Other than the testimonies of many patients about the reality of the Primal experience, there is also our research. We filmed those reliving early pain at the UCLA Pulmonary lab. While in the primal, reliving a lack of oxygen at birth, patients had what I call locomotive breathing. It sounded like a freight train and went on for over twenty minutes. The patients neither got dizzy nor faint. But in an experiment later with no reliving I had them breathe deeply for as long as they could. Within a very few minutes they started to get dizzy and were about to faint. So what was the difference? Why did heavy breathing make them faint in one case, deliberately trying, and not in the other where feelings were coming up to be fully experienced. That is, not trying for a feeling.
The difference was a deeply embedded real need for oxygen. The patients were back in their baby selves trying to keep from dying from anoxia. It was not an exercise directed by a doctor but a need from inside. And that was the difference. It told us why there was incipient fainting among all the research subjects, and it informed us about basic need. Those were not faked actions but something organic and historic. It demonstrates the difference between Primal and following directions from the doctor; such as “Tell your mother”, or ”Scream at your father for his punishing you”. Those are useless because they originate higher in the brain in non primal situations, and do not reflect the brain and time when the punishment occurred. Following orders and feeling one’s past are two entirely different things. They reflect two different brain systems at work; one is healing and the other is alleviating but not resolving. We must talk to the right brain; the one that does not talk but can feel. The mature adult brain cannot do it; the harder it tries the worse it gets because it remains alienated from the patient’s own history.
It is no different from patients who cry and cry over long periods in our therapy. Once opened up they cry for the thousands of tears they could not express at the time. And the tears are real as is the sound of the crying. Fake cries have a hollow sound with no affect behind them.
That separates Primal Therapy from other approaches. If we want to reach the patient’s early history and what happened to him we must engage the brain active at the time of the original trauma. This is precisely why cognitive approaches cannot resolve and cure. We are dialing in the wrong brain and trying to get it to do what it cannot do. Feel.