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Grof, Stanislav, 1931-



  • Existence: July 1, 1931-

Biographical Information

Stanislav (Stan) Grof, noted psychiatrist, author, consciousness researcher, and pioneer of transpersonal psychology, was born on July 1, 1931 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to Stanislav (a chemical engineer) and Maria Petnik Grof. Heavily influenced by the works of Freud early in his studies, Grof was inspired to become a psychiatrist and earned an M.D. at the Charles University School of Medicine in Czechoslovakia in 1956, and a Ph.D. at the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences in 1965. Dr. Grof’s interest in the clinical use of psychedelic substances was spurred in the 1960s when the Sandoz pharmaceutical company approached the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, requesting that studies be conducted on LSD-25 in order to ascertain whether or not the substance had therapeutic properties.  Grof subsequently volunteered to participate in a research program which explored LSD as a tool for experiential training, allowing psychiatrists and psychologists to experience the “inner-world” of psychotic patients.  He eventually became principal investigator of this program, and has gone on to devote his career to examining the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances. In 1967, he was invited to Johns Hopkins University as a research scientist, and in 1969 continued on at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center where he served as Chief of Psychiatric Research and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry.  In 1973, Grof became a scholar-in-residence at the Esalen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to the exploration of human potential in Big Sur, California.  While there, he authored books, lectured, and developed Holotropic Breathwork, an innovative form of experiential psychotherapy, with his wife Christina. Dr. Grof is also the founder and president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA), and has organized major international conferences on transpersonal psychology. Grof’s major fields of research interest include therapeutic and heuristic aspects of non-ordinary states of consciousness, the use of psychedelics and non-drug techniques in psychotherapy, alternative approaches to psychoses, spiritual emergency and treatment of transpersonal crises, biology, brain research, and consciousness studies.  He also maintains interests in other non-ordinary states of consciousness such as shamanism, Eastern spiritual systems, mysticism, the rites of passage of aboriginal cultures, and near-death experiences. Dr. Grof is a Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and also teaches in the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. In October 2007, Dr. Grof received a VISION 97 award granted by the Foundation of Dagmar and Vaclav Havel in Prague.  The foundation’s mission supports cultural and social projects with the potential to bring meaningful change to the future. Dr. Grof has written extensively on LSD and its use in psychotherapy and about other methods and types of psycho-spiritual work.


July 1, 1931
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia; son of Stanislav Grof and Maria Petnik Grof.
Student at the Charles University School of Medicine, Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Participation in clinical LSD research and the study of artistic expression of psychiatric patients.
Psychiatric residency at the State Mental Hospital in Kosmonosy, near Prague.
Participating researcher in a multidimensional dynamic study of psychedelic drugs and anticholinergic delirogens in the Research Institute in Prague.
Outpatient Psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Clinic of the National Institute of Health, Prague.
Principle Investigator in a psychedelic research program at Psychiatric Research Institute, Prague, Czechoslovakia. Also involved in a team studying the mechanisms of psychogenic disorders and psychotherapy.
Completes postgraduate training at the Czecho-slovakian Academy of Science, recieves Ph.D. degree (Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine).
Clinical and research fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Chief of Psychiatric Research, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Catonsville, MD. Assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Scholar-in-residence at the Esalan Institute in Big Sur, CA.
Self-employed, conducting professional training in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, lecturing, and writing.
Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Institute of Psychology, Cosmology, and Consciousness, San Francisco, CA.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ralph Metzner collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 56
Scope and Contents The Ralph Metzner collection of articles documents the progression of psychoactive substance research, legality issues, and the religious or spiritual aspects of its use. These articles were not solely written by Ralph Metzner, but they instead represent the type of work that influenced Metzner during his career. These article files do not contain the personal papers of Ralph Metzner. Instead, they provide insight into the diverse sources that Metzner sampled while conducting his research....
Dates: 1958 - 2008; Majority of material found within 1960 - 1990