces a new expanded framework for a more wholistic approach to the scientific method that takes into account, sidesteps or goes around some of the existing flaws, gaps, and missteps. In particular, the ideas he suggests about how LSD should have been used as an analytic tool initially, still in my view should be implemented. The idea of a patient reporting to a therapist in real time, what is happening to him, is an idea whose time has come.
Fourth, in a heroic and much needed effort, he expands the framework of Freudian Analysis so that it now incorporates the work of those kicked out of the Vienna family for their heretical views. And here I mean in particular the important work of Otto Rank, Wilhelm Reich, and Karl Jung just to mention the more important ones. The way he does it is novel, skillful and satisfies all the criteria one would expect of an expanded Freudian framework, one in which many of the things left out on the spiritual side, can now find a comfortable epistemological home.
Fifth and finally, the author leads us up to the same frontier as the Quantum Physicists like Einstein and Bohm have taken us, coming to the same awesome conclusion: He does not flinch from the fact that in the end consciousness may be our only reality?
As a reader who did have a singular LSD experience when I was in my 20s, I want to voice a mild disagreement with the author's bias towards the automatic view that there is always something spiritual involved in entering the expanded LSD reality. While many things happened to me, the most important and startling was the sheer increase in power of my brain. Without exaggeration it must have increased a hundred-fold.
I had an exterior point of view just outside and above my normal body. I could attend to ten independent tracks of information simultaneously, including monitoring all of my internal body functions such as heart beats, blood flowing in my veins and arteries. I could even see my ideas as they formed and were being routed back and forth from memory, which I also could see from the beginning of my life (almost day-by-day) to the present. I could even monitor and evaluate the conversations of everybody in my space, quickly and quietly without them knowing. In an instance I had analyzed what they were thinking and why; what politics about our world is all about; solved a complex calculus problem which I had written down and brought along just for that purpose, etc., etc.
Always what I determined that the normal world was about was "fear-based" nonsense. In fact the only epiphenomenon that stayed with me the longest was how utterly trivial the basis of all our human interactions at the lower level of existence seemed to be! Not once did any ideas of spirituality or God or any of that nonsense ever come to my mind. When I return to a normal state, the only question I had was: Why could we not reach this exterior, much more powerful state of brainpower except through the use of illegal drugs?
This automatic bias towards spirituality, as if it is more than just a powerful metaphor is the only problem I had with the book.
The author began as an Atheist and ends as a confirmed religionist, even though not one of the traditional Western variety. In fact, to his credit, he sees Western Religion as not being spiritual at all but being secular, political and ideological nonsense -- as my own experience tells me it most assuredly is. But even so, I think even in the Eastern version "spiritual" is little more a handy metaphor than it is an epistemological reality.
Whether East or West, the proof of religion has to be in the pudding. Five Stars