What Is Effective Primal Therapy?
In my book, I describe the basic requirements for any effective form of primal therapy. (1) These requirements were drawn from my research into fear conditioning and eradication…………..
1. In order to modify a conditioned fear memory (imprint), elements of the imprint must be released. The elements are sensorimotor in content and contain the sympathetic response. The emergence of the sympathetic response in a session signals the release of this kind of memory. Once the memory is released, it is modifiable for a 6-hour period (2). If you’re sitting around talking about an issue, you are not reliving it. If you are not reliving it, it cannot be modified.
2. Imprint release must happen within a “sensory window” or “window of tolerance. Dissociation originally occurred because the client was overwhelmed by the event and felt helpless to do anything about it. It is logical to assume that the nervous system will again dissociate traumatic information brought up in a session when it is re-experienced in its original magnitude and context. When traumatic data is being dissociated in a session, it’s called abreacting.
3. If the emergence of elements of an imprint can be kept within this window, the dissociative function is bypassed. Now the active trauma data passes into the high road of sensory processing, is organized, and can be reflected upon by the mind’s eye, just as ordinary experience is.
4. When this is accomplished, the client has successfully primalled elements of the imprint. Connection has occurred. This gives the medial prefrontal cortex access to the imprint. The MPC can now stop future occurrences of the automatically generated, primalled component of the imprint… when the reaction is not corresponding with reality.
How can we be sure that the client primalled, not abreacted? The client is offered non-leading contact statements during and/or after a session. The answers will indicate the presence or absence of self-awareness during the processing. Also, Janov has stated that the emergence of client insights after a session is a good indication that a connected feeling occurred.
5. The client and facilitator must form a bond. If a mutual trust can be established, the client can be free enough to “feel the feeling”, while the facilitator supports the experience in a loving, attentive, non-judgemental way.
(1) Pullaro, J. (2005). Fear Memory Integration: A Natural Health Alternative To Conventional Psychotherapy. Iuniverse, Nebraska. (1) p.15; (2) pp 58-60.
(2) Ibid., PP 58-60.