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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:07 pm 
Curtis Knecht's article reflects on an era in which the cultural climate was different. There was a generation gap which led many young people to experiment with communal living. Among those who had been through primal therapy, some set up primal communes - where primalling was not only part of everyday life, it was also part of a belief system about building a better world. Times have changed. Young people are less adventurous. Primal therapy doesn't have a high profile anymore. It's helpful for some people, but not everyone.

As Shelley says, the article might work as a wake-up call to anyone who has been stuck for years in a cycle of endless primalling. The original reason primal therapy became popular was because Janov promised it was a quick cure. He doesn't claim that anymore, and maybe that's why his recent books haven't sold well. He seems to be having difficulty getting a publishing deal for his latest manuscripts. The science that supports his theory (e.g. books like "21st Century Brain" and "A General Theory of Love") emphasises the need for a supportive therapeutic relationship, not specific techniques. Theresa Sheppard Alexander's "Facing the Wolf" emphasises the therapeutic relationship too. And she was director of the New York Primal Institute. I posted a link to an article about therapy outcomes on the old message board. The authors say that more than 40 years of outcome research makes it clear that...
Quote:
"the differences between the various models – much promoted by the developers and marketers of the different approaches – can not account for the effectiveness of treatment. Rather, the mountain of evidence for equivalent outcomes makes it clear that the similarities rather than differences between models account for the effectiveness of psychotherapy."

These are the important common factors they identified...
  • 40% - extratherapeutic (what happens outside the therapy hour, I guess)
  • 30% - the quality of the relationship with the therapist
  • 15% - placebo, hope, and/or expectancy
  • 15% - structure, model, and/or technique


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:08 pm 
Hi Mojo,

thanks for your reply!
You wrote:" Primal therapy doesn't have a high profile anymore. It's helpful for some people, but not everyone."
Yes, it isn?t that popular than it was before, but the theory of neurosis and pain has not changed. So there will be no other way as to deal with ones pain to get rid of it (and ones symptoms). I agree with Janov in this important point.


As Shelley says, the article might work as a wake-up call to anyone who has been stuck for years in a cycle of endless primalling.
For me it is an important information because it confirms my picture of the first years. I understand the development of Janovs ideas, which I also found in his books (also between the lines!)


The science that supports his theory (e.g. books like "21st Century Brain" and "A General Theory of Love") emphasises the need for a supportive therapeutic relationship, not specific techniques. Theresa Sheppard Alexander's "Facing the Wolf" emphasises the therapeutic relationship too. And she was director of the New York Primal Institute.
A supportive relationship is important and could help to start feeling old pain.


The authors say that more than 40 years of outcome research makes it clear that...[quote]"the differences between the various models – much promoted by the developers and marketers of the different approaches – can not account for the effectiveness of treatment.

Hm, I am sceptical about such a research and about effectiveness of treatment. I have read a lot of mainstream psycho bubble that could not convince me with less concretely states. The most statements about psychotherapy I have found in books or articles are wrong or missing the important points.

Best regards
salago


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:09 pm 
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Hm, I am sceptical about such a research and about effectiveness of treatment.

Janov mentions in "New Primal Scream" that Professor Steven Rose detected biochemical improvements in a patient after 6 months of primal therapy. He also said there would be follow up research to compare it with other therapy methods. On the PPP message board someone mentioned that Professor Rose had written about the follow up research in one of his books. I browsed through it in a bookstore. Professor Rose said he obtained similar results with other therapy methods. There was only one page about the therapy research with Janov, and the rest was not easy to read -- too many long convoluted sentences. I didn't buy it. Maybe there's more in "The 21st Century Brain" by Rose, but I think "A General Theory of Love" might be more interesting.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:10 pm 
Hi Mojo,

you wrote: Janov mentions in "New Primal Scream" that Professor Steven Rose detected biochemical improvements in a patient after 6 months of primal therapy.
Yes, that is an important fact. And he found out, that it is CRYING which is healing. I have done a little "research" on my own and I found a few other methods and case examples which confirm this fact, that tears are healing. Even without having a primal, even without a therapist there is improvement (e.g. body growth ).

I am interested in results not especially in neuro-science. But it could be of interest, if there are other methods with similar results. But the Healing-Key is crying.

In "New primal scream" Janov wrote, that there is only improvement, when there is a deep crying, which sounds like a baby. I found this not to be true. Of course deep crying is more effective, but normal crying can bring results, too. But that is only a little deviation in theory.


Maybe there's more in "The 21st Century Brain" by Rose, but I think "A General Theory of Love" might be more interesting.
If you read it, please tell me, if you have found new material.

best wishes
salago


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:11 pm 
There are two main problems:

The first is that Primal therapy has never been really, truly, properly evaluated.

The second is that NO psychotherapy has ever been really, truly, properly evaluated.

I don't say that to be flippant. A lot of claims, for instance, are made that Cognitive Therapy is the One True Therapy because several studies have proven it to be as effective as medication. And most of the studies have been conducted or underwritten by insurance companies, since Cognitive Therapy is usually a brief therapy, ergo, requires less payment. The quality of these studies tend to be questionable, the Peers doing their Review often have financial interests in the results, and the precision of the statistics is usually low.

And then there's the human and phenomenological side of the studies -- virtually absent. I've had a lot of congitive therapy (there goes the theory about it being a "brief" therapy) and all it really did was teach me to mask my emotions. Now, when I get depressed, I no longer get sad, weepy, or painfully self-pitying; instead, I get much more "physically" depressed, which for me includes migraines, severe IBS, and a number of other symptoms. The depression is much more "retarded", or energy-draining. While the cognitive techniques work well to help me deal with day-to-day problems, the depressive illness remains in place.

And drugs? Not an option. The only antidepressant I don't have severe reactions to is an over-the-counter supplement called S-AME.

Art Janov was probably the first psychologist to subject his therapy and his patients to a wide range of polygraphy and vital-sign testing. Jung had been interested in skin galvanometry for a time (the forerunner of the E-Meter) and several studies were made documenting symptom reduction with Psychoanalysis, but there had been no systematic, long-term study of the body's measurable reactions until Janov. And yet, until other therapies and control groups have been studied in the same manner, all we can really say is that Primal therapy achieves an interesting set of outcomes that are desirable (such as reduction of blood pressure) but have little or no context.

I doubt that the kind of studies required will be funded any time soon. Primal and other "dynamic" therapies are more expensive since they are not brief. And they're not the purely technicianly pursuits that most brief cognitive therapy is, so they tread on the turf of Psychiatry.

The Primal Institute under Vivian Janov's direction has begun to offer a briefer Primal therapy. It's still a long-term pursuit, and the brevity is mainly related to the intensive period (8 vs 21 days). It's cheaper from the point of view of insurance companies (which is helpful in financing therapy), but not fundamentally different.

Unfortunately, it's going to take some time before psychotherapies can be properly evaluated across the board, and subjective response is going to be the "gold standard" of therapy. Until then, proponants of therapies are going to promote their own therapy, occasionally coming close to the efforts put into Primal therapy, and the opposition will mainly publish CSICOP-style "debunkings" which focus on select features of what they THINK the therapy is about, mainly to get a laugh or a shudder of disdain.

The Answer will be a long time coming, I'm afraid. Until then, we'll have to do what we've found works best for us. Which, for a small number of us, is Primal therapy.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:12 pm 
Hi Branch.
This reply is a response to salago, but I certainly agree with you about the problems in evaluating any kind of psychotherapy.

Ive just finished the first chapter of A General Theory of Love and skimmed through the rest. I recommend it. Basically, the authors are saying the same as Arthur Janov has said many times, but because they are not promoting a proprietary brand of therapy I would recommend it above The Biology of Love. Judge for yourself whether the following quotes are in line with primal theory.

Quote:
We are attached to keep our brains on track, in a process that begins before birth and sustains life until its end. A second person transmits regulatory information that can alter hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythms, immune functions, and more, inside the body of the first. Neither is a functioning whole on his own; each has open loops that only somebody else can complete.

Chapter 2:

The scientist and artist both speak to the turmoil that comes from having a triune brain. A person cannot direct his emotional life in the way he bids his motor system to reach for a cup. He cannot will himself to want the right thing, or to love the right person, or to be happy after a disappointment, or even to be happy in happy times. People lack this capacity not through a deficiency of discipline but because the jurisdiction of will is limited to the latest brain and to those functions within its purview. Emotional life can be influenced, but it cannot be commanded. (pg.33)

Anatomical mismatch prevents intellectual talons from grasping love as surely as it foils a person who tries to eat soup with a fork. To understand love we must start with the feelings -- and that is where the next chapter begins. (pg.34)

Chapter 3:

The human penchant for this post hoc cogitation can magnify the physiologic impact of an emotion many times. ... The neocortical brains tendency to wax hypothetical then becomes a deadly liability. The limbic brain, unable to distinguish between incoming sensory experience and neocortical imaginings, revisits emotions upon a body that was not designed to withstand such a procession. ... No one yet knows what causes the brain to get stuck on a single emotion, and in many cases, getting it unstuck is no simple matter. (pg.45)

Chapter 4:

Total self-sufficiency turns out to be a daydream whose bubble is burst by the sharp edge of the limbic brain. Stability means finding people who regulate you well and staying near them. (pg.86)

Chapter 5:

People dont forget any capacity that depends on feel rather than fact. (pg.114)

The dogged implicitness of emotional knowledge, its relentless unreasoning force, prevents logic from granting salvation just as it precludes self-help books from helping. (pg.118)

Chapter 6:

If an emotion is sufficiently powerful, it can quash opposing networks so completely that their content becomes inaccessible -- blotting out discordant sections of the past. Within the confines of that persons virtuality, those events didnt happen. To an outside observer, the person seems oblivious to the whole of their own history. (pg.130)

Chapter 7:

And he prefers the emotional patterns of the family he knows, regardless of its objective merits.

Chapter 8:

When people are hurting and out of balance, they turn to regulating affiliations: groups, clubs, pets, marriages, friendships, masseuses, chiropractors, the Internet.

When a limbic connection has established a neural pattern, it takes a limbic connection to revise it. (pg.177)

Patients are often hungry for explanations, because they are used to thinking that neocortical contraptions like explication will help them. But insight is the popcorn of therapy. (pg.179)

Chapter 9:

Several researchers have shown that day care in excess of twenty hours per week for children under a year old increases the risk of insecure attachment and its negative emotional effects. (pg.201)

Happiness is within range only for adroit people who give the slip to Americas values. (pg.209)

Medicine lost sight of this truth: attachment is physiology. Good physicians have always know that the relationship heals. (pg.221)

I just realized I forgot to make a note all the page numbers. Here are a couple more quotes:

Quote:
Most people will choose misery with a partner their limbic brain recognizes over the stagnant pleasure of a nice relationship with someone their attachment mechanisms cannot detect.

One mind revises another; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision; the power to remodel the emotional parts of people we love.


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