Is meditation a primal therapy ?

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Is meditation a primal therapy ?

Postby Phil2 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:52 am

I discovered recently the work of Dr Arthur Janov.

For those who don't know him, here's a short description from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Janov

Arthur Janov (born August 21, 1924) is an American psychologist, psychotherapist, and the creator of primal therapy, a treatment for mental illness that involves repeatedly descending into, feeling, and experiencing long-repressed childhood pain.[1] Janov directs a psychotherapy institute called the Primal Center in Santa Monica, California. Janov is the author of many books, most notably The Primal Scream.


The main idea of Janov is that most people suffer from early childhood traumas (like child abuse, parental abandonment or simply lack of love or attention etc ...) and that those traumas still live in us generating all kinds of mental and even physical disorders like neuroses, depressions, obsessions, stress, anxiety which can even lead to somatic diseases like cancer or heart problems...

What is Primal Therapy by Dr. Arthur Janov

The main thesis of Janov is that those traumas cannot be addressed by 'classical' psycho-therapies based on 'talk cures' which generally fail to heal ... talking about past traumas is not efficient enough, because those traumas have to be relived, re-experienced fully, with all their emotional content ... and those 'primal therapies' can be really impressive as can be seen on this video interview (sessions start at 0:55)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iyeUm9iIcM

What I realized is that meditation itself is a form of 'primal therapy'.

Most people think that meditation is only a quiet space of peace, but this is not the case. Meditation is really about facing one's emotions and fears (and also the compulsive thoughts arising from those emotions), about living some difficult situations from the present or from the past ... it is a kind of 'fight' but without resistance ... and only when those emotional situations have been faced and lived and fully experienced, can peace come into the mind ...

This is also why meditation is a difficult practice for many people, they don't want to face their own emotional states ... so they can never heal themselves ...

As Jung said:

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Is meditation a primal therapy ?

Postby Onceler » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:31 pm

I believe the primal people would say meditation is no substitute, that one has to be guided by a trained professional. It's too easy to move away from pain in meditation, no one is holding you accountable. Not sure. I have read a bit about primal therapy, and other theraputic modalities, and while it sounds compelling, I believe the potential is there to reawaken pain and trauma without resolution.....worsening the pain, energizing it, without healing. If one looks for trauma and pain, well there is an endless supply. How could we exhaustively address it all? You see what you focus on, re-experience where you put your attention.

I believe the only solution is to feel and experience ones primal self, the primal unchanging, inexhaustible you, not primal pain and negative experience. This goes far deeper than the pain and a recognition of the truth of you at this level reverberates back, unraveling the pain without effort. This can take awhile to be undone (years) and can be painful, but doesn't require reliving early trauma anymore than being with whatever appears. It's a simple act with profound results.
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Is meditation a primal therapy ?

Postby Phil2 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:48 pm

Onceler wrote:I believe the primal people would say meditation is no substitute, that one has to be guided by a trained professional. It's too easy to move away from pain in meditation, no one is holding you accountable. Not sure. I have read a bit about primal therapy, and other theraputic modalities, and while it sounds compelling, I believe the potential is there to reawaken pain and trauma without resolution.....worsening the pain, energizing it, without healing. If one looks for trauma and pain, well there is an endless supply. How could we exhaustively address it all? You see what you focus on, re-experience where you put your attention.


Well I don't think that reliving the pain can make it worse ... the problem with those childhood traumas is that they are stored in our memory exactly as they were recorded when we were a child, unchanged in time ... so the fact to relive those emotions with adult eyes and awareness will generally help us to realize that finally those so-called traumas are largely exaggerated when seen with adult eyes.

One example would be in jealousy problems between brothers and sisters, a child can incredibly suffer because he feels having received less consideration or love from his parents because his brother or sister did receive one day a 'better' gift at his birthday ... this feeling of being 'rejected' or less loved by his parents can persist in adulthood exactly as it was perceived when being a child ... so reliving it can help us to reassess and 'reframe' the situation to give it less emotional importance ... and defeat those so-called 'demons' from the past ...
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Is meditation a primal therapy ?

Postby rachMiel » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:43 pm

Yes, I'd agree with you Jean: Being aware of and feeling -- without grasping or aversion -- whatever happens to arise in your body-mind, as it's arising, is about as primal as it gets.

But it's a very different style of "primal" than what's generally practiced in Janovian primal therapy.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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