Recommended Reading

Our Top Four Recommendations To Learn More About Holotropic Breathwork

Healing Our Deepest Wounds: The Holotropic Paradigm Shift
by Stanislav Grof, 2012.
In 2007 Grof was awarded the “Vision 97” award from the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation. Vaclav Havel is the former president of Czechoslovakia (and later the Czech Republic) and his Foundation honors work that is “ground-breaking or even visionary.” Each recipient is asked to publish a book that represents their work and this book is the English translation of that publication. Grof included essays on what he believes to be the most important areas of his research – psychedelic research; transpersonal psychology; alternative approaches to psychoses; new insight into religion, mysticism and spirituality; Holotropic Breathwork; and the roots of human violence and greed.

Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy
by Stanislav & Christina Grof, 2010.
Here Grof explains the history and theoretical foundations of Holotropic Breathwork and provides a detailed account of the practice itself as well as practical instructions for how to integrate the experience into your life. He discusses his hopes for the future of Holotropic Breathwork and explains the facilitator training process. He also explores the therapeutic and physiological mechanisms involved and includes an appendix outlining common situations that arise in Breathwork sessions as well as their meaning and interventions.

The Breathwork Experience: Exploration and Healing in Nonordinary States of Consciousness
by Kylea Taylor, 1994
This book is highly recommended for anyone who is considering a Holotropic Breathwork workshop and wants to learn more about what they may experience. Taylor describes in very easy-to-understand terms the very basic theory behind Holotropic Breathwork and what to expect at an actual workshop including many participants’ stories and direct quotes. She also explores the role Breathwork can play in healing trauma and addiction.

Psychology of the Future 
by Stanislav Grof, M.D., 2000
Grof is a M.D./Ph.D. and started his career as a Freudian psychiatrist but became discouraged because he felt psychoanalysis took too long and helped so few people. He began to doubt the completeness of Freud’s understanding of the human psyche and later became a co-founder of Transpersonal Psychology. In this book Grof maps his understanding of the psyche and explains how current psychological and psychiatric theory, along with the materialistic paradigm of Western science, would need to change in order to account for the phenomenon observed in consciousness research. He outlines the “radical” and “systemic” changes he believes are necessary to our basic understanding of consciousness and the human psyche. Grof also discusses Breathwork and spirituality but the focus of this book is the impact of consciousness research on the field of psychology.

Other Books by Stanislav Grof, M.D.

The Holotropic Mind (1993)
with Hal Zina-Bennett
This book was intended to translate Stan’s work into language that is more suitable for a mainstream, non-academic audience.  Zina-Bennett was brought in to interview Stan and write this book to be the most accessible for someone without much background in Psychology or Transpersonal Psychology who wants to learn more about Holotropic Breathwork and Stan.

The Adventure of Self-Discovery 1988
Along with The Holotropic Mind, above, this may be the best book to learn all about the background and practice of Holotropic Breathwork and the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness.  Includes the unedited version of Stan’s famous “Extended Cartography of the Unconscious.” (If you have had an experience that you do not see listed in Stan’s cartography, please contact him! 😉

The Transpersonal Vision (audio) 1998
For those who want to really understand the origins and history and future direction of the field of Transpersonal Psychology — from Stan Grof’s point of view… this is an amazing set of cds/audio!  Includes many of his personal anecdotes and stories from all his experiences with the people involved in the field through the years.

The Cosmic Game (1998)
Some people emerge from Holotropic Breathwork and other non-ordinary state of consciousness sessions and share that they’ve had deep and vivid spiritual experiences.  Over the course of 45+ years, Stan Grof has been observing and documenting thousands and thousands of these experiences, and noticing the commonalities between them.  To find out what those commonalities are, read this book! (Hint: They are very similar to the basic theme of the Aldous Huxley book “The Perennial Philosophy” see below)

Spiritual Emergency
1989, co-edited by Stan & Cristina Grof
This is the book in which the phrase “Spiritual Emergency,” so commonly used today was first coined.  It is the book which is based on Cristina’s personal experiences, which began to open our culture to an appreciation of the fact that a very large percentage of people who are diagnosed by modern-day psychiatrists as having “psychotic” experiences, may in fact be undergoing a healthy and normal process of spiritual emergence.

The Stormy Search for the Self 
(1992, co-written with Cristina Grof)

Beyond the Brain (1986)
The most technical of Stan’s books, it is nonetheless one of the most comprehensive of his published writings.

Human Survival and Consciousness Evolution (1988)

Books of the Dead: Manuals For Living and Dying (1994)

Ancient Wisdom Modern Science (1984)

Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations From LSD Research (1976)
Stan’s first published book, the one based on his first twenty years of controlled studies of LSD-induced experiences.

Books About Spirituality & Addiction

The Thirst for Wholeness : Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path
by Christina Grof, (1994).

The Wide Open Door: The Twelve Steps, Spiritual Tradition, and the New Psychology
by Tav Sparks, (1993).