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Primal Therapy And Meditation



“…in a primal, the memory [of the repressed trauma] is awakened and with it all the original reactions. Every structure originally involved reacts again with the complete re-experience of the memory.” (1)


Trauma represents a painful and uncontrollable sensory overload. (2) When it happens, information flow through the nervous system gets disturbed. The traumatic information gets trapped in the low road of information processing. This is the area that generates mindless reactions. Because information naturally must flow to all parts of the nervous system, a normal process has been interrupted. So, the traumatic information pushes for access to the high road of information processing. This is the area that consolidates low road information and makes informed responses. The attempt to keep the ever-rising traumatic information down, is experienced as suffering and depression.


An effective primal process succeeds in overcoming this neurological tug of war long enough for pieces of the imprinted pain to pass into the high road and gain access to the mind’s eye [self-awareness]. As these pieces of traumatic pain emerge and are witnessed we are feeling the feeling of our original trauma. As the process continues and is expanded to include more and more of the imprint’s content, more and more connection is achieved. The whole process I’ve just described implies a sustained contemplation of the sensorimotor artifacts of our trauma.


What does this process describe? Meditation. This is why I have referred to primal therapy as sensorimotor meditation.


The term meditation covers a lot of ground. And I agree that some forms represent a way of non-feeling. However, the form that I described above should inform those of us in the primal community, since it describes the primal process itself.


(1) Janov, A. (1996). Why You Yet Sick. How You Get Well. Dove Books, California., P.209.

(2) Pullaro, J. (2005). Fear Memory Integration: A Natural Health Alternative To Conventional Psychotherapy. iuniverse, Nebraska., P.21.


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