The Primal Mind

Exploring the primal roots of mental health

Who we are

with 6 comments

Bruce Wilson is a freelance science and medical writer based near Montreal, Quebec. He possesses an infinite curiousity about science, human nature, and naturalistic spirituality. He is driven by a desire to see a more caring, loving, compassionate and feeling world. His other blog is www.brucewilsonwriter.com

Peter P. Prontzos teaches political science, political psychology, and political philosophy at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.  He is working on a book about the human condition and another on primal therapy.


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Written by theprimalmind.com

October 2nd, 2010 at 2:47 pm

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6 Responses to 'Who we are'

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  1. Enjoyed your letter to the LA times. I did 3, 3-week intensives at Janov’s center. It improved my life so much that I began researching why it had been so helpful, when talk therapy failed me. The result of my research was a doctoral thesis and a book: Fear Memory Integration (i universe). I’ve been working with clients for quite some time, trying to advance this (mis-understood) therapy. I’d like to be connected with you and your network in some way…Jim

    Jim Pullaro

    6 Dec 10 at 6:55 pm

  2. Thanks for your comment, Jim. Happy to be connected with you. I would love to read your thesis and book and learn what you know about early memory formation. Is your doctorate in a scientific field? Psychology? Neuroscience? Are you connected with anyone affiliated with a university who might have the resources to conduct an outcomes study on primal?

    theprimalmind.com

    12 Dec 10 at 11:34 pm

  3. After having been an epileptic for over 50 years, out of which I for 35 years have been committed in varying degrees to Primal Therapy, I have reached a point in my life when I want to do something that could be described as a coordinated statement of my experience of my illness, epilepsy and the dynamic psychotherapy, Primal Therapy, which has had such a decisive influence on my life.

    What is epilepsy?

    One of the best sites regarding epilepsy on the Internet gives the following condensed statement:

    ‘Epilepsy is a neurological condition, which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. Sometimes, according to the International League Against Epilepsy, epilepsy can be diagnosed after one seizure, if a person has a condition that places them at high risk for having another.
    The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is unknown. The word “epilepsy” does not indicate anything about the cause of the person’s seizures, what type they are, or how severe they are.’
    What is Primal Therapy?

    The following definition is used by Dr. A. Janov at his website:

    ‘Painful things happen to nearly all of us early in life who gets imprinted in all our systems, which carry the memory forward making our lives miserable. It is the cause of depression, phobias, panic and anxiety attacks and a whole host of symptoms that add to the misery. We have found a way into those early emotional archives and have learned to have access to those memories, to dredge them up from the unconscious, allowing us to re-experience them in the present, integrate them and no longer be driven by them. For foremost time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.’

    After that I, during the 40-year history of Primal Therapy had been through its evolution from a promise of a quick fix of four months to today’s more scientifically appropriate and long-term treatment methodology, so I have no complaint to Dr. Janov’s current definition. It fits well into me.

    When I add up my many years of struggle with epilepsy, I would point out the importance of two facts; the Primal theory and then perhaps even greater impact of my access to Art Janov, the genius and innovator of the theory. They were a perpetual undercurrent when I experienced that my epilepsy had its roots in a complicated birth. In the wake of the birth process and epilepsy the brain developed, in order to survive, sophisticated neuroses as a means to numb both physical and mental pain.

    However, I needed more than Dr Janov and Primal Therapy to convert my epilepsy and neuroses into primal feelings. I needed a number of coincidences and exciting experiences outside of Primal Therapy to address the crucial moments. Dr. Janov gave me a language, a mental support, and he put words on my experiences. Thanks to his ideas I achieved a methodology to discover my dilemma and take me out of my prison of pain and become almost healthy.

    I also feel a need to emphasize that Janov’s genius has not helped others, who I have known, as well as it has helped me. The dozen people who I met in L.A. 1978 and 1979 failed to get rid of their pain, phobias and anxiety, and have almost exclusively perished and died before the age of 60 from cancer, brain tumor, suicide, etc. Many of them did not have the resources and the patience that is necessary to endure to experience the original life-threatening pain and be able to change their situations. Each had theoretical knowledge of psychology and therapies that far outshone mine, which was possibly one of the reasons for their failures. They talked and intellectualized when I acted, driven by my epilepsy.

    I personally have had the incredible fortune to maintain contact with Dr. Janov over 4 decades and to correct my own practices in line with both his and my evolution. I have, with my background as a change consultant being used to administrative guidance, planning and programming techniques, suffered when I saw how Primal Therapy remained a relatively small therapy run by a genius, but without monitoring instruments. It is within itself the embryo of something much more comprehensive within the psychotherapy care. However, it is outside my objectives to suggest how Dr. Janov should do.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Jan. Your last paragraph explains why we have created this blog. You write, ” I have, with my background as a change consultant being used to administrative guidance, planning and programming techniques, suffered when I saw how Primal Therapy remained a relatively small therapy run by a genius, but without monitoring instruments.” It is exactly those “monitoring instruments” that we are advocating in the form of well-designed outcome studies. As you point out, primal works spectacularly for some people, but others miss the boat and can get worse, sometimes much worse. I know of at least three people who have died an early death because they could not resolve their pain with the therapy and it was not for the want of a good therapist. It’s just that they didn’t respond. I imagine a future research program that will study these nonresponders and identify why they don’t benefit. Perhaps other modalities are needed, even pharmacological modalities. It’s not enough to say that primal therapy doesn’t work and then try to “debunk” it publicly as one person is doing. Dr. Janov talks about primal therapy being the first major science of psychotherapy. In my mind (Bruce), the real science of primal has not yet begun. At this point, it is a protoscience, rich with potential, but with much more scientific work needed.

    theprimalmind.com

    12 Dec 10 at 11:31 pm

  5. Are any of you two on Skype? If possible I would like to talk to one of you, or both, about the material re. P.T. and my experiences I am about to publish.
    Regards Jan Johnsson

  6. What I love about you both is that you are progressives, and that means to me less primal pain to the point of a real and alive sympathy with humankind and our planet. Thanks for all you do.

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