Primal Therapy As Energy Medicine
The Butterfly Story: "The following spring, after my mother had died, I opened up my window in the yard and just put my chin on my hand and looked out at everything green. Everything was beginning to turn green after the cold of winter. Then, this beautiful butterfly came and landed on the sill and fluttered its wings a few times, stayed there for a few seconds, and then took off. And, I know it had something to do with my mother’s soul, because right after the beautiful butterfly took off, I didn’t feel that deep depression any more."
This family memory was handed down to me from my aunt Carmela. Physicists and mystics alike agree that, on the quantum level, our universe is energetic in nature and interconnected in ways that makes our concepts of space and time obsolete. Shamanic drummers say that group drumming helps to synchronize individual brainwaves, such that the group’s collective brainwaves become harmonious. It is known that women living under the same roof eventually synchronize their menstrual cycles. On the most basic level, we are tuned in to one another. This connection transcends individuals and even species. But, we must pay attention to know this. These observations, and many others, of quantum connectedness should suggest to the primal facilitator that close attention needs to be paid to what “appears to us” during a session.
Barbara Bryan, one of my mentors, taught me this technique: “Pay close attention to words, phrases, and feelings that come to you when you are sitting with someone. If something presents itself to you three times, speak the feeling, word, or phrase out loud. Nine times out of ten, it will have relevance and will serve to move the process forward.”
I am sitting with Connie. She was traumatized by her boyfriend. One time he beat her so badly that her ear was almost severed, requiring a trip to the hospital. During this particular session I asked her to retell the tragic events of that night of abuse.
As I silently listened to her, the phrase “your ear knows, doesn’t it?” came to me. I noted it and let it go. As her story progressed, that phrase repeated itself again and again. She ended the story by saying: “I don’t know how I survived”. I spoke her name at that moment. When she looked up at me, and our eyes met, I said: "your ear knows, doesn't it?". A far away look came into her eyes and she lowered her head, her hair completely covering her face. For about a half-hour, she sat in seeming silence…not moving. Then, as time passed and her process wound itself down, we ended our session.
The next morning, I received a phone message from her. Her voice was joyful, as she told me how good she felt when she awoke. Somehow, that phrase, spoken at that moment, closed a circuit, allowing a bit of traumatic information to flow into consciousness. This, in turn, decreased the suffering around her abusive experience. Janov called such moments primals.
To the extent that aspects of lost traumatic information reach consciousness, to that same extent is neurotic suffering permanently decreased.