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  • Cited by 2
  • Tobi Zausner, C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, New York
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2022
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

In those moments when focus on creative work overrides input from the outside world, we are in a creative trance. This psychologically significant altered state of consciousness is inherent in everyone. It can take the form of daydreams generating scientific or creative ideas, hyperfocus in sports, visualizations that impact entire civilizations, life-changing audience experiences, or meditations for self-transformation that may access states beyond trance, becoming gateways to transcendence. Artist and psychologist Tobi Zausner shows how creative trance not only operates in scientific inventions and works of art in all media, but is also important in creating and recreating the self. Drawing on insights from cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology and post-materialist psychology, this book investigates the diversity of the creative trance ranging from non-industrial societies to digital urban life, and its presence in people from all backgrounds and abilities. Finally, Zausner investigates the future of trance in our rapidly changing world.


Nautilus Book Award - Silver


'An instant classic. Such a deep understanding of consciousness and creativity has nowhere previously been seen. Laced with rich stories of creators in the act of creating, this book is an engaging read and invaluable resource.'

Alan Leslie Combs - Director at Consciousness Studies Center, California Institute of Integral Studies, USA

'In this fascinating work, Dr Tobi Zausner explores and reveals the deep connections between altered states of consciousness and the creative process which she perfectly call the ‘Creative Trance’. This book is not only deeply insightful but also inspirational since it is interwoven with her own experiences of altered states of consciousness and courageous battles with serious illness and difficulties in life. Thus, it is valuable to both scholars and general readers. I highly recommend the book.'

Huping Hu - Editor of the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, USA

'Creativity and changed states of consciousness have been discussed before, but never with the erudition and depth that Dr Zausner has provided her readers in this remarkable book. Her investigation spans multiple disciplines, and she shares her findings in a lively account that marks a milestone in creativity studies.'

Stanley Krippner - California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, and co-author of Personal Mythology

'In her fascinating and inspiring book, The Creative Trance, Dr Zausner takes the reader on a ‘vison quest’ exploring this expansive territory of consciousness and its significance both culturally and individually. She aptly describes how ‘the creative trance becomes a goal-achieving inner journey, a vacation with purpose’.'

Pamela J. McCrory - Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, USA

‘This is a beautifully written, rich, and full presentation of creative trance and abilities flowing from this state of consciousness. The focus on individual stories and exploration of extraordinary experiences and abilities is captivating. A joyful, thought provoking, and inspiring read!’

J. Kim Penberthy - Ph.D., ABPP, Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia School of Medicine, USA

‘How little we know ourselves. Dr Zausner advises us never to forget our inner world, which can shape creative potential and astound us. Numerous case examples include highly focused periods of artistic creativity in a dementia patient (Rita Haworth) and lifesaving acts of creative heroism that should be impossible (a mother lifting a vehicle with superhuman strength). Here is a unique and engaging look at creativity and altered states across our lives. We humans are more amazing than we know. Be prepared to see things differently.’

Ruth Richards - author, Everyday Creativity and the Healthy Mind: Dynamic New Paths for Self and Society (2018), and co-editor with David Schuldberg and Shan Guisinger, Chaos and Nonlinear Psychology: Keys to Creativity in Mind and Life (2022)

‘Before reading The Creative Trance, be sure to put on your seatbelt. It will likely profoundly change your understanding of how we humans think and feel, as well as provide you with deep insights into the lives of many famous people, ranging from Albert Einstein to Wolfang Mozart. A brilliant, deeply moving work that will help you think more effectively.’

Neil F. Comins - Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Maine, USA

‘Tobi Zausner takes us on a riveting, multifaceted exploration of this core aspect of human nature and potential that is as transformative as the Creative Trance experience itself. Our understanding of the creativity-consciousness relationship and why it is important just took another leap forward. The voice of the creative practitioner needs to assume a far more prominent role in the nature-of-consciousness quest, and this book helps us turn that corner. Let us continue to build on these foundations.’

Ed Sarath - Professor of Music and Co-Director of U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness, University of Michigan, USA and Author of Improvisation, Creativity and Consciousness and Black Music Matters

‘As the field of psychology struggles between its identify as either a science or an art, Zausner’s study, the new fields of NeuroArts, and research into creativity and the brain overcome old splits between science and art. In this book, Zausner identifies a way to clearly bridge both. As an experienced clinician as well as a researcher, she is also able to differentiate creative trance states from pathological dissociative states. The addition of neurodiversity is critical as Zausner legitimized the exploration and acceptance of new ways of understanding cognition and the word trance. This exhaustive book is highly recommended for both beginning and advanced professionals in the healing arts, as well as the general public. It should be on every psychology teacher’s reading list and available in university libraries.’

Ilene A. Serlin - Ph.D., BC-DMT, Associated Distinguished Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, USA

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