Art: Think of it, in one hundred years of psychotherapy, and with thousands of scientific studies on psychoanalysis, hundreds of studies on EMDR, many on mindfulness, thousands on hypnosis… blah blah they have never come close to a real cure and a real theory. Why not? Because point by point studies will never get us there. It is a failure of imagination, the missing link in therapy. …Feelings. They are the missing link, and you can never get there through statistical studies, intellectual pursuits and philosophies. It is the antithesis of finding a cure. Yes I know about science and its importance, but I was discussing all this with a friend and I added up the hundreds of thousands of so-called scientific studies and it all came to zero. Think about it. How come?
Bruce: I was just thinking about this.
You see, the problem with mainstream science is not the science but the people doing it. It's not statistics, per se, but the analytical approach. Statistics are only a tool, which is why I don't like your concept of "statistical truth." I know what you mean, but statistics aren't to blame -- it's the unimaginative and UNFEELING people doing the statistics with their paltry theories of mental health. Someday, statistics can and will be used by FEELING people to demonstrate that primal works. Not that it's needed for patients.
But is it worth it? That's what I'm asking these days. Unless people feel, they'll never believe it, even with the numbers. Dr. Jaak Panksepp got part way there but who else in science recognizes your work? No one that I know. They're all in cognitive la-la land.
So maybe primal will always remain small, suitable only for those who recognize it. And smart people who feel will see the connections in biology and early life and the meaning of the imprint.
But I'm with you. It is stunning that no one sees this. They circle around and around it but never get it so I can only conclude that being non-feeling is its own form of blindness. You wrote about that in Primal Man and it's still true. Feeling people are like a different species.
Art: Wouldn’t you think by accident someone might come close? It is like there is a cure for cancer but no one is interested. Some years ago I got a letter from the Cancer Society asking for money for research. I wrote back saying I had no money but I could offer them a lot of help in finding a cure since I know a lot about it. No answer.
No one was even curious. After all, I am a Ph.D and an Academic Hall of Fame, blah blah.
So objectivity is limited by the personality of the scientist. Does that make it objective? In other words, there is this subjective side of science that can lead scientists astray. So there is no pure objectivity.
Bruce: You see, science is still a left brain activity, and for primal theory and therapy we desperately need the right brain. And to become a professional we first and foremost need our left brain. So what do we do? We ignore feelings and get on with our studies, using our left brain to get ahead and to get a diploma. We are like compulsive mice, we search here and there but never come up with the right answer. We never reach our goal because we never define what our goal is in the field of science and therapy; we don't know what that goal is. We know how to study this approach or that but we don't see it all in the macro sphere. If I say, "the goal must be feeling," the researchers suddenly go deaf.
Page: I agree with Bruce that it is the people. It's not the statistics per se, it's not even the analytical approach, it's the analytical approach without feeling that's the problem. No feeling, no whole, no truth. As scientific evidence of what trauma and lack of love do to us continues to grow and it becomes increasingly difficult not to put it together, theories will continue to get closer and closer to primal theory (and I think your writings provide a scaffolding that help that, whether acknowledged or not in our lifetimes), but at some point it gets personal and then it just boils down to access and feeling. I think "scientific" evidence of the effects of feeling, healing, that primal therapy works, is of value--I'd love for someone to put up the money for your research proposal--to increase the cognitive dissonance of the mainstreamers and help point the way for those who feel enough to sense the truth. But I wonder where it goes. The theory will be there but the feeling won't be; will it just help make people crazier, like my old friends? Add in power relations, economics, etc., I'm not optimistic that primal therapy ever gets broad acceptance, at least in our lifetimes. But I don't know, maybe way down the road, long after we're gone. Every little nudge we make might help.
I was talking with a work colleague recently, a top Wall Street attorney, hard as nails and intellectual as they come. His last name is a Swedish one (I'm half-Swedish) so I asked him if he was Swedish--turns out he's Irish, his dad died while his mom was just a few months pregnant with him and later remarried. We got to talking about the anguish his mother must have felt and how that must have affected him in the womb. He proceeds to tell me he's convinced that's the origin of his vision problems, all the stress hormones, must have been a critical period in optic nerve growth, etc. He goes on to talk about how his stepdad took years to adopt him and give him his last name and how he's always resented that and now wishes he didn't have it. No problem accepting the "development" side of Primal Theory, but if we had ventured into talking about laying down to cry and feel to unwind the past would have been a non-starter. Theory never gets you to feeling.
Bruce: Art, it always comes back to one major truth: what you can't feel, you can't understand, and to understand primal, you really have to feel the truth of it.
I often ask why there is no one who has gone through your therapy who has gone on to research it seriously. Perhaps it's because of the massive amounts of bullshit you must consume to get a PhD in psychology. Or perhaps it's because you must shut down your feelings to get through school. Or perhaps it's the fight you must wage against the cognitive paradigm that still poisons psychology after half a century.
There is no funding for unpopular topics so people give up. You can get a $ billion a year for studying brain mechanisms of addiction but ZERO for studying the real cause of addiction.
So in the face of all this struggle, it's not surprising no one has stepped forward.