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Fig 6.18 – COEX Treatment

Text: 331 and 332

Stanley Grof developed Systems of Condensed Experience (COEX), a multilayered model of the unconscious explaining the psychotherapeutic effects of LSD. Grof developed four Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPM), which symbolize the therapeutic value of the psychedelic experience.

BPM I – The symbiotic unity of the maternal organism symbolized by a baby in utero with feelings of sacred and spiritual wholeness.
BPM II – Being caught in the onset of labor symbolized by entering a long tunnel where there was no escape. At an emotional level, being in an existential crisis with feelings of guilt, inadequacy, anxiety, and an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and hopelessness.
BPM III – The feeling of fighting for survival with a corresponding new feeling that the experience
was meaningful, symbolized by “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
BPM IV—The buildup of tension, pain, and anxiety released after the unsuccessful attempt to stop the process because of the feelings of impending annihilation. The result was an experience of ego death that destroyed all previous reference points of conscious existence. This was symbolized by rebirth and emancipation from the ego, forgiveness of previous sins, and a feeling of love, justice, self-respect, and a renewed connection to humanity.

It is important that therapists understand that BPM is not a linear process. For instance, if the theme of a COEX session was victimization, the focus was related to BPM II. If the theme was a powerful adversary or sexual abuse, the focus was related to BPM III. For very satisfying spiritual, transpersonal, and fulfilling experiences, the focus is related to BPM I and IV.

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