Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thank Heaven For Tickle Dreams

Thank Heaven For Tickle Dreams

My title paraphrase of Maurice Chevalier's famous song fits well with how I, the last many years, evolved to see and interpret my memories and reactions to my vivid dream life. During more than the first half of my life, however, I experienced my dreams, predominantly, traumatic. They contained sudden falls from mountains and tall buildings, searching for exits that never appeared or participation in insoluble projects/crises. Surprisingly often, I decided, in the midst of the most traumatic part of the nightmare, to cancel the futile struggle in which I participated. When I withdrew, I woke up without feeling too well.

After I experienced my first success with PT / The Primal Principle directed by Art Janov, my dream life changed gradually. The turning point was related to the fact that I experienced how an epileptic grand mal seizure was transformed into a traumatic, painful and wordless birth primal. This dream process developed over many years and was becoming less dramatic as my life became less neurotic. The process, which starts simultaneously with REM sleep, have, for many years, emptied my pain clusters/containers into an extent that my birth trauma = my epilepsy has been reduced to an easily tolerable level of pain. Nowadays, an everyday conflict/failure (eg to find the right rhythm with my tenor sax) is during sleep being translated into a dream, which eventually ends in an electric tickle in the brain. The dream development, and thus the tickling feeling, is often linked to a female partner who symbolizes my father. It happens that I, stimulated by the tickle, wake up laughing with flowing tears. A bearable and pleasant situation that feels curative. 

Yesterday I had a tough day with my tenor sax. It sounded miserable no matter which reed or mouthpiece, I combined. Add to that my inability to play from my memory ... Therefore, when I later went to bed, tired and disillusioned, I expected nothing encouraging in my dreams. However, things do not always progress as one would expect, they may even be better. My wandering life (literally) was played back in the dream. My walks in beautiful surroundings in the south of Sweden, in Denmark, in and around Santa Monica, Ca., in Boulder Col., in Valencia and in Genovés became a vision of the future. I imagined how resources were at the disposal of the residents. They would be able to preserve and develop the beauty I passed on my walk. There would be an automatic balance between private, municipal and business interests in order to prevent abuse and selfishness.

I imagined a common goal of sustainable development for future generations that mental health, beauty, and personal development would benefit everyone. Psychotropic drugs could be virtually eliminated and psychotherapists found work as personal coaches in beauty and environmental conservation. Suddenly I came to a treatment center, and in the door,  I saw Dr. Janov. He wept uncontrollably. I was immediately overwhelmed and hurried to comfort my benefactor. Jan, he said, do not worry, I weep for joy! I cry because I am no longer needed. Now I finally have time to deal with my own shit before it's too late!

Jan Johnsson

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” - Albert Einstein 


When I later today trained with the tenor sax, I managed to perform fully intelligible versions of both "All Of Me" and “Autumn Leaves “.....   JJ

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"The Body Never Lies"

“The Body Never Lies”

A Norwegian woman told in a TV program, how her head in a car accident hit the windshield, and she lost her memory from the previous nine years. She told us about the complicated rebuilding of her memory. Her reconstruction was filled with doubt and mistrust directed both to herself and to others, and it took a long time because memory is an elusive individual phenomenon that also changes and is stained in a way that is difficult to predict (which research has confirmed eg in connection with witness psychology). 

A key point in the woman's story was that she had had a child under the lost memory period. She had absolutely no recollection that she was a mother. The word memory, however, received a new dimension, when she was confronted with her child. The child rushed, at the reunion, spontaneously up to her mother and embraced her overwhelmed by happiness. Then the woman felt in her body how physical memory/recognition welled up. Just as Alice Miller so brilliantly described it: "The body never lies.” It has no fake/alternative news!

In the primal circles, my combination of PT and Rolfing has been met with skepticism and warnings, but I have been unable to understand why. The curative aim of Rolfing is, with deep physiotherapy, releasing blocked/fixed grown memories. They are physical manifestations/extensions which reinforce/defend the memory of repression of painful experiences (of varying types) back to the fetal period. The goal of Rolfing, to restore posture and fascia in harmony with gravity laws has in my case freed several memories of painful (repressed) character. My body's memories have not lied to me, but behind an unaware, abnormal physical deviation (a crooked spine, a stooped posture, blocked or shallow breathing, etc., etc.), there has been a link to the experiences during early childhood and adolescence. When I / my body released / re-lived those memories, I became aware of the painful experiences, which I thank Primal Therapy, eventually have been able to enter, and that meant access to experiences during my dramatic birth and hence to the root of my epilepsy. 

The therapist asked, during a Rolfing treatment, why I wore my hat in a certain way because it affected my head posture. I had no prepared answers. Suddenly, I remembered how a former female partner and my father criticized me for being cocky and confident. This led me, provocative, chose a style that was pretended to be easygoing and challenging and the style grew firm for decades and hid my underlying uncertainty. When I slowly dared to show my deep uncertainty (which was hidden first by ADHD and later by lifelong activity mania), my repressed memories from a 48-hour traumatic birthing gradually floated to the top and took over the role from my longstanding epilepsy symptoms. In my therapy process, spread over 40 years, two series of treatments, at 30-year intervals, with Rolfing, have played a crucial role in stimulating my re-living the process of my birth trauma. Here I want to emphasize the importance of the knowledge that I received from Art Janov in how evolution has developed a survival method to suppress pain, which was too extensive that a fetus could survive. These insights into the Primal Principle, I have internalized, both in practice and in theory, for several decades, and at a few important occasions in contact with the inventor himself. Without my insights/knowledge from Dr. Janov, the meaning of my sessions of Rolfing had been significantly reduced. The same can evidently be said, regarding my sessions in PT/knowledge of the Primal Principle, unless Rolfing had been available.

The combined, natural, Janov / Rolf methods have given me a less neurotic life with good health/good vital signs and I am now capable of a moderate pace. I have re-evaluated several of my activities. Music got during my first 75 years no active place, though I listened. When I now work with my tenor sax I become aware of how my body and psyche still create blockages/tensions, which originally were meant to hold off the explosive pain from my birth. In woodwind to produce a relaxed sound, to transpose, to go from classical music to jazz swing is not without problems for a normal youth. For a 77-year-old neurotic with built-in tensions, it is an extra challenge. The rhythmic problems haunt me, sometimes, into my sleep. During REM sleep my father or former female partners may appear and criticize my activities and my immediate pain takes me, through an awakening, infallibly into my birthing. Nowadays, re-living remnants of the birth process is a piece of cake, however painful and wordless. The re-living means after a few days that my tenor-swing sounds better (and that I, hopefully, am less torturing my neighbors ….).

The body never lies... Alice Miller wrote about it and Ida Rolf treated the physical effects of it. Art Janov has, over the past 50 years, practically and theoretically proved the same. AJ has, with own suffering, outperformed the academic/intellectual world when he skillfully and innovatively informed  and treated us of the consequences of the two-headed nature of evolutionary repression. Repression is a lifeguard for the sensitive fetus/child, however, at the cost of later/future wear and diseases appearing where the organic body system is the weakest/most worn.

Jan Johnsson

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Primal Therapy: Some Points Of View

Primal Therapy: Some Points Of View

Experienced after his “childhood madhouse” and after psychology studies at first-class universities and a doctorate, Art Janov treated patients in the psychotherapy world with a critical eye. "It was a painstaking work, observing patients and then trying to figure out, being careful not to contradict neurologic science”.

Incidentally, Raphael Ortiz, famous for demolishing Steinway Grand pianos, 1967, had provoked startling psychological reactions at his activities as a director and destruction artist. The consequences of these provocations would prove to have revolutionary consequences, when one of the spectators to Ortiz's N.Y.-Performance, met Art Janov in Palm Springs. During group therapy, AJ succeeded in stimulating / encouraging "Denny" to put himself in / spark a condition that meant he re-lived a repressed pain. Primal Therapy was born. AJ had discovered / revealed survival technique developed by evolution; repressing pain at the price of inhibited feelings.

AJ succeeded, in 1970, with his book "The Primal Scream", brilliantly in a couple of aspects. He became overnight The Superstar within psychotherapy and he became financially independent. The main reason was that he presented/promised a quick fix for most mental problems. This happened at a time, when we, in any case, within the West-oriented world screamed for liberation and desire for happiness. Among those days abundant flora of gurus who marketed tempting/seductive physical and mental liberations, AJ conquered a leadership position which lasted a decade. Patients / we flocked to LA / Santa Monica with high expectations. Exciting, financially well-off, well-known neurotics searched the charismatic AJ whose evolutionary narratives gave hopes which surpassed all the poetry Hollywood's and others film studios were mighty. Ingmar Bergman also was impressed and inspired.

The need for psychotherapy treatment for the past 50 years has grown dramatically but the curative results have not been achieved/materialized. Repeated treatments of symptoms are unfortunately the most common. To cure, which initially looked possible, through The Primal Therapy appearance, has proved to be an extremely complicated process. A true cure is constantly influenced by economic, social, physiological, psychological and cultural factors. The complex process limits the ability, in each case, for the common man, to create sustainable conditions for the lengthy individual treatment process, which is necessary. Society, the capitalist part, like its counterparts, is impatient and requires instant results. This fact has gradually pushed the world's prescription writing shrinks in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. It dominates, for instance through the DSM-5, all treatment which continues to build on the evolution pain repression.

After many years of hard work, successes and disappointments in private life which include difficulty in getting the attention for the Primal Therapy in academia, then AJ magically retains his basic attitude to appear as a humble guide in his therapy. He considers patients, ultimately, have all the knowledge and answers in themselves. No smart intellectual conversations on a psychologist’s couch can release deep emotions. The Primal Principle explains nature's instinctive protection, by repression, of fetuses and newborns from the unbearable pain caused by physiological, emotional and chemical damage / abuse. To remove this, over millions of years, developed protection requires more resources, time and cross-fertilizing treatments than a pure, isolated development in Primal Therapy is able to grasp. AJ has wisely recognized that. He promises no quick results, on the contrary, he speaks now of decades. However, the more he writes about his discovery, since 50 years, the more persuasive he is about its validity. By far the best solution is love, touch, and attention from the moment of conception!

AJ came from a modest background, "Russian peasants," and did thanks to the US Navy an academic class trip, which in 1970 additionally meant financial independence. This gave access to the good life / la douceur de Vivre with access to luxury and prestige in both Californian and French establishments. In other words light years away from the socialism that AJ refers to when he emotionally describes the society where primal therapy would be better able to function and become every man's cure. During most of his life, AJ has lived an intelligent and hardworking / neurotic life that consisted of treatments of mental illnesses and to write readable books about them. His focus on developing and explaining primal therapy for 50 years has been going on in a privileged bubble and it has fascinated many of us. The reason is that we are all part of a psychological and physiological process with continuous, more or less, extensive crises where our childhood, maturity, and old age are playing us different tricks depending on finances, family situation, health, sociology and culture.

AJ's discovered the Primal Principle and he taught/trained us through his skilled descriptions/narratives of how repressed pain works. His efforts we have internalized through own experiences, and made it possible to interpret the world in a new, more transparent/less neurotic way. In my own case, it has been a long journey. A process, which for 40 years has meant/included repeated readings and studies of Ida Rolf, Alice Miller, and Simone de Beauvoir. These three giants having filled gaps in Primal Therapy by going outside the psychological framework without for that reason having lost focus on the whole. Ida Rolf's physiotherapy, which was directly linked to my success with Primal therapy, have been continuously improved and is now internationally established. Alice Miller's revealing about how religion and family cause and conserves mental defects and conditions, are vital truths to consider whether a primal therapy treatment may be successful.

Regarding Simone de Beauvoir, she gives in her book "On Old Age” / “La vieillesse" a historical, social, cultural and political picture of society's injustices from birth to death. She mixes her own reflections on the thoughts and experiences of great thinkers and writers. A brilliant compilation, the same age as "The Primal Scream”. SdB despairs of durable solutions for most, except for the few privileged who like AJ can retain their business, health, finance / independence and appreciation unto death. And this despite / because of? that AJ has told us about his lifelong suffering due to a degrading treatment by his parents.

Jan Johnsson


Primal Center

Dear Jan,

Thank you for your letter.
How astute and insightful!  It is a great description of our work, so thank you for your effort. 

My best,

Dr. Arthur Janov