I left to go to Graduate school at a beautiful place called Claremont Graduate School. I got my Doctor’s degree there and, to my surprise, was elected to the Academic Hall of Fame. This from a guy who thought himself a failure. It was a tough school, with high academic standards. For the Ph.D, we had to pass tests in two other languages. I spent a summer learning scientific French, which I forgot the day I passed the test. I had several pals there, including a woman called Belle who in mid-term died of cancer.
I invited my parents to graduation in a very English hall with British trappings, very elegant. I invited them to give them one more chance to be happy for me. They never said a word, never looked happy and on the way there, my mother said that she knew more than I would ever know. We all forgot she was psychotic and delusional. I almost never saw them again after that day. They never cared. And I learned to get on with my life.
But getting on with my life has a very different meaning to me now. I know the deed is done, the imprint of the hurt is engraved deep in the brain and I will not shake it for a long time. Except with Primal which burrows down in my brain, searches out the hurt and, believe it or not, forces me to feel it again, this time with feeling. The pain was so enormous that I could only experience pieces of it at a time. I know that it will stay embedded until it is felt and done with; no escape. No baby can feel that. He needs a bit of maturity before he can. But biologic law dictates that “no child left behind.” We cannot leave behind aspects of the pain unfelt. It will stay and cause trouble. And for the pain living in the shark brain, the trouble can be fatal. I have relived it, and I can assure that it is beyond belief. However, it is now "feelable" and it becomes a feeling, not just of pain but of great relief. Otherwise our therapy could not work. I sometimes call it “a pain that does not hurt.” It becomes a memory shorn of pain and simply takes its place in our memory bank. So in a strange dialectic we have a feeling that when not felt becomes pain; and a pain that once felt becomes a feeling. What does that mean? It means that feelings are essential to development and good health. They are in the essence of things and cannot be ignored. It has to hurt to make us aware of unfinished business. It is also what all those symptoms and afflictions later on mean. Reminders of feelings foretold. We watch closely and do not allow the experience before its time. Early patients who are disturbed get into this monumental pain right away; here we see the precise source of their mental disturbance. Deep pain unresolved. It is right on top because compounded pain from later on has feebled the gating system and faltered in its job to repress pain. These patients need pain pills for some months to give a helping shoulder to the gates.
Back to my life.
I graduated in 1951 from social work school and then discovered it was not at all what I wanted, but I had been chosen for a special internship in psychology for an additional year of graduate school. I began treating patients. My chiefs were friends of or students of Freud, nearly all from Vienna with all that Viennese charm. It was a great experience. But it was strict Psychoanalysis straight from Vienna. We treated many stars of film because these chiefs were well connected with Hollywood. When Hedy Lamar came in, it was some surprise.
I then entered psychology graduate school. And did several years at Claremont before getting my doctorate. Every day I drove from West Los Angeles to Claremont, about a hundred miles, coming back at night to take care of my children. Then I found out that it was also not what I wanted. So what on earth did I want? Something that dealt with people and their anguish, not understanding how to do a two tailed statistical measurement.
That kind of psychology did not exist, so I invented it but it was far from an invention. It was a true discovery that was destined to change the world of psychotherapy and the treatment of mental illness. Concocted theories are intellectual, someone’s great idea, and often useless. Why? They neglect feelings in order to build some intellectual precipice. It was painstaking work, observing patients and then trying to figure it out, being careful not to contradict neurologic science.
I was living and working in Palm Springs. I was conducting a regular group therapy; all of us on chairs, talking. One patient, Denny, had just returned from New York, and was recounting the Theater of the Absurd he saw: a guy was dressed in diapers and sucking on a baby bottle, yelling out “Mommy! Mommy!” I asked, “Denny, why not do that?” He answered, “It is not available to me.” So I said, “OK but why not try?” “I told you, it is not available to me.” I pushed and pushed with no idea of why. He started softly, “Momma, Momma.” I yelled, “Go on!” and his voice got louder and louder, until he suddenly fell off his chair and was screaming it. He fell on the floor, writhing and seemingly out of control. After an half hour, he came out of what seemed like a coma, scraped the carpet with his finger, and looked quizzically at me as if to say “What on earth happened?” Then he uttered the words that shook me for decades: “I can feel! I can feel.” Neither of us had any idea of what happened. Or why he could feel. And what did screaming have to do with it? I kept the tape of the session and listened to it for days, trying to understand it. I then tried it on different patients, all with amazing results. I knew I was onto something, but what? It took me decades to figure that out. What was I looking for? Who had the answer? It is pretty strange to begin a hegira into the unknown and not know where you are going or what you are looking for. And more, how to get there? An enigma inside a mystery. As I learned more, it became even more mysterious. Why all the choking and suffocation? Where did it come from and why? Why couldn’t they scream? Why couldn’t I scream no matter how hard I tried? I began to learn in small bits when screaming develops, and how this lack tells me when the trauma occurred. I developed the theory of the hierarchy of needs.
Meanwhile, the man who did the Theater of the Absurd came to see me in Los Angeles. We had lunch and had a good time. A good man. He told me all about how he came to do the theater in the first place. He is now a professor at UCLA.
With the discovery of new research in neurology 50 years later, it all became clearer but it was in my clinical work that it was already clear. And it took all of those 50 years to even come close to perfecting it. But it has evolved now into a very complex theory and therapy that takes years to learn properly. So what is it all about? It was not the screaming, although I thought it was when I wrote a book that sold millions called The Primal Scream. It changed the life of so many and above all, it changed me completely. It gave me a whole new perspective on life and the human psyche. How did I learn? From my body. Everything I needed to learn was waiting achingly in my system, just waiting to be liberated. And boy what a treasure lay inside: my entire past life. But I learned that it cannot ever be hurried or else danger lies ahead. And what a danger that can be. It is neurosis doubled, and it is a bitch to undo. With no understanding of the three levels of consciousness, some neophyte therapists allow so much pain to emerge at the same time as to create overload and abreaction. All levels of the brain work in hyperactive fashion surging toward conscious/awareness. It is so powerful that it cannot be integrated and remains an alien, dangerous force, an intruder that needs access, but it cannot be let in with its naked and unadorned power before its time. We are dominated by evolution and must obey its laws. No shortcuts allowed.
The time could be months away until the brain says, “OK, I am ready to face it now.” And he does not seek out of the pain actively; he lets it come to him, infiltrating a bit at a time until it becomes part of him. But I am getting ahead of myself. What is it all about? I am glad you asked. What I learned was that pain can be embedded in the system with a force that becomes engraved and endures, perhaps for a lifetime. I call it Primal Pain, which can be massive, overwhelming and catastrophic. A force we have never imagined exists, and still it is very hard to believe that this kind of power dwells inside our system, wreaking havoc. A pain that can lift a patient off the floor with its strength and can do so day after day, month after month. It is truly ineffable. We have never seen it in history for one simple reason: patients have never been down in the brain that deep for reasons of survival. Once we see it over and over again in our patients and in our therapists, we begin to understand the possibility of cancer. It is a pain that evolves from inside, not outside. Its meaning is as yet inchoate but it soon becomes clear as it nestles into its berth and transforms into pain; that pain informs us of its meaning and its provenance. Without language, it speaks volumes of the extent of the pain. It makes clear why we took painkillers. As it slides away, so does the pain. The pain carries with it so much of our history and explains our ailments and compulsions. Without the pain it carries no information.
This pain radically alters brain waves, vital signs, biochemistry, and dozens of key functions. Blood pressure over 300. Heart rate over 200, and I could quote all this until it becomes unbelievable. Again, we could never imagine or now believe that such force lies inside, agitating the system. I have never seen it before and never heard of these numbers because, for example, I never knew to check the biology of my depressives, but when I did I learned what they were undergoing was tantamount to a body-fail and near death experience. It took me many decades to understand that, and I could only understand it after we treated many, many depressives and checked their vital signs all through their feelings sessions. I had to figure out what near death had to do with depression. And how we could reverse it. And why were they suicidal. Who could dream that life during gestation was key here? It would take more than a dream; it would take seeing many patients, observing their maladies and putting observations together with theory.
I learned the key to unraveling depression and many other afflictions. It was due to what I came to call The Imprint. That lack of love, an angry look of a parent, leaves a trace (now called methylation) that stays for a lifetime, doing ineffable damage. And psychotherapy as we know and knew it, never altered one drop of it. Psychotherapy is useless and unscientific and should be abandoned. And what we were taught in college was a myth that best be classified as fairy tales. Harsh? Sour grapes? I have practiced therapy for 60 years and learned what works and what does not. We need a minimum of neurological information in our practice to begin to understand how and why therapy does not work. We must know how the brain works. There is a brain that does not speak, so let’s stop asking it questions, asking it to explain when it does no speak any language. And if we insist on explanations we neglect answers given by that brain. There is another brain that can explain but it is far removed from the feeling brain which holds key answers to our questions. So it explains but cannot understand information from a brain that knows only music. And if that person stutters we can stop it if he will sing his information. This is not a joke. I have done it with stutterers. It seems like a miracle but it is only a different brain doing the work. It is the brain of feeling. And this is the brain we lean on in Primal. The brain that feels and has insight and sings. Until we get into using that brain instead of the explaining brain, Primal Therapy cannot possibly work. The patient will never know when he is close to a feeling and learn to take the piste to expand its capacity. What we want is to explore his inner depths. That will not happen if we remain on the top brain. It is the feeling brain that we have neglected and ignored. It has to join the circle of its friends and get back to hugging and kissing. Remember Janovian law: we cannot get one brain to do the work of another brain. Each brain has its function and it adheres to that. In that brain and only that brain lies the tears that need release.
Why have we ignored it? Because we learned early not to cry or be exuberant. We learned that feelings were bad and had to be kept in check. So they atrophied from disuse. I learned when I was eighteen about a famous lady who wore strange hats. When asked why she wore such strange hats she did not explain. She said “Because I like them.” I never know that was enough. In my world, we needed excuses for everything. You could just like something: what a revelation. And that non-emotional world carried on to therapy where feelings were an anathema. A world upside down. Implied in all this? Feelings do not count.
I left L.A. Children’s Hospital and went into private practice. I had discovered Primal in mid 1967. My first book came out in 1970. Very soon I got a call. I never knew that my publisher had sent The Primal Scream to John and Yoko Lennon for review. They not only read it but Yoko called to say that John needed help. I told her he needed to come to Los Angeles for therapy. He could not get out of bed. I told her I could not leave one hundred patients and go to England. And I hung up. My kids, who were preteens at the time, asked who called. I told them it was Yoko. “What did she want?” I said she wanted me to come to England and I refused. At this point I heard screams of “Are You Crazy?” My son said, “You call her back and tell her that you will come but only if you can bring your kids.” In those days my kids were kings, maybe too much so, as it turns out. I gave in, after talking it over with my wife. We left for the Lennon’s home in Tittenhurst, England. Way out in the country. My son was playing Frisbee with John in the morning and driving his electric cart; pretty heady. They were given tickets to music festivals and private limousines.
I am leaving out all mention of sessions to respect their privacy but there were some very funny episodes all the way. I recount this little bit because it was the height of Beatlemania and the kids had the time of their lives. It could only happen once in a lifetime. After a month, I had to get back to my patients and I left for home. The Lennons followed and continued the therapy for some time. Then one day John came to me asked if could I follow them to Mexico. He told me that a few months before he gave a concert for the Rocker John Sinclair, who denigrated President Nixon. John was put on Nixon’s enemies list and was being deported. He had just a few months of therapy and was really just beginning to open up. It was the worst time to stop but I could not go to Mexico, neither could my staff. We were overloaded with patients. I rarely saw him after his deportation. I should add that he and I spent some time in a rental home in Bel-Air, quite posh. And we talked for hours. “Tell me about God,” he would ask. I said, “You know that God was just an idea to keep the pain away,” and then he wrote: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." We talked about his mother. I would make a few comments and he would write, “Momma, you had me but I never had you.” And on and on until he finished his Primal Album called The Plastic Ono Band, which I think is the most revealing of music I know of. To say nothing that soon after he wrote a song which I treasure: Imagine. I was a musician who wrote music so how could I not be enthralled by John’s work?
David Foster and I wrote 36 songs, one of which -The Color of My Love- was recorded by Celine Dion and sold over eleven million albums. She got married to the song. That song contributed to my basic assets. It became part of a musical I wrote with David Foster called The Primal Scream, performed at a University theater to great success.
David Foster told me that he had a hard time writing with someone else, as I seem to know what he means by his music and he knows what music to put to my words. A song we wrote, Say my Name, was recorded by a wonderful young man who cried so much while singing that I had to keep my arm around him to allow him to go on. Oh yes, there is so much to write. He lived in his car near a police station, and he began to have delusions that they were going to come to kill him. He was mentally ill and was sent to a hospital near San Diego. His mental problems allowed him to sing like Sinatra, Elvis, and any one of a dozen singers. David Foster heard that the Queen was coming to Canada and he was invited to sing for her. He wanted our friend Warren to back him up but we did not know how to get him out. So Foster devised an idea: Warren would give a concert for the head psychiatrist of the hospital to prove he was OK. So he did that just for the chief, and he was discharged. He went to Canada and sang. He was so full of pills he could not sing well and basically it was a disaster. Not long afterwards he shot himself. I should add that when he was a child his father shot himself in the stomach in front of him. The loss of a most sweet and talented human being. He was a mass of feeling that he could not feel.
Speaking of a great human being: France, my wife of 43 years. She effectively runs the clinic and teaches the therapy. She spent six long years making the Legacy program, over a hundred videos of how to do this therapy for both patients and psychologist. A labor of total dedication to this therapy that also saved her life, literally. She is French and helped me open up and direct the Paris French Institute in 1980. Almost immediately, we were overwhelmed with applications partly because my book came out there and was Book of the Month. We had a five story building and our therapy was going night and day, until France’s health started to break down. She was losing her hair. A three hour special just came out on French TV and it seemed like the whole world was trying to get into our therapy. It is there that we began serious research and worked with hospitals and universities in France and England. These were double-blind studies in psychology and biochemistry. Our work was published in scientific journals.
A man came to see me and I showed him some films of patients reliving their birth. At the end he stood up and shouted, “I am vindicated!” It was Frédérick Leboyer, author of Birth Without Violence, a book that began to change the birth practices in hospitals and clinics all over the world. A “Leboyer birth” is a soft, gentle, non-drug birth where he took the baby right after birth, gave him a warm bath and played the flute for him as he was welcomed the newborn into this world… We became friends and I adore him. He saw in the agonizing reliving of birth in my patients what he was trying to tell doctors.
As France’s health got worse, I told her we were going to close the Paris Institute. We could not go on like that. She said that with all our patients needing help, how could we do that? I told her the choice was keeping the clinic going or losing my wife. No choice at all. We closed and moved to Los Angeles so she could recuperate. She did, and while I swore I would never open again, patients were waiting for us in Los angeles. Two years went by and we decided to open a small clinic in Santa Monica. Again, it was self deception because we found that we were full very quickly. Again, more research at UCLA and more writing in science. Then, a new development: countries like Russia were telling me that wanted to publish my book. And they did without my permission and without me receiving any royalties. Several major publishing houses stole my book, and because it was in Europe there was nothing I could do about it. So now we have a constant flow of patients from Russia and other countries.
There is now a plethora of psychiatrists in every country using my name and books to say they are Primal Therapists. I would not mind but what they do is phony ineffective treatment and patients get worse. I have no legal recourse. Right now there are people showing their photo, claiming to be graduate Primal therapists. And then their patients come to us to pick up the pieces. Not so easily done. Primal is not like other psychological treatments. It is complex, takes a long time to learn, and is based on science, not booga booga. Charlatans do not have time and patience for science. Their goal is money and profits. Who suffers? Human beings who desperately seek help. Even Steve Jobs went to someone who advertised Primal Therapy. Result were not good. He never had a chance with someone without a day of training. He paid the ultimate price. I can never guarantee that we will do better or cure someone, but at least with science the patient has the best chance to get well. We see so many patients now who have come from clinics using my name and who have been badly hurt and it is now our job to undo bad therapy and help them toward health. Caveat emptor.
There are all kinds of thieves in this world but those who steal our health and ultimately our lives, are the most egregious. We have no desire for a monopoly but we must protect patients from charlatans. The problem is that there are therapists with 20 years of experience who begin to practice Primal Therapy, saying to themselves, “How hard could it be? If Janov could do it so can I.” Oh no you can’t. I see the results daily in those who come to us for help. The problem is that those who went to Booga booga therapists never know they were harmed. They abreact and it feels like therapy. It is not until later, when they begin their chronic depression and it seems like such a mystery. We are plunging deep in the brain, something never to be fooled with. There is now no reason to reinvent the wheel. We have gone through thousands of patients over 50 years and have learned what to do, and above all, what not to do. If we harmed anyone, it was by inadvertence and trying to learn. No one has the right to experiment again on humans. With advanced patients, I often, after a session, ask if I made a mistake. It is their body and they often know better than me. Especially if they have been Primaling for a long time. This question has helped me learn a lot.
I often think of those addiction rehab centers, treating serious addiction with pure booga booga treatment. With all the accouterments of exercise programs, great food, lectures, massages, and patients not having to work. Who can beat that? Almost anyone who is willing to do the same thing with no therapy at all. Lots of hugs will do it. Why does this field attract so many pretenders? Now I know. Because psychology is not a science and cannot really help seriously mental ill patients. So of course charlatans step in. I don’t like being harsh nor sounding arrogant, but I feel I must protect suffering souls who do not know any better. And even that smells of sulfur, as they say in France (ça sent le soufre). A bit self-serving. But I have seen so much damage in the name of psychotherapy that it makes me heartsick. We have not taken any salary for many years, and do not practice therapy for profit. Years ago we made a profit in order to practice therapy. Now we make nothing and it is fine with us. But I do not recommend this approach to new therapists because they will not stay around very long. So if we don’t make a profit, what on earth are we protecting? Patients. I have never believed that health should be a matter of profit. It is far too precious for that. Alas, I am trapped in a capitalistic system. The way it turns out is we have been taught to abhor socialism and love free enterprise. But what I have seen in health is that it is socialism for the latifundium who control health, and capitalism for the poor. Too many have to cut down on their medicine in order to pay their doctor bills. And sometimes it is a matter of life or death. That can’t be right.
So my wife soldiers on, and runs the clinic in every way, something I cannot do. I know nothing about business and legal issues or accounting or what one needs to run a major clinic. I might add that she was one of the most beautiful women in France when we first went there, but it was not just her allure, it was her great intelligence to go with it. I have a bias but facts have proven me right. To produce a major work like the Legacy is one of intelligence, persistence and deep understanding of the human condition. Yes, she could have spent those years shopping, but she often insisted that it would be for the vacuous empty heads who are satisfied with their looks and nothing more. She is the complete woman, and a Frenchie, besides.
We lived in France for years, had mostly French friends and lived the French life. I did something that is so out of place for me. Thanks to Celine Dion and the song Foster and I wrote for her, I bought a boat; a 70 foot motor cruiser, and found out I was not allowed to run it without a French Pilot’s license. So I took the test which apart from my doctorate was the toughest thing I could do. It was only in French and the technical terms were difficult. How many degrees do you need to make this turn and how many toots do you need to warn other boats of your maneuver? And on and on. I passed and got my license and the right to go where I wanted. And we did, all over the Mediterranean to Greece, Italy, Rhodes, Sardinia, and Corsica. It was great and I learned about navigation. That reminds me that Senator Ted Kennedy came on board and we decided to take small boats to two different islands. We dove off the boat and all of a sudden there were patrol boats following him everywhere and not one for me. They were making sure of his safety. They had their priorities fairly straight. Alas, I had no worth to them. He had worth for the country.
Having lived and worked in France for years I became a Francophile. Their environmental protection laws are strict. And to this day there are words I use in French that have no English translation: engrenage. All of us should learn a foreign language. It expanded my group of friends exponentially. And what I read, as well. My world became larger and far more interesting. To go to the museums and understand the lectures was critical. To inform French doctors what was wrong helped with my treatment. And on and on. But the friendships we made were so engaging: bank presidents, actors, artists, scientists, etc. I worked in an English hospital for a time and met fascinating scientists and learned and learned, doing double blind research on human behavior. We had retreats all over Europe, in the mountains and at the sea. We all cooked together and rapped together and gave concerts for each other: magic. Some became lifelong friends.
I spent a good deal of time in England while living in France. I had a meeting with Diane Cilento, Sean Connery’s wife. The night before, the BBC called me and asked if I had ever heard about the Screamers. No, I had not. They described them to me and said they claimed to be my adepts. I said no, they are probably nuts and had nothing to do with me. That almost sealed my fate. At my hotel at 5AM there was a loud knock on the door. A guy in an IRA uniform shouted “Janov?!” He was in a combat uniform and looked ready for battle. He tried to break down the door; and he and I wrestled over keeping it closed and locked. I pushed him hard and closed the door and yelled to my sleeping wife to call the front desk. She tried but they had someone on the phone downstairs so we could not get through. The hotel called the police, 50 of them who surrounded the hotel. Now Cilento arrived and was also surrounded. She had no idea what was happening, but we ate safely. And then we escaped the hotel and checked in elsewhere. The police put us in a taxi and kept us on the floor until we had gone several miles.
It was a strange ambience in London. My friend Ronnie Laing, a well known psychiatrist, was giving hallucinogens to his patients and no one thought it was a bad thing. Ronnie was a sweet man but he did harm by not probing the effects of his drugs on patients. It was in the zeitgeist and became the thing to do if you were “hip.” They all paid a price for this; those with strong defenses were less damaged; the problem was that it attracted those fragile souls who were damaged. Meanwhile Ronnie concocted a new theory of the implantation Primal. That, he said, is where it all began. This without a single clinical trial. It was pure guesswork and fantasy. He invited me to one of his lectures. I thought it made no sense, so I made a comment about it. My companion said, “who cares, it is fascinating and interests me a lot.” One for the Gipper. I missed the point: it was pure show business and I could never compete with that. But, though he was a pal, I knew that he was delivering harm in the guise of show business and entertainment. He had already taken so much of his own medicine that he didn’t care. He knew it was helping because he believed it liberated him. He attracted some very smart professionals, none of whom thought about studying the effects of the drugs he was giving. When these people came to believe they were one with the Cosmos, they all thought it was a good thing and was truly liberating. It was what I call “institutionally validated psychosis.” All the shrinks thought it was good for us, so it must be. Oh no, it wasn’t. I would also like to believe I was liberated but it was far from that. The druggie’s minds were not only open but they became a sieve so that any nonsense became believable. When I write, sieve, I mean that literally, as the gating system holding back pain became fragmented and inefficient. “Leaky gates”. Constraints were gone but so was rationality.
Speaking of drugs, some of the inhabitants of Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, the drug capital of he nation, came to see me. Most were basket cases, mostly paranoid, some dangerous, all were overdosed on LSD and other hallucinogens. They wanted me to help them, they could not sleep, plus a myriad of other symptoms such as lost concentration, but I tried, to no avail. I did not know enough in those days to treat them properly. Now I do. Nightmare of nightmares, their use is coming back for their treatment of anxiety, depression and God knows what else. In my opinion, these drugs are more dangerous than heroin. I say this not because of statistical studies but because we have studied humans who have taken them. Now horror of horrors, there is a renaissance of electroshock therapy. Why? Because conventional psychotherapy is a failure. Instead of thinking maybe we need a new kind of therapy, and it does exist now, they believe we need new kinds of drugs. This is akin to voodoo. A new magic chemical to transform us. We transform people time and again but we do it based on a dynamic understanding of what is wrong. But there are those who have gotten help, they insist, from therapy. I say, it is a giant M… F… How can anyone get well when he has someone telling him how to live, how to make decisions, what to do about this situation or another. He is learning dependence, not independence. He is learning how to live someone else’s life, not his own. He is not learning how to stand on his own feet. He has borrowed a mother or father to make up for what he never had. But he needs to feel his need for a caring, helping parent, not to act it out with a stranger called doctor. The rental for those people is high and last and lasts. My therapists do not do that, telling people how to act. They learn from their history how to put themselves back together. What do I mean? What is missing? Pure unfulfilled need. That is what is missing. Therapy should never be doctor-oriented. I had that kind of therapy and I practiced that kind of therapy: useless. Nobody can tell you how to lead your life. It is your life, remember. Learning how to lead my own life ought to be enough.
I came back pretty messed up from my war years and sought out an Analyst for help. We analyzed my dreams for most of every hour. I learned nothing and certainly nothing germane to my life. But, but here is what I did learn from my own Primal therapy: I became fully conscious and have not had a symbolic dream in many years. I know what my dreams mean; no one has to analyze them for me. Why? My conscious and unconscious are very close, in effect they have merged, and their meanings are not deeply buried. That is why I now know what makes me behave the way I do. Having felt those deep needs and feelings, I am now in control. It is not even control. My unconscious is available to me. I have to laugh at the new, “Anger management” therapy. They are using lectures and insights from the top neocortex to manage feelings that are far down in the brain, untouched by ideas and words. Just one lesson in brain development would help them stop that nonsense. They need a therapy that deals with feelings. A therapy that deals with causes, deprivation of needs and lack of fulfillment. A therapy about deprivation, deprivation, and oh yes, deprivation. What is missing? Love, caring, protection, warmth and kisses and hugs. Feelings are not destined to be managed; feelings are to be felt.
I am again reminded that in the early years, my therapy attracted a lot of disturbed and dangerous people; strange phone calls, threats, so much so that I had to stay away from the clinic for a while and on and on. That was then. Now our patients are much more in control, taking much less drugs and needing help. The original applicants were far more disturbed than now. I call it having a garden variety neurosis, at this time. But quite treatable.
What we find now is that first line pain is very much there and imprinted but we know far more about how to deal with it. We are careful not to allow pains to emerge that cannot be integrated. That is a danger in deep Primal Therapy. It is a fine line we treat and we watch the sign posts so we do not intrude on lower levels of brain function before it can be experienced.