On the Limitations of Talk Therapies

Matthew Capowski

Staff member
I came across this quote by Stanislav Grof recently and felt it was sharing. It's a very relevant proposal for those dealing with issues of inward health:

In view of the observations from experiential sessions, any psychotherapeutic approach restricted to verbal exchange is of limited value and cannot really reach the core of the problems involved. The emotional and psychosomatic energies underlying psychopathology are so elemental that only direct, nonverbal experiential approaches have any chance of coping with them effectively. However, verbal exchange is essential for proper intellectual preparation for the experiential sessions and also for their adequate integration. In a paradoxical way, cognitive work is probably more important in the context of experiential therapies than ever before.

The powerful humanistic and transpersonal techniques of psychotherapy originated as a reaction against the unproductive verbal and overintellectualized orientation of traditional psychotherapies. As such, they tend to stress direct experience, nonverbal interaction, and involvement of the body in the process. However, the rapid mobilization of energy and release of emotional and psychosomatic blocks that these revolutionary methods made possible tend to open the way to perinatal and transpersonal experiences. The content of these experiences is so extraordinary that it tends to shatter the individual's conceptual framework, basic belief system, and the world view shared by Western civilization.​