The Primal Mind

Exploring the primal roots of mental health

Baloney Detection Kit

with 4 comments

by Bruce Wilson

While doing some research on science versus pseudoscience, I ran across this great video: Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine talking about the ideal baloney detection kit – science. Ask yourself as you view this, are these principles being applied to primal therapy?



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May 7th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

4 Responses to 'Baloney Detection Kit'

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  1. Really good video. I think that the primal theory is the best one out there explaining how neurosis and psychosis happens but it doesn’t get attention.
    Unfortunately if people are aware of primal therapy at all, it is as a fad of the 1960’s and 70’s and ranks with things like UFOs and ESP.
    Primal theory is very well developed but it explains things which haven’t been proven to happen during the therapy.
    What I think is much more attention should have been given to proving that primal therapy is an effective form of psychotherapy. If that had been done it would be much more widely practiced, and there would be efforts put into researching the biology of it.
    Actually primal theory is much better than the competing theories, but that is of no use if the therapy itself has a low regard.


    8 May 11 at 11:16 am

  2. Phil, Yes, the theory is far more developed than the therapy and many people complain that their experience in the therapy doesn’t match the accounts in the books. So investigating the therapy more closely would provide observations that would lead to a more realistic theory. – Bruce

    8 May 11 at 2:42 pm

  3. Bruce, The theory might be accurate, but that would have to be proven. It has been attempted to put it on a scientific basis, but that hasn’t been achieved. It could happen with a lot of work.

    On the other hand, the actual practice of primal therapy can never really be scientific, in my opinion. How could it be when it is based on feelings? Adding blood pressure measurements and brain wave readings might help a little, but not much. What is critical is what the therapist says and does, and has the patient say or do. That can’t be scientific, I am afraid. It is based on feelings and intuitions on what will work or not work, based on experience and the degree to which a therapist has done his or her own feeling work. The client may be able to get to feelings because of certain qualities of an individual therapist. I have found that to be true for myself.
    I doubt the therapy will ever be able to successfully treat all cases.

    That the therapy can’t be scientifically practiced is due to the nature of the process and the limitations of science. Feelings can’t really be measured yet as far as I know.



    8 May 11 at 5:30 pm

  4. Phil, I’ll be addressing your points in my next post. Scientific observation cannot directly access internal, subjective states like feelings or intuitions, but it can indirectly access those states with accepted psychological questionnaires and observations. More on my post.

    8 May 11 at 6:17 pm

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