Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
The Ugly Duckling In The Pond Of Psychiatric Therapy
I have often mentioned that I had a unique and crucial support of The Primal Therapy (PT) and Dr. Art Janov during my 40-year-struggle to understand and cure my epilepsy and take me out of my social stigma. As a result of my stubbornly implemented epilepsy project, my mental capacity has improved. My repressed pain had its roots in the birth injury caused by my mother’s religious interpretation of the Bible. My neurotic behavior was based on false / unreal needs that became redundant when the repressed / imprinted pain had been re-lived / erased and no longer had to be hidden or anesthetized. That is why, now, my thoughts, my body and my needs are in good harmony, and I feel healthy and free.
To get the ingenious principles of PT / “Evolution in Reverse” to work for me, I needed decisive contributions from other sources. First, I was introduced to the PT and got an understanding of how very early in life (often before birth), physical and mental pain are engraved / imprinted in our brains and eventually affect / distort our general state of health. Then, it was, partly self-inflicted, a “brutal” treatment of Rolfing, Dr. Ida Rolf’s skilful body adaption to gravity, that gave me the decisive push into Primal Therapy and created a treatment breakthrough both figuratively and literally.
Other important factors for a successful treatment in PT can be summarized under the heading “The Maslow Pyramid Of Needs”. This pyramid / model explains in an excellent graphic manner the importance of being aware of achieving a balance between personal development, a professional career and private and family relationships in a complex world. My version of “The Pyramid of Needs” has not been static but has undergone a continuous process of maturation, and I have over the decades experienced how repeatedly the balance has vacillated. I have more than once had to restore the equilibrium in my “Pyramid Of Needs” after the interruptions due to among other things, my therapy treatments and their subsequent effects.
This ongoing counseling made that my progress in PT / Rolfing could be coordinated / aligned with my needs in my private life and in my career. Another important factor that the PT would function has been my constant awareness of the importance of physical exercise and keeping my body in shape and eating a reasonably balanced and nutritious diet. Eventually, I managed to succeed with my therapy and survived and could work and create both mental and material resources in order to continue demystifying my epilepsy. I did not have to be one of those who underwent a successful therapy treatment in which; however, the patient died.
In most respects, we are shaped by / dependent on the people and the culture (families, friends, work, associations, etc., etc.) we live with and in. So we need a lot of strength to deal with criticism, neglect and harassment from this immediate surroundings when the therapy we undergo - and its effects - requires changes in lifestyle and previous neurotic habits. This is especially important in the early stages of the treatment / change process when we are insecure and vulnerable. The surrounding world’s unwillingness to accept our changes is a difficult, necessary and crucial factor to overcome.
Too many therapy patients face their Waterloo in their immediate circles, and cannot change, and therefore, they choose half-measures and continue their neurotic game with its inhibitory effects. I have taken the consequences that my change has required in relation to my closest surroundings, which had its price but was crucial for the success in my treatment. Given the frequent lack of long-term success and cure in various treatments, it is not surprising that the reason, why most patients fail is found in their closest surroundings.
It sounds wonderful to be able, as an adult, to undergo therapy in order to change and develop one’s potential and talents. If we, however, for many years have lived with anxiety and a stigma, the family and the surroundings have become accustomed to a certain kind of personal behavior that has established a role that later does not lend itself easily to be changed without creating conflicts. An anxious personality who constantly has been dominated by others and eventually becomes safe, secure and demands her / his place is viewed with skepticism and becomes reprimanded and put in place both mentally and practically. It requires stamina and strength to successfully occupy the position which a liberated personality should be entitled to.
I have during a few years followed the internal debate in Primal Therapy and very little (= almost nothing) is about the steps, which I deem necessary for a successful development of Primal Therapy. Aside from Dr. Janov’s elegant and pedagogical reflections on the principles of PT, the debate is basically being limited to how neurotic / psychotic businessmen, politicians and psychologists prevent suffering patients from being able to get access to a treatment where pain, due to the love we once were denied, can be felt. These ambitions are deeply sympathetic but hampered by fuzzy thinking and lack of knowledge to confront the harsh conditions of the evolution / reality. The image of PT and its place in the global psychological / psychiatric context has interesting similarities to the context that I have described as the individual patient is trying to conquer a new position during / after a therapy treatment. The mighty establishment in the world (both the psychiatric, academic, political and economic) has a skeptical attitude and has a large number of subtle approaches it uses to keep the ambitious innovator at bay and to doubt his ambitions.
The founder and inventor of the PT is a genius who evidently created the principals for a treatment that can cure anxiety, neuroses = repressed pain (both physical and mental) that is an endless variety of “mental scars” caused by lack of love and negligence in our very early childhood. Meanwhile, the methods of the old cognitive treatment-paradigm is rolling on to repress / anesthetize our neurotic sufferings / symptoms, because our “modern” society has put its trust in and is addicted to a monstrous pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Janov has, for 40 years, repeatedly documented in a professional and educational manner, reinforced by skillfully interwoven patient narratives, the knowledge about the principles of the true origin of our depressions and their subsequent sufferings while he revealed the lack of cure in the existing cognitive drug dependent treatments. Dr. Janov has in his litertur generously shared his psychological, biological and neurological knowledge with us.
Dr. Janov has also gradually with increasing intensity been driven by a need to obtain scientific recognition for his innovation / PT. Those he has set his mind to convince, however, are more or less the identical academic world, the same researchers, the same politicians and decision makers in society and thus in the psychiatric and pharmaceutical contexts, who stand united behind the world, he / PT is fighting against. This sphere of power represents the current treatment paradigm, based on evolution’s own cognitive principle to repress the pain, physically and mentally with the help of intellectual talk therapies and painkillers at the cost of quality of life and a shortened life potential. This method / policy is neither perfect nor illegal; it is part of the economic system we all depend on, and, which gives priority to short-term solutions, which are reasonably possible to manage and control, at least in the short perspective... We are thus forced to witness that the majority still shows sympathy for these cognitive principles.
Dr. Janov fortunately became independent as a result of his innovation “Primal Therapy” and his bestseller “The Primal Scream”, and he could survive the harsh realities while maintaining his integrity. That has benefited his writing, and his books are inspirational tools for all who is “a prisoner” of their anxiety and pain and who have a desire to a better and freer life. At the same time, these books are telling us in a convincing way how important it is, for the generations to come, to show their children an unconditional love. That can give all people an opportunity to develop their potentials, and they do not need to have their lives distorted by anxiety and depression.
I hope that the ugly duckling (Primal Therapy) in the pond will develop its potential and become a beautiful swan.
Posted by Jan Åke Johnsson at 2:41 AM
Monday, July 16, 2012
Because I sometimes get asked how I dare to be so sure of my judgemental attitude to Cognitive psychology, I have tried to identify my basic reasons, guided by the Primal Theory and critical thoughts from Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.
Having been involved in Primal therapy during four decades and having worked in various positions with human resources and recruitment experts in my career I have met and gotten to know (even privately) a number of psychologists. Most of them have been ambitious and genuine professionals, whether they have worked in the therapy context, or if they worked as selection or test psychologists. I had, according to a female friend, since my teens a psychological aptitude (whatever that is?), and I can say that I have mostly had a positive relationship to this profession.
However, my attitude to the psychologic corps has over the years become increasingly split as my knowledge of the brain and the feelings has deepened when I experienced a fascinating demystification of my problems caused by an epileptic stigma which was caused by a painful and horrific birthing process. During the years, it took to be cured, Primal Therapy and the understanding of the evolutionary process played a crucial role.
The more I hear about Cognitive Therapy treatment from different contexts, the more skeptical I have been. The lack of cure causes an intellectual, short term attitude to reason and to medicate depressions away, instead of feeling / reliving the cause of the underlying anxiety and pain. My frustration is all the greater that the alternative to Cognitiv Therapy, for example, Primal Therapy, for various reasons do not seem practically capable of filling the endless need to be met.
Add to that the fact that many sufferers / patients choose Cognitive therapy / medication as a delusion and a quick fix. By repressing their anxiety / pain, they think they have found a rapid solution, but in most cases, they may soon find another quick solution, etc., etc., an eternal recurrence. All this, of course, plays into the hands of the Pharmaceutical industry that develops and markets painkillers, by the name of science, that patients in the absence of natural solutions are forced to eat at an accelerating extent to enable society to function.
An experienced psychotherapist is skilled in working out what is going on in her/his patients mind and has good intuition what the patient will say next. Why? Because the shrink and the patient are having a left brain oriented intellectual / verbal communication. As a consequence it is tempting to the shrink to conclude how the patient will do in the next near future. However, this conclusion is not equally justified. Why? Because the medium / long term forecasting is a different task dominated by deep lying (2nd and 1st line) feelings which the shrink has not had the opportunity to learn. This is the main reason why psychologists in spite of certain skills in their tasks, mainly fail.
They have not learned to identify the unpredictable situations in which intuition will betray them. These situations are due to unique 2nd and 1st line experiences / imprints, from early childhood and from life before birth, in their patients. This shortcoming to identify the patiens history is further confused / enhanced by the shrinks own, unidentified, unique and unresolved imprints. The shrink and the patient can share and draw conclusions from intellectual reasoning and agree on short-term solutions. However, prediction of long term cures, based on intuitions about not relived feelings / imprints, both on the shrink’s and the patients’s side, always ends in a betrayal. To claim correct intuitions in an unpredictable situation are self-delusional at best, often worse.
In the absence of valid hints, intuitive “hits” are either due to luck or lies. If you find this conclusion surprising, you have a stubborn belief that intuition is magic. Remember the rule that intuition cannot be trusted in the absence of stable regularities in the environment. For example, in Primal Therapy a number of hints, to follow your development in the therapeutical process, are being used. The most important of these hints are the vital signs (pulse, blood pressure and body temperature), which can be measured regularly before and after sessions. The more repressed, imprinted 1st line pain the patient can relive the more normal and stable the vital sign. Mainly a cured Primal patient has healthy vital signs which is one of the prerequisites for a long and full life. How often can that be said of patients undergoing Cognitive therapy?
I’m not looking for one right general truth of existence. What I am looking for is the individual human right to our own inner truth, which if it becomes clouded by the repressed pain due to lack of love or neglect leads to a distorted and neurotic personality. Moreover, if people with these shortcomings under the cover of psychiatric expertise treat other people according to standard manuals, how can we ever get a healthy society?
Posted by Jan Åke Johnsson at 12:43 PM