A classic text in the field of energy healing, it is a great starting point. It describes in detail the structure and function of different chakras and levels of the human energy field, the so-called energy-consciousness system. It also contains descriptions of different psychological character structures (types), habitual ways of running energy and the most common energetic blocks. Importantly, it describes Brennan's understanding of the healing process and the importance of taking responsibility for one's healing. Finally, it considers how we can use our senses to gain greater awareness of our own and client's process, referring to it as high sense perception.
As this was Dr Brennan's first work, published in the 80s, it reflects her initial understanding and ideas, some of which have evolved and changed since then. In addition, some of the information provided is based on advice available in the 80s and is outdated by today's standards. Therefore, I recommend this book if you'd like a clearer understanding of the human energy field, while using your own discernment in terms of which advice to follow and what is no longer recommended (e.g. advice on how to clean your fruit and veg).
Dr Brennan's second book includes an expanded understanding of different dimensions, the healing and creative processes, based on her later experiences. While expanding on the auric dimension (e.g. interactions that can take place between people), in the Light Emerging she describes two additional dimensions: the so-called haric dimension (level of intention) and the dimension of essence, the so-called core star.
Brennan's model describes how deep down we all have a unique essence. However, as this essence is manifested in the physical dimension, in the world we are so used to, there can be distortions. Nevertheless, our essence, our true selves stay perfect and are full of unlimited potential. Healing can then be seen as bringing our essence via the haric dimension, into the auric dimension and finally into the physical. This view also helps us to have more compassion for ourselves and others, as we understand that everyone's true self is beautiful, even if it sometimes feels difficult to connect to that truth.
Dr Grof is a psychiatrist, a pioneer consciousness researcher, and one of the founders of Transpersonal Psychology. In Psychology of the Future, one of many of Dr Grof's books, he provides a comprehensive overview of his groundbreaking ideas, making it a good introduction to his work. This book outlines his understanding of the healing and transformative process, especially in relation to what he calls the non-ordinary states of consciousness (referred to as "altered states" by many others).
His ideas are based on his extensive experience in working with non-ordinary states, personally and with others, through the therapeutic use of psychedelic substances and a breathing-based method called Holotropic Breathwork. Grof's significant contribution to the field of psychology is his expanded map of the human psyche which includes one's memories of their birth experience, as well as the more Jungian archetypal dimensions, the transpersonal.
You will find a growing list of books on this page, together with my personal opinions and recommendations. I provide a summary of information outlined in the books, as well as a short commentary, as I don't necessarily agree with everything that these books contain. Therefore, this is a general reading list and as with everything, you will feel drawn more to some books than the others. You can access more info on each book (ISDN etc.) by clicking on the image or the name of the book.
The Ultimate Journey is a third book written by Robert Monroe, known for his research on, and experimentation with, out-of-body experiences. The reason why I am recommending his third book and not all three is that I find the first book Journeys out of the Body a difficult read. His second book Far Journeys contains interesting information and is easier to read. However, the Ultimate Journey contains Monroe's latest ideas and his evolved understanding of his experiences, including those described in the initial books.
If you have the time and the patience it makes sense to start from the beginning. However, the Ultimate Journey on its own is highly informative and will inspire you to ask the bigger questions in life, and perhaps start experimenting yourself.
In this book, Dr Bentall, a clinical psychologist, takes a critical approach to the current state of psychiatric treatments, especially the psychopharmacological interventions. His work has been criticised by some to be biased, and anti-psychopharmacological, causing controversy. Perhaps, this is to be expected if you question the status quo. In my view, his approach is balanced and grounded. Dr Bentall's work is based on latest research, providing information on which psychiatric treatments have been proven to work and those that need to be reconsidered.
His previous book Madness Explained is also highly informative, although more suitable for readers with an academic background. Similar and updated information is presented in Doctoring the Mind in a more accessible format, although in less detail.
You've probably often heard the terms mesmerised and hypnotised used interchangeably. Generally speaking, Hypnotism was developed by James Braid, a Scottish physician, in opposition to Mesmerists' ideas and theories. From Mesmer to Freud outlines the complex relationship between these two, and the heterogeneity of views within each movement.
It also provides a good historical overview of energy healing practices and roots of the field of psychology in general. Highly informative and comprehensive, it is a great start if you're interested in the historical background of psychological therapies, providing a context for today's state of affairs.
An easy read, I found the Shambhala Principle highly inspirational. Written by Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan Buddhist lama, you don't need an interest in Buddhism to enjoy it. The book deals with philosophical and psychological questions, adopting a practical approach. The reader is invited to consider the notion that the human nature is basically good, challenging the widespread view that humanity is evil and destructive - a viewpoint reinforced by news reports all over the world.
The basic premise is simple: by focusing on our own wisdom and sense of worthiness, and that of others, we help create a society that is based on goodness. While I can’t vouch for factual accuracy of all of the examples in this book, I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the ideas presented. I recommend the Shambhala Principle if you find yourself stuck in “catastrophic” thinking about the world, or if you simply need food for thought. Here's one: "it is dangerous to equate the survival of the fittest with the survival of the aggressive".