In the night between 14th and 15th of June, Christina Grof, wife of Stanislav Grof and co-creator, with her husband, of a technique of exploration of the unconscious called holotropic breathwork, as well as of various books in the field of transpersonal psychology and addiction treatment (some of them written with her husband, some on her own), passed away in her sleep, following the effects of pneumonia.
I’ve met Christina Grof twice, during the training modules held by Grof and the staff of GTT (Grof Transpersonal Training), and I received the impression of a very brave woman, who in her life did get very far in experiencing territories which are poorly known by mainstream western psychology, coming back from there with a load of insights which she wanted to share with her readers and with people who attended her lectures.
Christina did get very involved in two specific fields, spirituality and addiction, and the links between them. Christina, who had her own experiences in both fields, writes about spiritual emergency to describe experiences of sudden, unexpected contact with dimensions of reality that are not directly available to man, if not through a specific mind state which Stan Grof called non-ordinary state of consciousness. From the contact with these dimensions, a person can be greatly enlivened, and can gain access to new meanings about his own life, though he can too run the risk of being misunderstood by people he meets or already are close to him and cannot understand his inner experience.
Anyway, these are, in Stanislav and Christina Grof’s opinion, very valuable and meaningful experiences which, when denied or repressed, can be sought after using substances or situations that create addiction, such as narcotics, gambling, and relationships. On the contrary, addiction treatment, according to Christina, can happen in connection to the opportunity to experience the spiritual dimension in a protected setting, and to share it with people who can welcome it and provide an appropriate cultural framework for it.
Personally, I think that Christina’s work is well praiseworthy of being not only mentioned, but mostly studied from people who want to deepen the topics which I tried to describe above. Inside me lies a shadow of sadness and nostalgia, for not having been able to know her more, and gratitude for all that she tried to share of her life experiences.