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Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research
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Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A pioneering and revolutionary book that lays the foundation for a radical new psychology, based on an expanded cartography of the human unconsciousness. Famous for his lifelong research into psychedelic drugs, Dr. Grof constructs a comprehensive and helpful framework out of the bewildering welter of experiences triggered by LSD in patients and research subjects. Current r ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Souvenir Press (first published 1975)
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Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Maybe we have to be born with an interest in the origin of consciousness, where it resides and how it operates, I’m one of those people. No explanation garnered by science, religion, mystics, or from indigenous wisdom has ever fully approximated what I’ve seen in the world. Transpersonal psychologist Stanislov Grof’s first book, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research (Dutton, 1976) reveals many fascinating accounts relayed from his personal experience while conducting hu ...more
Thomas Armstrong
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest psychological works of the 20th century. Up there with Interpretations of Dreams (Freud) Man and His Symbols (Jung), and Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Skinner). Actually better than any of these. He lays out a view of human experience that is breath-taking in its grandeur. And what makes this so compelling is that it is built, not on human intellect (as with Ken Wilber), but directly from human experience culled from thousands of LSD psychotherapy sessions. His tripartite model ...more
Jackson Childs
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
At the time this book was published Grof had spent more than a decade studying the use of LSD in controlled, therapeutic settings. This book is based on his enormous experience with the effects of the drug in thousands of trials with hundreds of different patients, and also his careful study of the structure of those effects. For readers who are unfamiliar with the effects of LSD, this is an excellent introduction. Grof explains how the medical community's understanding of LSD evolved, and how h ...more
Vahid Abdollahi
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book out of curiosity to learn more about the transpersonal experiences associated with LSD, but I ended up enjoying the prenatal experiences the most. The book summarizes and categorizes many years of psychedelic therapy sessions, mainly in Czechoslovakia during the 60s and 70s. It provides examples of how LSD has been helpful in treating patients and, occasionally, how it has opened up access to normally-unaccessible parts of the unconscious. However, by no means, these ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Demonstrates the therapeutic potential of entheogens which was, of course, quickly stanched and invalidated by government. Dr. Grof was a Czech doctor who developed a fascinating four-tier hierarchy of LSD experiences that he believed linked to pre- and perinatal memories. This book includes a broad swathe of experiences from his patients. Anyone who's been there will identify... ...more
Richard Wu
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eagerly, eagerly do I await the day when what is to be contemporary science will vindicate the psychoanalytic theories of yore from their ignominious casting down by the replication-crazed, self-survey-obsessed "cognitive psychology" of current contemporary science, currently, thankfully, crumbling as we speak under the rot of its own pillars: its preening reductionism, its notions of significance… Bare emperors de facto—and soon de jure.

What this heralds is a "Tat Tvam Asi" increasingly "As abo
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked it as an insight into psychedelic research, while it was easy and possible.

(Personally, I think that the effective ban on psychedelic research is a crime against science and mental healthcare - given its immense potential. Sure, there are risks, but we routinely use drugs (as in: medications) of far worse side effects! For some reason, reading Grof felt like reading "Solaris" by Lem - on forsaken, unreal research.)

For many aspects, it is... humbling. It seems that visions/senses/experie
Dominika Raciborska
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent insight into how one could approach human consciousness. Grof shows how little of our consciousness is readily available to us and how LSD may open a new way of uncovering some of its, deeply buried and tangled with traumatic or ecstatic memories, essential pieces of puzzle.
Before last year's revelations of prof. Nutt and Robin Carhart-Harris (brain imaging showing the multitude of synaptic connections whilst on LSD as compared to normal state), Grof captures the intrinsic complexity
Laura ★☮☯
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very in-depth writing but Grof writes very informatively so his work can be easily understood. I read this over summer and it did take a little while but it was so enlightening. I would definitely recommend to any Psychology lovers.
Matthew Ford
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best psychology books I have ever read. Grof lays the foundations for a vitally important conversation that has already had a huge impact on the human species. A must read for anyone interested in the human experience.
Mick D
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
case studies and psychodynamic and blah blah, but fucking wow.
Dylan Clarke
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fascinating look into the unconscious frontiers of the mind through analysis of altered states. A real contribution to an area of research which has been neglected for far to long. Grof is humble and poses his findings as he experienced them in thousands of clinical LSD sessions which he participated in. The frameworks which he developed are far reaching and help to place these ineffable experiences within a cohesive system. Drawing upon a pleathora of disparate disciplines such as ...more
Willm Wilkens
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is just absolutely one of a kind and probably not comparable with any other book on the topic of psychedelics because of the immense practical experience that Grof has had over decades of research and LSD sessions. He describes the experiences and psychological backgrounds of his patients and tries to link everything together, but he still remains critical and rational about wether the Connection between the backgrounds and the experienced symbolism in the sessions make sense or not.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. This is squarely a book about research— not about drug experiences. Any critique of the research should consider the decade when this was written. Scientific research yes, but I certainly am not convinced about the connection of LSD exposed trauma to the birth experience. That aside Grav does invite critique and in his last statement invites scientists to examine his data. So from a validity standpoint this is super interesting. The phenomenal experiences described are compelling. W ...more
Tyler Fitt
Aug 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Written by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. He was one of the individuals during the 1960s that was able to properly experiment with LSD, using it in multiple sessions on patients to cure various types of mental illnesses. It was quite shocking to see the vast range of possible experiences under the drug. Grof mentions COEX systems which are systems of similar memories or experiences, he then goes on to say that LSD is like a rewind button and each session you will start with the most recent of that ...more
Rizwan Khan
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was quite the interesting book, well written and Dr Grof has a way of explaining complex concepts in layman terms with rich stories. The chapter on perinatal trauma was difficult to grasp but suspect with further re-readings will become clearer. I will definitely get more of Dr Grofs books!
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A tremendously interesting book that should be a staple for all individuals interested in psychology, psychiatry, entheogens, or consciousness. It is mind boggling that this was published in 1975. The current culture still has a lot of warming up to do!
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some of those anecdotal stories are ... far out man!
Kir 'Bear'
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Most interesting research ever
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Отлично! Сначала решила, что непременно обязательно надо принять лсд, а под конец книги поняла, что совершенно не нужно его принимать :) Рекомендую прочитать эту книгу.
Carlos Gameiro
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some strange and weird clinical stories here that make you wonder, as expected, about our unconscious and our memories and how that is all tied up.
Chris Stevenson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book written a long time ago about a practice that led to the healing of countless people, the results of which go unmatched to this day from both a clinical and scientific perspective.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marius Bagdonas
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book! The book overturned my understanding of LSD and psychedelics drugs. Some stories, examples or facts presented in this book are simply mind-boggling. Sometime you feel like reading a fantasy book, but it is not a fantasy book. The book is based on numerous of LSD sessions and detailed records of these sessions. The author is well known psychiatrist, one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology and a pioneering researcher into the use of altered states of consci ...more
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: serious acidheads
A wonderfully sober description of medical LSD research from the man who helped to bring it to the states. Contains some seriously scary patient illustrations.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, clear, and somehow grounded in the midst of what could seem like mysticism or madness. One could only image what this man could have produced if he was allowed to continue his research.
Nell Wicher
rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2013
Gian De Feo
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May 10, 2021
John Morgan
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Feb 10, 2018
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May 31, 2019
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Grof is known for his early studies of LSD and its effects on the psyche—the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. Building on his observations while conducting LSD research and on Otto Rank's theory of birth trauma, Grof constructed a theoretical framework for pre- and perinatal psychology and transpersonal psychology in which LSD trips and other powerfully emotional experiences were mapped onto on ...more

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