by Peter Prontzos
There are a number of serious problems with your characterization of primal therapy, but I will discuss only the most serious one. The author claims that a “major flaw” with primal “is that studies have cast doubt on the existence of deeply repressed memories.” The truth is the exact opposite.
For instance, Louis Cozolino, Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine has written, in his brilliant, “The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy,” that psychologists recognize two systems of memory, explicit and implicit. Explicit memory, according to Cozolino “describes conscious learning and memory,” while implicit memory “is reflected in unconscious patterns of learning stored in hidden layers of neural processing.” Psychodynamic approaches, such as primal therapy, are about the “exploration and uncovering of this unconscious.”
Both Cozolino and Arthur Janov, the founder of primal therapy, agree that early traumas can be “imprinted in the human brain by shaping the child’s neural networks.”
Most psychotherapists also agree that because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, it is possible to heal many of those old traumas by bringing them to consciousness in a supportive situation.
Moreover, Janov was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of trauma in infants and even in the womb. The article is a very sloppy piece of work, which shows no understanding or investigation of the science of psychotherapy. It does your readers a disservice by relying on old stereotypes instead of up-to-date research.
Peter G. Prontzos
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