I just read your letter today. I was not expecting such a spirited response. However, after rereading my previous letter, I must admit that I did not really make my point clear. Let me try again with a more specific example.
I like to go out and have fun with my friends. I run into problems, however,
because I am often uncomfortable and don't say the things I want to say
and don't talk to the people I want to talk too. Sometimes even I get insuch
an anxious funk that I go home early.
Now in the period following a primal these problems diminish to the extent that I seem to myself to be a totallydifferent person. When a joke occurs to me I just say it without thinking about it. I joke around with other people more but in a friendly manner.
It is the time when I am feeling closer and more connected to other people.
Needless to say I enjoy these times immensely, but more to the point, when
I do feel this way I get the feeling that many other people feel the same
way but for them it is not so unusual. I don't get the feeling that I am reaching out to people and pulling them out. I feel that I am meeting them halfway.
And it feels right. It feels like it is the way that life is supposed to be.
Incidentally, when I spoke of the increased confidence that I have
after having a primal, I do not mean to imply that I feel like I am any
better than anyone else -- just that I am less afraid of rejection. Rejection in the
period shortly after a primal does not feel like rejection as I've known it before.
Perhaps this is because post primal I am less afraid to make a more honest
connection. I feel less like I have something to hide. I sense that many
other people are also not so afraid of a connection. That is why it is hard for me to accept the idea that almost everyone is as neurotic as I am.
When I feel good I feel like I have, in some way, arrived at place where
many other people permanently reside. Dennis, I am curious if you have ever had the same feeling. Anyway I hope this letter clarifies what I was trying to
say in my previous letter. At the very least, it is food for thought or fodder for criticism.
Anonymous in New York
+ + +
Dear Anonymous from New York,
If you want we can discuss all this furtherly in a private correspondence.
You can ask John for my email address.
The Top Of The Page
Dec 19, 1998
First, I would like to apologize to you for trying to
discourage you from publishing viewpoints of primal therapists
other than Janov's (See Archived Letters #1).
Secondly, I was wrong about the Janov's.
You were right about any primal therapist: "buyer beware."
I have followed your web site since the beginning and I'm
thankful that there is at least one web site in the world where you
can learn and exchange about the Primal Process.
Thank you and again sorry!
The Top Of The Page
January 14, 1999
I have found out the hard way through years of therapy and deep
hurts from being kicked-out with unresolved conflicts from three different primal centers, that no therapeutic psychological organisation or
business that has a LEADER IN POWER can be open enough to allow me to
grow at my own pace in a safe environment where therapists are not dependent on the paycheck controled by the leader.
You can call me a rebel, but I don't feel I have challenged those
leaders in a way that was unacceptable.
It is my painful experience that leaders in the primal world
and I hear from other psychological organisations cannot handle criticism of their contradictions or the triggering of their own old unfelt
feelings, no matter how smart or who they are or what knowledge or
theory they master.
I believe that my need for confrontation comes from the fact
that my father died before I was able to confront him with the abuse he
did to my whole family, so I unconciously react to lies and abuse situations in primal centers and elsewhere. I feel I could have been helped
in feeling those feelings if it hadn't been of the primal authority's
insecurity and their fear of insurrection.
I know I am not the first one who had been knocked about in the
primal world. The setting-up of an image of perfection and expertise
when reality is otherwise and the unwillingness of leaders to give up
power and be HUMAN for the greater good of the community, since each one
of us has something to offer in the pursuit of sanity and growth, to me,
plays a big part in the demise of primal practice and centers.
Ideally, I believe that a cooperative type organisation that
has real checks and balances would be best suited for human growth since
nobody is perfect, nobody should play God. Some do, and lives are lost
so they can stay in power and perpetuate the same insanity they were
apparently fighting. Sanity will not come from experts or techniques but
from allowing people to be, to express themselves, and to feel who they
Thank you John for allowing me to express myself.
+ + +
Thanks for an interesting and timely letter Denis. This is an issue which needs to be discussed by the primal community. Disruptive and confrontational behavior by patients/clients should not be open-ended, yet the zero tolerance of such behavior is not conducive to resolving authority conflicts which invariably are from early childhood.
-- John --
The Top Of The Page
February 9, 1999
My name is Anni and I live in Sweden. Iīve been doing self-therapy for a
couple of years, and I have two questions circling in my head that
*maybe* you, John or the visitors to the PPP can answer:
1) What do you do when the discomfort or feeling in your body urges you
to scream or make loud sounds - IF YOU LIVE IN A FLAT??? I mean, your
neighbours will be bothered! Is there a way to "get it out" in some
quiet manner? I have, in those situations, simply been trying to form a
mini version of the sounds.
2) Slowly over the years I have become more and more free from
addictions and gained more and more self-esteem, I even like myself
nowadays (even though thereīs still this tightening discomfort in my
tummy region). I now choose loving friends and donīt get so upset
But - how is this possible, since I never re-live any childhood
sequences? That is, I maybe feel the feeling, but I donīt see any
childhood scene before me, itīs just black. I have many conscious
memories, if I sit and think, but theyīre connected to thoughts like
"Oh, must they argue, itīs so boooring", and those are not re-livings,
are they? And, like I said, I never fully get "the sounds" out either.
Anni, thank you for the interesting letter. Concerning the first issue,
the solution is to construct a primal box. They are usually foam lined, have a fan for ventilation, receptacle for radio, etc. There are many versions. Some are really small rooms in which person and his buddy can stand up. Others are sit-up versions for solo use and others have very little height so that a person can only lie down. Some only cover one's head.
But what dimensions are popular? Peter Coldwell has written an interesting article which appeared in a number of primal publications. I tried calling Peter but his telephone had been disconnected. I'll be able to print his article in the PPP if I am able to get his permission. Look for it in the Publications of the International Primal Association section.
In regard to your second point where you state that the self-therapy has been
effective for you but you wonder why this is so since you don't "see" the scene during your feeling. I'm assuming that you don't mean simply "a remembering of a traumatic memory from the past."
Actually visualizing the trauma scene does not happen often. It has happened to me only three times in two decades of primaling. (See Three Visual Primals). Feeling the repressed feeling is what counts. Your example, of your mother and father arguing and you finding the scene boring would not be an example of a primal feeling. Boredom would not normally be traumatic. If baby Anni would fear that the arguing might get escalate and Daddy might kill Mama, well that would contain the essence of primal feeling! Being back there in your infancy, toodlerhood and early childhood experiencing or re-experiencing the trauma is what primalling is about. And you don't necessarily have to feel a particular scene. Sometimes the feelings are amalgamated and consist of material endured (but not felt in its totality) during a number of events with the same emotional content.
-- John of the PPP
The Top Of The Page
August 17, 1999
Sorry to clog up your letters page. I had my first primal, "Please Love
me!" (aborted) when I was 13, in 1960, which probably makes me the very first person in history to experience one! [I think not, John! - Editor - PPP] That same year my uncle saved my life when he offered me a cigarette to smoke, to quelch my anger.(Alice Miller) You could say I became a dead son/sun
- nothing but a hot cinder.
I saw Janov on his first visit to the Donahue show in 1970 -1? (I have his and the Institutes writings to about 1993.) I've never been in either a position to generate enough money for therapy, or to be in a quiet and safe enough place to try it again
- and groups have always frightened me because of the fickle way they betray their
I understand that primal is an ongoing process - and the mixed messages I've
been getting off your site leads me to conclude that for all my curiosity I'll never be able to resolve all the issues about what might be called certain incompetances surrounding my birth. Articles of theory analysis say I've crossed a threshold were it doesn't work (because of intellectualized incorporation of theory. - Janov)
My Gestalt comes from those haunting words my mother said to me in a sad tone: "You'r a lost soul." And reading the interview from Chris in the Denver Primal Journal section it says I've got 4-5 years of Primal misery to look forward to, if I start - the congruence there is that strong. P/H showed me why I made myself a Chef - the harsh inner life. My feeling is that of Doctor Morbius, in FORBIDDEN PLANET, (my favorite movie before M.A.S.H.), "It's me - and there's nothing I can do to STOP IT!" Self-fulfilling prophecies are a bitch.
I don't know where I'm going with this other than to say, I've emailed psychohistory about a needed detail to their evolution of social fantasy I call Psychogenic Pressure - and Primal calls, the Pool or just plain pain. Their definitions are the same and collaborated in their article about natural dissociations. I've received no answer.
The interview with Dr. Michael Holden is
so odd and rather unsettling because there is no reply, that I have even made a
graph of what I think is going on with these "transpersonals." Even deMause says there's a price to be paid going into this endeavor. (I met an editor of Prisoners of Pain in 1981 who told me about Holden's conversion - and then I couldn't believe it!)
What is it about me that makes me so OUTRE that even yooz won't give me a reply? I bet I'll hear, "time." Thanks for putting up with this.
P. S. Music to add to your list: "SAD SONGS" by Elton John