Jay Dufrechou, J.D. Ph.D.
After growing up in New Orleans, Jay attended Stanford University for a degree in English with emphasis in Creative Writing, followed by law school at the University of California, Berkeley. While working as a lawyer in San Jose in the mid 90s, he had his world upended with experiences of spiritual emergence, leaving him convinced that consciousness, which has the capacity to participate in transpersonal realms, is primary to matter.
In order to understand and integrate what was happening, Jay enrolled in the experiential doctoral program at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University), where he encountered the theoretical work of Stanislav Grof, which helped frame his understanding of his personal transformation as well as the paradigm shift happening in this time of history. While at ITP, Jay also experienced holotropic breathwork, which became his primary experiential modality for healing and understanding. Several experiences from those early sessions remain with him to this day as a source of inspiration and guidance.
Jay graduated from ITP in 2002 with a doctoral degree in Transpersonal Psychology, with his dissertation receiving one of that year's Sidney M. Jourard Awards for Dissertation Excellence from the Humanistic Division of the American Psychological Association. Out of this work emerged Jay's book, Moving Through Grief, Reconnecting with Nature, which may have been more appropriately titled, Grieving for Nature, Grieving for Self.
Unlike many in his generation, Jay did not explore psychedelics in his youth, but had the good fortune to have several courses at ITP with Jim Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys. Invited through synchronicities, Jay came within the last decade to experience the healing and transformational potentials of various psychedelic medicines with several communities and leading world facilitators of psychedelic experiences. Jay is particularly interested in the varying promises and perils of different "sacred medicines," as well as the important issues of set and setting, lineage, and cultural misappropriation. With Ryan Westrum, he is the author of The Psychedelics Integration Handbook.
Moving with his family to Montana in 1999, Jay developed a role as lawyer and mediator in the Montana workers compensation system, often working with people experiencing chronic pain and caught in the medical/insurance system as well as their own life issues. On the personal side, Jay enjoyed many years hiking and riding in Montana and spending time with horse, goat, dog and chicken companions.
Since 2002, with various periods of hiatus, Jay has worked as adjunct faculty for ITP/Sofia, mentoring students in the first years of the doctoral program; teaching Transpersonal Research Methods; developing and teaching a course in Transpersonal Research Ethics; and supervising dissertation research as Chair or other committee member of dissertation committees (often involving the work of Stan Grof). In 2020, Jay designed and taught for Sofia a course in Psychedelics: Transpersonal and Clinical Applications, as well as a 2021 course titled Sacred Medicine and the Psyche for the Retreat at Pacifica Graduate Institute program.
In 2007, primarily seeking support in a time of professional stress, Jay returned to breathwork, often joining a community of "breathers" in Calgary, Canada, followed by breathwork and facilitator training in the US and UK with Grof Transpersonal Training. Jay has assisted in the facilitation of holotropic breathwork workshops in the US, Canada, UK, India and China. He will teach and facilitate breathwork in Grof Legacy Project workshops as a certified Grof® Breathwork Facilitator.
Like most contemporary Westerners, Jay did not take astrology seriously for most of his life. This changed when he was drawn to study archetypal astrology after learning of the relationship between Stan Grof's Basic Perinatal Matrices and the transformational planetary archetypes. Along with Keiron LeGrice and other colleagues, Jay founded the Institute of Transpersonal and Archetypal Studies (ITAS) in 2016. Prior to the Covid crisis, Jay regularly assisted Keiron in a series of workshops in New York City exploring archetypal astrology.
Now transitioning into full time work for Grof Legacy Project USA, Jay is Secretary-Treasurer and a founding Director of the Project. In addition to teaching and supporting the infrastructure development of the non-profit organization, Jay's focus will include welcoming into the Grof Legacy community people interested in incorporating Stan's work into their own personal and professional journeys and inviting interested people into teams for application of Stan's work in numerous other communities and disciplines, including emergent research projects. Plans have begun for development of a database of nonordinary state experiences for considering correlations to the experiencers' natal and transit astrology.
Jay is the proud father of three children and two grandchildren living in various parts of the country. With his partner Rob, Jay currently divides his time between Montana and Los Angeles, where he hopes to develop Grof® Breathwork workshops along with colleagues. Jay also plans to work with new colleagues in developing breathwork workshops, and geographic centers for training and experiences involving Stan's work, in many other areas of the US. He remains awed and grateful for the opportunity to support the emergence and growth of Grof Legacy on planet Earth, in a time of crisis.