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A Series of Workings Using Stanislav Grof’s Methodology

A handout by Dave Lee presented as part of his talk on Psychedelics, Ritual & Time.

Dr. Stanislav Grof‘s methods of spiritual exploration and healing with psychedelic sacraments were extremely simple, and simply extreme. The client was given a very high dose of the sacrament, and virtually no external stimuli other than music. The facilitator / coach / healer took a smaller dose, and the session proceeded typically for about 8 hours.

The appropriate image is probably that of the Zen proverb of a young goose placed in a bottle; it grows too big to escape – how will the adept get it out, without smashing the bottle or damaging the goose? Well, it seems he just has to feed it until it gets big enough to burst out. Grof’s method is a pressure-vessel of psychonautic transformation, that which happens being entirely dependent on the myth-making capacity of the client.

I and a good friend did a series of sessions using LSD with this type of methodology a few years ago. Our goals were deep emotional healing and transpersonal ecstasy. In addition to the series of six sessions, we did work between sessions in order to:

Grof’s model works as follows: he started out with no particular structural presuppositions, but over thousands of sessions with clients he concluded that this work reveals what he calls condensed experience or ‘COEX systems’. These are what NLP Timeline practitioners sometimes call gestalts, associated chains of emotional reactions that extend from the present back along a track of the same response, right back to the imprint that generated the knot in the first place. Again, like timeline workers, Grof accepts the (at least subjective and therefore useful) reality of past lives and ancestral memory traces.

Grof further notes that the profoundest and most universal COEXs he observes are what he calls Basic Perinatal Matrices, or BPMs. He observes these appearing at the interface between personal and transpersonal states of consciousness. In other words, they are the patterns left by traumas around and during one’s own birth. These imprints gather massive chains of reactions around them, enormous and all-pervasive COEX’s, that dominate the client’s life until the opportunity comes to completely re-experience and re-imprint these primal, pre-verbal levels of foetal and post-foetal consciousness. Once this is achieved, the client goes into transpersonal ecstasy.

A very brief summary of the 4 BPM’s that Grof identifies:-


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