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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:40 pm 
Dennis wrote:

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With all the knowledge that has been presented by Janov, Miller and Van Winkle, how suppression of feelings has a negative effect on health, I wonder how you, Shelley, come to the conclusion that suppressing of feelings by pharmaceuticals or other systems is a good thing.


Putting aside your attribution of a conclusion to me that I never made, I would ask you, with true curiosity, what evidence you have that the ideas presented by Janov, Miller, and Van Winkle are fact.

I am not picking a fight. I am seriously interested in examining the proof.

Shelley


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:03 am 
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When I read Janov, Miller and Van Winkle, it confirmed largely what I already knew from my own and other people’s experiences. Now, some people have discussions about what is truth and what are facts. Those are philosophic discussions. I think it’s when a person starts to realize a lie from his life and cannot deal with it.

Maybe everything is a fact until proven different. You can’t have two (or more) conflicting truths.

But Primal Theory is very susceptive for abuse and misinterpretations. Van Winkle calls Primal therapy Re-Directing Therapy, which is actually a much better description because it has a build-in reminder. I see many times Primal Therapy being misinterpreted on John Speyrer forum. If people have experienced real pain in their early lives, and it’s repressed for numerous reasons, and they’ve created a whole life of defences, then they still want to protect their pain. They’ll find ways to avoid it. For example, if someone was rejected as a baby or child, it becomes later a feeling he or she doesn’t want to experience again because back then it was life threatening. Most of us seek out people with whom we don’t want to feel our early pain. And seek systems for not feeling that pain.

Shelley, do you think finding out the answer why you seek contact with so many people with severe problems, will give you new insights about yourself?

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I am not picking a fight. I am seriously interested in examining the proof.


Why would you connect a disagreement with the ‘threat’ of starting a fight? And do you sometimes pick fights with people? Or do you avoid such confrontations in life?

Dennis


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:16 pm 
Thank you, Dennis, for the feedback on my posts in the form of questions about myself. I will certainly feel my way through whatever comes up for me in response to your questions. I don't think that it would either further my process or our conversation for me to provide answers to your questions here.

In relation to primal therapy, I'm not interested in sorting out the difference between fact and truth. I am interested in looking at the evidence any of us might have that supports belief in primal therapy, in whole or in part.

I've experienced improvements in my life during the time that I've used primal techniques. During the same period of time, as I've examined the theory more closely, I've discovered little evidence to support the beliefs underlying primal theory -- starting with the basic theory of Freudian repression.

I understand the theory. I look for evidence to support it -- or refute it. As things stand, there isn't sufficient evidence upon which I can base a belief in the theory underlying primal therapy. Belief without evidence (otherwise known as faith) can be a dangerous thing. It's certainly one of the reasons why primal therapy is sometimes described as a cult.

Shelley


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:21 am 
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I have some thoughts on this discussion. The convincing evidence I find supporting primal are my own personal experiences with it. I have had a lot of physical-mental-emotional changes as a result of primalling, which to me are quite dramatic. Also, I have been able to make improvements in my life as a result. These changes have happened in accordance with Janov's theory. That is the most convincing kind of evidence for me.

Then there are the accounts of other people. My understanding is that Janov started with the practice of primal therapy and built his theory from there. What he had was the accounts of primallers to go by and his own personal primal experiences.

I don't think that there is an abundance of what could be considered objective evidence supporting the primal theory. Maybe Shelly, you own primalling has yet to be convincing enough to satisfy your skepticism.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:57 pm 
There's a faith healer in my city who is preying on the sick. The really disgusting thing is that some of the local news media is complicit in this scam. Last night, there was yet another news story about a "healing service" given by this man (who is a physician!).

People interviewed on camera testified to dramatic cures. I believe they were being quite sincere, and were completely convinced by the evidence of their personal experiences and the accounts of others.

There have been a couple of news stories questioning the healing powers of the faith healer. Some have complained that they paid him a lot of money, but were not cured. Believers have explained that the complainers simply did not have the requisite faith.

I'm not equating primal therapy with faith healing, although I find it valuable to confront the parallels straight on. Personal experience is not strong evidence of anything other than itself. (I believe the same is true of feelings -- also not strong evidence of anything other than itself.)

I am satisfied to say that my life has improved in many ways over the time that I have used primal techniques. I'm not willing to attribute the improvement to primal, since it was only one of many, many factors in my life during this time.

The only honest thing that I can say is that I don't know why I feel better now than I did 7 years ago. Sure, I can speculate about a lot of reasons why that is, but bottom line is that I don't know.

And in the course of my primal years, I have discovered little to support primal theory. I began the therapy quite intrigued with the theory. I wanted to believe. But the deeper that I dug both into myself and into primal theory, the more I realized that the evidence wasn't there to support the belief I wanted to have.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 7:48 pm 
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Actually a lot of scientific advance starts with observations. So personal observations using the senses are often a valid form of evidence.

Of course with psychotherapy we are talking about our internal states of being. No one else can truly observe what is going on inside of us.

Do you have any evidence which disproves primal theory or favors a different theory? Or is it based on your experiences?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:29 pm 
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Yes, the attempt to be "scientific" begins with observation.

However in observing the scientists in the so-called "scientific" method, you often see anything but.

The scientist from Harvard who first figured out that homocysteine levels needed to be lowered using folic acic because homocysteine caused arteriosclerosis, a generally recognized truth nowadays, got fired from Harvard when he first started propagating his point of view, and that was in the 90s, hardly the Dark Ages.

Well documented as it was, objectivity didn't rule.

Now, the closer you get to psychology and the social sciences, the harder it is to come up with data and methods of observation that are going to be universally accepted.

So, Janov can mount a mountain of evidence and have the backing of tens of thousands of primalers and, yet, those would who want to resist, will resist.

Comparing Janov to a "faith healer" is just such an example of the difficulty of convincing people by argument of truths.

It didn't work for the Harvard researcher in a harder biological science, and it won't work here either.

Most people have no scepticism about their beliefs and judgments and can't meaningfully verify or falsify their positions. They have no training in this and apparently being a Harvard trained scientist often doesn't suffice either.

Especially true in anything human because of the widespread misuse of the concept of the placebo effect.

The illusion that people understand the placebo effect is the grist for their mill of "it's just self-induced". Whereas the truth of the matter is that placebo has been confused with control group.

In actual studies involving a drug, a placebo (fake pill) and a control group, the placebo does no better than the control group. This means that the control group, which represents spontaneous healing, is just as good as the placebo.

In other words, the so-called placebo effect is minor or non-existent.


But having heard about it for years and having MDs everywhere right off every cure they don't like with "the placebo effect", people are able to mount a successful defense against the truth about primal therapy and a number of other things which would help humanity tremendously.

Chucky


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:28 pm 
Phil wrote:
Actually a lot of scientific advance starts with observations. So personal observations using the senses are often a valid form of evidence.

The observations may be valid, but to be considered valid as 'scientific' evidence it must be possible to reproduce the observations reliably under a defined set of circumstances.

Chucky wrote:
Janov can mount a mountain of evidence and have the backing of tens of thousands of primalers

I've counted the case histories in all the Janov books that I possess (all except Imprints). In total there are fewer than 90. Some extracts are repeated in more than one book. He also demonstrated that healing took place under conditions imposed by Professor Steven Rose in England, but that was only one patient. Where are the "tens of thousands" of primalers? Only a handful have turned up on either of the primal forums. Have the thousands you refer to publicly announced their backing somewhere else?

ian copeland


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:13 pm 
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When I was doing primal therapy in Berkeley in the 70s, we had a party where we invited all the centers to come.

There were about two dozen centers then. A hundred people probably went through each center during its existence as each center functioned for several years, three to four years being average as an impression.

Meanwhile in cities across the US such as Philadelphia, people opened their own centers and started doing the same thing.

If you add it all up, thousands, and probably tens of thousands of people have done primal therapy to some extent.

In the Bay Area now there are psycholgists who have been doing primal based therapy for decades and are in contact with other psychologists doing the same thing.

So, my guess is that in the thirty years in several dozen centers and in the offices of hundreds doing primal work, it is reasonable to conclude that thousands have undergone primal work.

Chucky


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:24 pm 
Chucky wrote:
it is reasonable to conclude that thousands have undergone primal work.

That may be a reasonable conclusion, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the success rate for primal is any different from any other therapy. You said in the "Definition of post-primal" topic that you felt the need several decades later to begin again. The number of people who have undergone primal therapy is a drop in the ocean compared to the number who have undergone psychoanalytically oriented therapies. Are thousands of primal success stories available somewhere for members of the public (or mental health researchers) to consider? That's the kind of big question that non-cultists ask.

By the way, was it the Center for Feeling Therapy (led by Joe Hart, Richard Corriere, et al) that you attended in the 1970s?

ian copeland


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:17 am 
A willingness to openly discuss what we do and don't know, and what we can and can't know, about primal therapy would go much further to gain respect for the therapy than trotting out thousands of satisfied primalers. That would simply make primal therapy look more cult-like.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:39 pm 
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"Make it look more cult-like"!!!??

What an absurd statement. You have to demonstrate results. That is only way to verify or falsify the premise that primal therapy is effective.

Not trotting out the examples or just being selective in the presentation of the results: that is cult-like.

Primal therapy is not a be-all, end-all experience. It is a way to overcome most of the trauma of our lives as children restoring aspects of ourselves that are essential.

It doesn't teach us how to think and it doesn't do the complete job of teaching us to feel and develop conscience.

It won't tell us how to vote or what to do with the various political crises in the world.

Chucky


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:41 pm 
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I went to a center on Allston Way in Berkeley. Tom and Martha were my primary therapists.

Tom was there when Lennon was there.

They broke away precisely because Janov seems to think he has the answer to it all.

He has an essential aspect of the answer to it all, but to act as if Jung, Reich ( who really was the one who developed feeling based therapy and body centered therapy) and others haven't got something to contribute that is essential as well is "cult-like".

Chucky


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:40 am 
Chucky wrote:
I went to a center on Allston Way in Berkeley. Tom and Martha were my primary therapists.

I don't recognize the names Tom and Martha by their first names alone. The Center for Feeling Therapy was probably the most publicised breakaway center with the largest number of members. There are some articles about other centers on the Primal-Page. I was greatly surprised to find a book about the Atlantis Primal Therapy Commune in Ireland in my local library. It was by Jenny James who was a client at the Primal Institute in 1969 - before The Primal Scream was published.

ian copeland


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:21 pm 
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Not trotting out the examples or just being selective in the presentation of the results: that is cult-like.


Agreed, and not what I was suggesting.

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You have to demonstrate results. That is only way to verify or falsify the premise that primal therapy is effective.


Sounds simpler than it is. What do you mean by "demonstrate results" and "effective"? I can find thousands of people who will say that they feel better after psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, and, as I said before, faith healing. And thousands who won't.

But none of this addresses my original topic, which was not about the effectiveness of primal therapy but rather about proof of the underlying theory. These are separate issues for me, since I am satisfied with using the techniques in my life but increasingly doubtful that the techniques have helped for the reasons assumed by the underlying theory.

This is significant for me because I'm aware that my feeling work is impacted by my beliefs about the underlying theory. Most obviously, if I believed that my pain was caused by birth trauma or a past life, that would affect the course of my primal work.

But to take it a step further, what if the whole Freudian theory of repressed feelings is simply wrong. There's little evidence that it's right. How is the feeling work that I do on myself impacted by my belief, or lack of belief, that I am storing repressed material in my unconscious that causes neurosis?


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