Dr. Stanislav Grof is a psychiatrist, chief theoretician of Transpersonal Psychology and pioneering researcher into the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness for purposes of exploring, healing, and obtaining insights into the human psyche.
Stan makes the point that western culture is very outwardly oriented toward the acquisition of material goods and status. When ones outer world is threatened or begins to fall apart the person is forced to focus on their inner world and may undergo a psychological crisis. He says that these crises are becoming more frequent as our economy and environment become less secure.
He goes on to say that in such cases it’s important not to apply “mentally ill” labels and just suppress the symptoms with pharmaceuticals. He states that the crisis may actually be an opportunity for growth and that the psyche has a self-healing potential if the person is supported in the correct way. He makes the point that our culture is not comfortable with non-ordinary states of consciousness and tends to pathologize them.
Stan believes that a large number of psychological crises could actually be ‘Spiritual Emergencies’ and that the number of individuals having these emergencies is growing. He feels like many in the Transpersonal Psychology circles that the well-being and even survival of our species depends on a shift in consciousness that a ‘Spiritual Emergency’ could initiate.
Do you think that many “psychological crises” could instead be opportunities for spiritual growth and transformation?
I would love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Grof’s ideas.