Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy
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.