Psychology, Addiction, Transpersonal Psychology, Yoga, Spirituality
Born in Roanoke, VA, and raised in Honolulu, HI, Christina Grof was a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied with mythologist Joseph Campbell and poet Muriel Rukeyser. A mother and wife, she was a former teacher of art, writing, and Hatha Yoga. For many years, she was also a student and devotee of Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa, head of the Siddha Yoga lineage. After 11 years of marriage, she divorced her husband Winston Healy, principal of the Honolulu Punaho School, and moved to California.
From 1975 until 1988, Christina was in residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where she and her husband, Czecho-American psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, coordinated and led a series of 30 experimental month-long educational programs, as well as five-day and weekend workshops. In 1976, she started teaching, lecturing, and conducting workshops on various topics of transpersonal psychology in North, South, and Central America, Australia , India, Japan, and a number of European countries.
Motivated by her own transpersonal crisis (“spiritual emergency”) that took the form of Activation of Kundalini, she founded in 1980 at the Esalen Institute the Spiritual Emergency Network (SEN), an organization helping people in psychospiritual crisis to avoid psychiatric stigma and find alternative treatment. The concept of “spiritual emergency” has benefitted hundreds of people and the SEN has over the years developed filial branches worldwide. Christina and her husband Stan co-authored two books on this subject, entitled Spiritual Emergency and The Stormy Search or the Self.
After her 8-year battle with alcohol, Christina became very active in the alcoholism and addictions field. She wrote an influential book on the relationship between spirituality and addiction entitled The Search for Wholeness and inspired and coordinated an Esalen month-long workshop and two large conferences of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) that all shared the topic The Mystical Quest, Attachment, and Addiction (in Eugene, OR, and Atlanta, GA). It was an attempt to create a comprehensive treatment program for alcoholism and addictions by bringing together the Twelve Step Programs with their success in treating addictions and transpersonal psychology legitimizing spirituality by bringing for it scientific support.
Christina participated with her husband in the founding of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and co-coordinated with him and participated in a number of large international professional conferences of this organization - in Boston, MA; Melbourne, Australia; Bombay, India; Davos, Switzerland; Kyoto, Japan; Santa Rosa, CA; Santa Clara, CA, Killarney, Ireland; Eugene, OR; Atlanta, GA; Prague, Czechoslovakia; Santa Clara, CA; Manaos, Brazil; and Palm Springs, CA. She taught at professional training programs in the United States and Europe, and training sessions for the staff at Sierra Tucson, an addictions treatment facility in Tucson, Arizona. In her last few years, she focused on writing and lecturing.
Christina is the author of The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path, the auto-biographical memoir The Eggshell Landing: Love, Death and Forgiveness in Hawaii; Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis; The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide To Personal Growth Through Transformational Crisis; Beyond Death: The Gates of Consciousness; and Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy (the last four are co-written with her husband)
These books have been translated into many languages. Some of Christina’s published articles have appeared in Crossroads: The Quest for Contemporary Rites of Passage (Louise Mahdi, Nancy Christopher, and Michael Meade, Eds., Open Court, 1997), Common Boundary, the Re-Vision Journal, the Spiritual Emergence Network Journal, Lotus Journal, and Honolulu Magazine.
Christina was interviewed on a number of radio and television stations nationally and internationally and was the subject of many videos and newspaper and magazine articles. She was also a consultant for special effects in the MGM science fiction film, Brainstorm (1982), directed by John Foreman and starring Natalie Wood, Christopher Walken, Louise Fletcher, and Cliff Robertson, and in the 20th Century Fox science fiction movie Millenium. (1989), directed by Michael Anderson and starring Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd. At the time of her death, she was working on a book of her paintings.