Redirecting Self Therapy Results: Fast?

Plenty of stuff to discuss in the world, with the focus on causes
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:31 am

Post by Phil »

Hi John,

Yes, it would be a great thing if RST truly works faster than primal and without therapists.

I probably do best when I talk about my own therapy rather than making general statements. I feel sure that I never would have done well in any kind of self therapy because it was, and often still is, difficult for me to get any traction with my projections. Using a therapist basically represents a change in environment. It is the human element in the environment of are childhoods that made us neurotic because of neglect or abuse. So it is only natural that the human element would be important for healing.
I was very lucky because I lived 40 miles away from the Primal Institute of New York. Also because it closed about 4 years later. Without a very empathetic and understanding therapist I doubt I could have gotten started. After doing therapy with this therapist and others I have the difference in my mind of what it is I should have gotten as a child. In particular, this is what helps me to get to very sad feelings with crying etc in my therapy.
I think the Janovs have very good therapists and they go through a long training and so they deserve to be paid well.
And as you probably know there are non-Janov therapists and many of them are very good as well.
It would have been impossible for me to find someone so understanding and empathetic on my own, as a friend, to primal with. But I know that a
fair number of people can get started primalling on their own.

This discussion has me wondering if the RST techniques could be used with a therapist as well.

I went back to an earlier posting where you described how you reach feelings of anger with your mother using punching. In order to primal, what you would do is let your mind go to a scene in your memory involving your mother which might be a connection with the anger.
And then you would continue the expression with that scene in mind.
And with primalling you want to give yourself freedom of expression.
What I mean is that you wouldn?t limit yourself to punching.
It could be shouting, kicking etc. And most especially words which go with the scene you have in mind, unless it is a preverbal feeling. The body has the feeling memories and needs to be able to express them in the appropriate way.And you wouldn?t limit yourself as to time either, you just stay with it as long as you can. But I am hearing that what you are already doing is very effective so I just wrote this to describe how you would do it typically as a primaller.

I think we are basically discussing the same process, just approaching it from different angles.


Post by Guest »


I am wondering if a combination of these approaches is possible. Additionally, would it be possible that RST would eventually work for everyone if they used it? I believe I am closer to your experience than what Dennis had described in his primal work. I would never have gotten started either unless I had to...due to PTSD symptoms which were quite disabling. It's the classic case of addiction really: "When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, the addict will change." Unfortunately the general wisdom on addiction doesn't realize that it's nothing more than trapped primal pain. In modern society, most people who seek dramatic change seem to have come from this place of getting to change through the above 12 step quote. Remember that my definition of addiction is codepedency...imagine the importance of the "codependency map" to keep on top of RST work in that context.

Your letter is very balanced in that you are talking about your own experience, and your own unique path to healing. It also reflects what real healing is all about: Restoring the broken interpersonal bridge
(Bradshaw On The Family). It got broken in relationship and it gets healed in relationship. It was no accident that VanWinkle's strongest representation of RST ( shown on is in the forum archives. Her healing immediately became a community effort...and she left RST in over 20 languages. She knew what she had stumbled across. The actions of a "grandiose schizophrenic"? Reading the material through, it's clear that this is not the case. I also like her statement..."RST is NOT the only way...there are many good ways". Her reference group seemed good too when her assistant says "...if you've tried it and don't want to use it further....disregard it without regret". All 12 step stuff. VanWinkle spent 20 years in 12 step. A lot of comments in her forum are signs of emotional health.

Let me put this another way. The $100 billion per year SSRI and NRI industries focus their action in the same place as RST. The difference being that the SOURCE of the burned out recievers isn't addressed with paxil and effexor ( or anxiolitics that stimulate a GABA calming response). Flooding detox crisises is the source. That's why neurotransmission is poor in the first place. And this is the difference. The dumping we do in RST creates a biological pathology...leading to crying ( during muddy basin...Dennis reported one year of this....mine has been parallel after an initial time of nothing, varying in intensity). Taking this up up and up to a conceptual level and involving therapists and the interpersonal bridge is important. Clearly. But please remember this is about detoxing the neural net. Proper functioning follows....with the desire to heal in ways consistent with healing the interpersonal bridge. If there had never been one, a person would simply be psychotic (your point earlier about the mix) this really is about healing. And a human context is necessary for that. Getting back to where we were before the "split" as Janov calls it. Although perhaps there are holes
(referring to the point about babies only needing...and then not getting those prima needs met). The holes have to be filled in then? Healing can't occur without that? Can a therapist do that? I hear of regression people holding their patients....filling the narcicistic needs that way.

What I'm wondering now is if primal and RST could be combined...where primal is used to improve "felt sense" on parental targets. I'm going to know how I'm doing not through Janov's measuring of autonomic nervous system functioning ( although that's likely very good), but rather through the changes in my reference group. Primal could help me to have more impact taking my codepenencies and redirecting them back. This would seem to address the challenge some would have doing RST if they just "couldn't get traction". It was certainly my problem ( perhaps it is stopping me from going even deeper now...and a combo in these therapies would help).

But I just kept going anyway, even though I started with poor traction. It took a long time for me. I sure did eventually connect to the amygdala and release trauma. I know that. The trauma in the average modern person seems to be so great, sometimes I worry if either primal or RST will get it all. I have to go through those phases of "maybe this is all wishful thinking". Maybe I'm making this all up. But it can't be. There have been too many huge changes...and powerful dream updates.

In doing RST, doing it with a therapist is not considered necessary.....but comparing results with a group and making connections, for me, seems to be. Back to the interpersonal bridge. I think VanWinkle missed this....and I believe a person not in a group-setting of support in some way wouldn't do RST. But that's different than thinking the therapy itself happens with a therapist. It doesn't. I think you were suggesting that, and this is not relevant in the actual DOING of the work. Any more than taking paxil requires someone to be there for the serotonin to be blocked in re-uptake and give the burned out post synaptic site a serotonin enough gets through and the price of repressing anger isn't paid for. In that case there is no a group or follow up or parallel therapeutic process isn't necessary. The fire is put out ( although with many it breaks through...and that will lead to getting help).

I wonder about the combo. This is man who put together some instructions, which I found on the Primal Psychotherapy Page.

It's just that there is nothing like primal therapy in Chile that I've heard of, and I wouldn't trust just anyone with this kind of work. Even if they were sincere and well-intentioned.


Post by Guest »

Here are some thoughts from this weeks work regarding primal-RST:

"You can guess what happened to people long ago, if you'll just listen to what they say they felt during the past week." -- Doyle P. Henderson in Amazing Truths About Your Emotions

( To me this above quote leads to what people say and feel in their codependent attachements....thus it's the RST perspective)

"To be disliked and criticized when you are five or six leaves you believing that there is something radically wrong with you. Being in the struggle for approval in the present is at least being on the right track."
-- Arthur Janov, The New Primal Scream, 1991

(.. and this quote seems to miss the boat on the precision of codependency to map primal pain...daily.)


I found these two quotes to show more perspective on the therapies of RST and Primal. Primal people may talk about today's relationships and behaviours as being "connected powerfully" to the past, but would they believe that those behaviours are directly wired into the limbic brain....a direct link to the right brain and a chance for integration? Who is in the struggle for approval in the present where it is not a codependent projection? Is he referring to some other "struggle for approval"? One that isn't connected to primal forces?

I have a couple of points this week. One is an experience, and the other a question...for people who have done a lot of self-primalling. The experience was after a lot of RST work, and in the early morning. I was dreaming about my best friend's father who passed away in April. This man was an alcoholic and had been hospitalized for about 20 years before dying. He was in a suit and led me to a very old mother. This was odd, because the man was bed ridden. So it stood out right away. She must have been in her 90's and was bright and radiant and very happy to recieve me. She welcomed me and hugged me ( something that I don't remember happening completely and unconditionally since I was about 4-5)....and in that moment I was flooded with far far more powerful feelings of huge loss than I could ever hope to integrate. It was terrifying. Pure feeling....knowing that my pretty young mother was gone forever. This aged "God" was no God at all. I struggled to try to wake sheer panic. It was a giant ocean of grief. And I finally did wake up after a titanic struggle it seemed. This to me would be a primal, and I believe it was generated by very strong RST work. I believe I have understood first hand what is said about the dangers of self-primalling....would it have been dangerous to sink into this feeling? I believe I had no option other than to run from it. I had no other thought than to get out...100% of my energy was to run.

"I have never, ever seen past lives in my thousands of patients over a quarter of a century of primal treatment. It is not because I don't believe in it. It is because I am careful to see that each and every pain is properly integrated so that there is no flooding of consciousness."
-- Dr. Arthur Janov in Why You Get Sick and How You Get Well

This quote says to me something about "flooding of consciousness"....but perhaps this is to create a "mystification" over the process...and to "trust the experts". Would the value of primal therapy be it's ability to break defences....much less than to avoid "dangerous non-integration"? I wonder if anyone has actual experience about that.

To add to all of this....especially in this comparision of RST-Primal and trying to get at a bigger picture....honing in on WHAT WORKS and HOW WELL IT WORKS ( not what's theoretically right or wrong), there are a couple of very encouraging quotes that show how primal is "left wanting". The whole primal movement needs to really highlight the fact that a lot of people don't get the results they want. I mean that isn't obvious to me as I study the material, and it really should be. This is why I believe opening the field up ( with things like RST) is so very key.

I had only planned 350 hours of RST and I'm at 561. I've had dramatic results. But I wanted to be totally better. I'm going to do 1,000. I figure that doing the therapy first, and asking questions later is a smart strategy.

I can't see doing RST for 30 years. That to me means that it hasn't worked. Stone did his Cure by Crying for 7 years. He is totally cured. His book is powerful ( as a guide that shows you really can cure neurosis), but not everyone could do work at that level. He was a hard worker...and absolutely committed to getting better.


"I'm afraid I won't live long enough to feel all of my Pain"
-- A friend in his sixties, who has been primalling for over 30 years.


"Ah, primal therapy. It takes ten times as long to get half as far as you thought you'd get."
-- Telephone conversation with a long-time primaler


Post by Guest »

On The Janov quote; I think he means that at least the person is not totally disconnected from his feelings, there is a connection with his struggle for approval in the present and what happened to him in the past.
Many people are just totally disconnected from their feelings.

I don't believe that the type of feeling you describe in your dream would be dangerous to sink into. But just a guess. What could be dangerous is for someone in a lot of pain and on the "edge" to go right to 1st line birth or early childhood feelings. The feeling you describe sounds like a later feeling? Going to 1st line too soon might bring out too much pain which can not be integrated. Flooding the consciousness with pain.

Having somebody to talk to as a way to primal would help avoid this.
Self primallers having noone to talk to might tend to go for physical feelings and skip over the 2nd line. I have had a few scary moments in my self primalling. When that has happened, I immediately stop and just give it a break. But this hardly ever happened. My experience of therapy was that what helped to break my defences was very empathetic and understanding therapists. But everyone is different. The danger would be to push people into something they are not ready for.
Therapists help us get past defences and have integration take place.
What helps with integration is to have a therapist, a primal buddy or a group to talk to right after a primal.

That it would take so long for someone to primal all their pain gives an idea of how severe that pain is. It is descriptive of the pain and how vulnerable we are in childhood. As adults some people might be able to primal most of their pain in a year or two, and others can't do it in a lifetime.
Best would be to prevent traumas or start primalling at the earliest age possible.

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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:55 am

Post by John »


I see your point about Janov's quote. From the way he writes though, I would say that he underestimates family systems. How many times have I heard it written that a woman must give her infant the love and touching required. In a severely codependent family system this is lethal to the infant creating an enormous split. A non-intimate relationship between the primary couple is what leads to triangling with the infant. And many mothers become pregnant to set the stage for this codependent re-enactment....designed by the brain to integrate higher and lower consciousness ( often getting stuck in re-enactment....causing the infant to want to do the same as he represses his fight or flight response to keep the "love" of mother.....and distant father).

I am impressed with the "give myself a break" attitude. Of course. It didn't occur to me. I've been quite a warrior on this, and forget that
self-compassion is a great tool, and a sign of emerging health. I also see the point about having a group...and a therapist. Perhaps when a person is in enough pain, he'll set up his "new family of affiliation" ( 12 step concept). However if his mood-alter is "less than human" ( in the toxic shame poles of more than human-less than human) more pain might be the "Joan of Arc" syndrome....and "trying to fix everything alone" is natural in that addict system ( if a person's role is victim).

As far as first line trauma regarding the overwhelming grief is an interesting quote. Remember that my mother in this dream was at an age considered to be "end of life". And the loss realization could be great in the emotional acceptance of that ( hard not to accept when she appeared in her 90s).

Note that the quote below makes a direct link, again, back to the amygdala. The deepest part of the right brain. The deepest primal structures. This is the action of codependency, and what RST is all about. I am beginning to wonder if our codependencies deal with anything else BUT first line trauma.

The question then ( if using RST) would be to make sure to intensify more and more the sensations of parent and parent replacement ( for redirecting). Although with codependency, I think you will agree that getting intensity isn't too hard.

It's a projection. From the amygdala. That's codepededency. That's addiction ( fight or flight response suppression leading to detox crisises and the need to medicate).

"The stress of our lives and tension which emerges has much more relationship to our early histories than to our daily lives in the present. . . Even when one cries for a parent at a funeral, the agonizing quality of the grief derives from infancy, when love-loss was totally unbearable, much less from the present."
-- E. Michael Holden, M.D. in The Journal of Primal Therapy - Winter 1976


Post by Guest »

Clare's mention of getting into primal therapy via a kundalini experience is very interesting. I'm sure you found this writing amongs the site you uncovered Clare ( your request for source) , which expands RST and meets it with primal in a very clear neurological way. Here it is. Lower brain meets higher brain: The Cerebellum leads the way. And maybe that's a huge key to codependency. People are looking for whatever lines up with their primal experience.....mostly to integrate lower to higher brain.

There seems to be many ways to skin a cat. A primal "crisis" may well be when too much info is coming up and is flooding lower-higher brain together.

Defences would make sense in a big way.....the organism isn't neurologically prepared to just integrate the brain. It needs to set it up...and if it doesn't, it goes into crisis.

This is referring to Ralph Ellis's work.

I read the story of the woman who herself went into kundalini on the site and mentioned this information, on the brain and it's disturbing because she's a very strange person....I'm not sure where she's coming from. But I really liked the neurological data and reference to science.


"Ralph Ellis describes the cerebellum as essential to the process of forming internal maps of reality ie: mental representations, through which our intentionality and self-conscious sensorimotor experience is determined. The cerebellum is fundamentally interdependent with other brain areas to bring about specific sensorimotor states in response to stimulus, for the purpose of satisfying the emotional needs of the organism by means of adjustments to or interactions with the environment.
The information processing needed for intentional representation proceeds from the brainstem-hypothalamic loops sensing a homeostatic imbalance for the organism. Then activation of neurotransmitter pathways to arouse and alert the brain that action is needed, after which brain activity elaborates what specific action should be taken. This elaboration involves the cerebellum because it can activate specific action based on past sensorimotor memory. The cerebellum-brainstem loops then send action commands to the motor cortex. These commands are inhibited or moderated by prefrontal signals and "action imagery" results. Every conscious experience, whether imaginary or perceptual, exists to inform and impress the organism of its value, and this "value" is experienced as emotion. The cerebellum tells the rest of the brain to "look for" salient stimuli that corresponds to current organismic needs or expectations (value) and prepares the brain for dealing appropriately with impingements of the external world. This "looking for" and "call to action" and deciding what action is desirable is a monumental computational task, which is why the cerebellum comprises 50% of the brains neurons.
Ellis proposes that if all consciousness begins with action affordances, then the cerebellum--the brain area most important for coordinating bodily actions--must be pivotal for an understanding of consciousness. The cerebellum is important in synchronizing brain activity and coordination of both cognition and consciousness. Previously it was thought that perception drove emotion, which in turn drove action. But Ralph Ellis and colleagues are now telling us that the reverse is true.
"The organism is first prepared to look for environmental conditions that are potentially useful for its purposes; the most important environmental conditions are the ones that involve action and are thus tied to cerebellar functions." ~ Ralph Ellis
In other words we have the motivation to attend to and scan our environment for relevant stimuli prior to perceptual processing, as directed by the fundamental need to maintain total homeostatic balance. He says this motivational pattern of activity is always already ongoing in the organism, it is self-organizing, holistic and synchronized via the cerebellum and based on previously learned cerebellar action imagery. Emotions themselves might be activated preperceptually through the thalamus's direct link to the emotional brain prior to any extensive perceptual processing.
"In some instances, brainstem emotionally-initiated neurotransmitters tell us to take action, but without the electrical circuits being able to give us a clear indication of what specific action is needed, and this is when we feel ourselves in the grips of powerful, disturbing emotions like anger, fear, grief, or anxiety. As soon as we start taking the needed action, the anger, fear, etc. feels less cataclysmic, because we are not just getting the neurotransmitter rush in its purity, but rather as tempered by the fact that some of our attention is take up with the specificity of action commands. The cerebellum's role here is to make the action commands specific enough so that we can "understand the objects" of cognitive, perceptual, or emotional states. When the neurotransmitters are delivered to the various brain parts, the expectation is that specific action commands will be not far behind, so to receive the neurotransmitter activity without any action commands can be very disturbing." ~ Ralph Ellis
We become conscious of emotions by forming representations--during an awakening emotions can run of their own accord regardless of "normal" rational adjustment to our environment. The specificity of the action commands depends on the cerebellum, but when the cerebellum/brainstem is fired up spontaneously with kundalini this increase in neural activity is often not directly correlated to any external phenomena. This perpetual "call to urgent action" thus becomes a hair trigger to any ambient stimuli we might encounter, and it is for this reason that during kundalini awakenings we can react dramatically to the shadows on the walls of Plato's cave.
The moderation feedback from the cortex tends to get lost in the exaggerated activity of the "lower" brain-loops and this produces greater embeddedness in our primary emotions firing through the older brain regions. Not that this is a bad thing because ultimately all this deep clearing out of these regions leaves us more emotionally evolved."