I figured some of those those in the California bay area might be interested. I plan on attending if all goes well. Czechoslovakian psychiatrist Stanislav Groff conducted research on LSD for use in therapy(pychoanalysis) he is also the originator of Holotropic Breathwork.
Here is a link to his web site:http://www.holotropic.com/
Also heres an interesting interview that professor Grof had with LSD discoverer Dr. Albert Hoffman:http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v11n2/11222gro.html
Before we start this interview, I would like to add a little personal note. Dr. Hofmann's discovery of LSD and his work, in general, have had a profound impact on my own professional and personal life, for which I am immensely grateful. My first LSD session in 1956, when I was a beginning psychiatrist, was a critical landmark and turning point for me and since then my life has never been the same. So this interview gives me the opportunity to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Hofmann for the influence he has had on my life. What I would like to ask you first has something to do with the way people tend to qualify your discovery of the psychedelic effects of LSD. It is usually referred to as a pure accident, implying that there was nothing more involved in this entire matter than your fortuitous intoxication. But I know from you that the history was somewhat more complex than that. Can you clarify this for us?
Hofmann: Yes, it is true that my discovery of LSD was a chance discovery, but it was the outcome of planned experiments and these experiments took place in the framework of systematic pharmaceutical, chemical research. It could better be described as serendipity. That means that you look for something, you have a certain plan, and then you find something else, different, that may nevertheless be useful.
And that is exactly what happened with LSD. I had developed a method for the synthesis of lysergic acid amides in the context of a systematic study, the purpose of which was to synthesize natural ergot alkaloids. At that time, in the 1930s, a new ergot alkaloid had been discovered which is named ergometrine, or ergonovine. It is the real active principle of ergot. The presence of this alkaloid in ergot is the reason why it has been used in obstetrics to stop uterine bleeding and as an oxytoxic. And this substance turned out to be an amide of lysergic acid.
Until the late 1930s, it had not been possible to prepare such substances in the laboratory. I discovered a technical procedure that made it possible and was able to achieve partial synthesis of ergonovine; I then also used this procedure to prepare other lysergamides. First came the modifications of ergonovine and one of these modifications, methergine, a homologue of ergonovine, is today the leading medicament in obstetrics to stop postpartum bleeding. I also used this procedure to prepare not so close derivatives of ergonovine, more different than methergine. And one of these compounds was LSD-25, lysergic acid diethylamide. The plan, the intention I had, was to prepare an analeptic, a circulatory and breathing stimulant.
Grof: Was there some indication in the early animal experiments that LSD could be an activating agent?
Hofmann: No, I made LSD because it is an analog of coramine, which is diethylamide of nicotinic acid. Because of the structural relationship between LSD and the ring of the nicotinic acid, I hoped to get an analeptic. But our pharmacologist concluded that lysergic acid diethylamide did not have any clinically interesting properties and suggested that it be dropped out of research. That happened in the year 1938. But all along, I had a strange feeling that we should again test this substance on a broader scale. Then, five years later, in 1943, I finally decided to synthesize another sample of LSD. At the end of the synthesis, something very strange happened. I got into a dreamlike condition, in which all of my surrounding was transforming. My experience of reality had changed and it was rather agreeable. In any case, I left the laboratory, went home, lay down and enjoyed a nice dreamlike state which then passed away.
Grof: Did you immediately suspect that this was an intoxication from the drug you were working with?
Hofmann: I had the suspicion that it was caused by something from the laboratory, but I believed that it could have been caused by the solvent I had used at that time. I had used dichlorethylene, something like chloroform, in the very final state of preparation. So, the next day in the laboratory, I tried the solvent and nothing happened. Then I considered the possibility that it might have been the substance I had prepared. But it did not make any sense. I knew I was very careful and my work was very clean. And, of course, I did not taste anything.
But I was open to the fact that, maybe, some trace of the substance had in some way passed into my body. That, maybe, a drop of the solution had come onto my fingertips and, when I rubbed my eyes, it got into the conjunctival sacs. But, if this compound was the reason for this strange experience I had, then it had to be very, very active. That was clear from the very beginning because I had not ingested anything. I was puzzled and decided to conduct some experiments to clear up this thing, to find out what was the reason for that extraordinary condition I had experienced.
Being a cautious man, I started this experiment with only 0.25 milligrams (the ergot alkaloids are usually administered in milligram dosages). That is an extremely low dose and I expected it would not have any activity. I thought I would increase very cautiously the quantity of LSD in subsequent experiments to see if any of the dosages were active. It turned out that when I ingested this quarter of a milligram, I had taken a very strong, a very high dosage of a very, very active compound. I got into a strange state of consciousness. Everything in my surroundings changed - the colors, the forms, and also the feeling of my ego had changed. It was very strange! And I became very anxious that I had taken too much and I asked my assistant to accompany me home. At that time we had no car available and we went home by bicycle.
Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful approach to self-exploration and healing that integrates insights from modern consciousness research, anthropology, various depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices, and mystical traditions of the world. The name Holotropic means literally "moving toward wholeness" (from the Greek "holos"=whole and "trepein"=moving in the direction of something).
The process itself uses very simple means: it combines accelerated breathing with evocative music in a special set and setting. With the eyes closed and lying on a mat, each person uses their own breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individual's psyche, bringing him or her a particular set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth is unique to each person and for that particular time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever alike.
Additional elements of the process include focused energy release work and mandala drawing. Holotropic Breathwork is usually done in groups, although individual sessions are also possible. Within the groups, people work in pairs and alternate in the roles of experiencer and "sitter". The sitter's role is simply to be available to assist the breather, not to interfere or interrupt the process. The same is true for trained facilitators, who are available as helpers if necessary.