Stanislav and Brigitte Grof - Meet the psychedelic royalty, trailblazers & power couple

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Today’s show is all about meeting a legend called Stanislav Grof. Why “legend”? Simply, Stan was around when the first wave of psychedelic research started, but more than that, he was a thriving force in bringing psychedelics into psychiatry and helping to create a scientific base to explore psychedelics as a tool. Today, Stanislav is one of the most important sources for the new mental health industry and new psychedelic therapies. I talked to both Stan and his wife Brigitte, collaborators and partners of several years, and also because Stan had a stroke a few years ago, he feels more comfortable with Brigitte by his side. Honestly, I could not believe that this conversation was happening, the possibility to talk to someone from the first wave of psychedelics.

Stan is a psychiatrist with over sixty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness and one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology. He was born in Prague in 1931 where he also received his scientific training: an MD degree from the Charles University School of Medicine and a PhD from the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences. He was also granted honorary PhD degrees from the University of Vermont in Burlington and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, and the World Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr Grof’s early research in the clinical uses of psychedelic substances was conducted at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, where he was principal investigator of a program that systematically explored the heuristic and therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic substances. Essentially, Grof was one of the first doctors using LSD in psychiatry! In 1969, Dr. Grof became Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, one of the most important universities now researching psychedelics now. In 1973, he was invited as Scholar-in-Residence to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he developed, with his late wife Christina Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, an innovative form of experiential psychotherapy that is now being used worldwide.

Esalen is the famous institute in California, where all the great masters of consciousness were teaching (Alan Watts was one of them). Dr. Grof is the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and for several decades served as its president. Currently, Dr. Grof is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness in San Francisco, CA. In May 2020 Stan and Brigitte Grof launched their new training in working with holotropic states of consciousness, the Grof® Legacy Training.

More Stanislav and Brigitte Grof resources: Stan Grof’s website Brigitte Grof’s website The Way Of The Psychonaut (film) The Way Of The Psychonaut (book)

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