Petho Sandor

“Death does not exist, only the transformation of consciousness.”

Sándor was averse to any form of exaltation of his personality. In his extremely simple lifestyle, deprived of any ostentation, he valued his privacy. Nevertheless, his life story inspired admiration and respect in all those who met him.

Sándor was born in 1916, in Gyertyamos, which was part of Hungary at the time, currently Yugoslavia. He was raised in Also Gad, a city of intense intellectual movements and cultural events. It was probably from this vibrant environment that an interest in arts and music arose. He studied lyric singing and at one point thought of becoming an opera tenor.

Sándor grew in a stable and refined atmosphere, and later graduated from the Medical University of Budapest “Paz Many Peter,” in 1943 specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics. The beginning of the WWII brought a sequence of painful events that disrupted his, until then, tranquil life.

The advance of Russians troops forced the family to leave Hungary in April of 1945, in search of safety. On this journey out of Hungary, at a train stop in the countryside, Sándor debarked in search of water for his family, which remained aboard. Sadly, the train was mistaken for a military train and was intensely fired upon by the allied forces.

As the only doctor present, Sándor started to attend to numerous injured people, and tragically, the first two victims brought to him were his parents. In light of the severity of their injuries, Sándor said: “I can do nothing for them. Bring me the other injured people.”  After caring for the injured, he went to look for his parents, only to find that they had died. During the following winter, whilst living in a refugee camp with his two children and wife Marieta, she fell ill with pneumonia and passed away in less than a week. During that year, Sándor lost his home, his country, his wife and parents, and became a single parent for his two children aged two and three years.

At the time, Sándor worked for the Red Cross in the refugee camps. Left with no conventional medical resources due to the war scarcity, Sándor began to experiment with touches and gentle manipulations to the extremities of the patients’ body. He initially explored the effects of gentle touches in obstetrics, particularly in cases of circulatory problems – it was the beginning of Calatonia.  His goal was to alleviate symptoms in several conditions, such as phantom limb syndrome, psychosomatic complaints, pain, catatonic states, etc. It was in this intuitive and caring manner that he initiated his observations of the effects of gentle therapeutic touches.

The German soldiers many times requested his help as ‘the doctor who took away the pain, with his hands’. Sándor helped them under the specific condition that he remained alone with the patient, to protect his technique and to guarantee that he received the most precious payment at the time – food – to be distributed among the other refugees.

For the following three years after the war, Sándor worked in German hospitals where he treated poly-traumatized patients, with the same techniques (gentle touch, Calatonia), but now with patients of the psychological and neuropsychiatric wards. He treated post-war trauma and depression, suicidal ideation, catatonic states, among many other issues.

It was from those years of work experience in post-war hospitals that Sándor initiated the “multidimensional foundation” of his work, further amplified in Brazil:

“… (in Brazil) there was an opportunity to study the most recent research about reticular formation, the vegetative representations in the cortex, and the role of peripheral proprioceptive nerves. At the same time, much psychological material was gathered in Brazil by those colleagues who adopted the method, especially in clinical psychology.”

In the mid 50’s, Sándor taught Jungian psychology at the School of Psychology at Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (Faculdade de Psicologia da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo). He also maintained study groups for related themes from somatic techniques (Shultz, Jacobson, Reich, and Sándor) to various texts of Jungian psychology (translated by him from German and English into Portuguese), and Western Esotericism (Alice Bailey books and astrology).  Sándor was remarkably knowledgeable of homeopathy, although not a practising doctor any longer. He spoke fluently (and elegantly) Portuguese, German, Hungarian, and English.

He never accepted payment from his students of astrology and esoteric studies. Sándor explained that he could not charge for an education he received gratuitously from the family of Irene and Jozseph Buydoso, both educated in Western Esotericism, whom he met in the refugee camps. When they met, Sándor was already interested in depth psychology (particularly Jungian theory) and philosophy, and joined the Buydosos to study Western esotericism.

Married since 1985 to Maria Luiza Simoes, also a psychologist and collaborator, Sándor divided his time between teaching various groups of professionals and his private patients. A normal day in his life started at 6:30 am with his first patient, and ended at 9:30 pm with his last study group.  He usually spent every other weekend and six weeks of summertime in his ranch at Pocinhos do Rio Verde, Minas Gerais, where he recharged in contact with nature, working three to four hours a day in the countryside.

Curiously, in the beginning of 1991 Sándor announced in his study groups that he would have ‘an opportunity to transition’ (pass away) within a year. Always healthy, bright, with a light sense of humour and disposition, Sándor died in his sleep in January of 1992, at his ranch.

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