Friday, May 31, 2013

What They Don't Tell You When You Go Through Primal Therapy!


Could you please tell us how you did? That it is a recurring request I got. However, I have been too focused on my own way, to follow the Primal Principle (Evolution in Reverse), to learn or pay attention to how others have behaved and succeeded. Now, finally, I feel good and have started thinking creatively, extrovert about my transformation and I can analyze how the “official” PT applied to my practical reality. After activating my memories from those I met during my 35 year epileptic journey, and after having been in contact with some who have been patients in recent years, I realize that far too few have been successfully cured in the Primal Therapy, in which they have invested time and huge money and to which they have devoted their lives. Why?

Through my own experience (indirectly supported by a résumé of Art Janov from 47 years of therapeutic experience*), I have realized that it takes so much more to apply a principle on a complex human living situation than what PT, up till now, has offered and realized. I know that my stigma, my main symptom, epilepsy did not belong to the most common in the Primal Therapy, but, my birth trauma, its repression / imprint and subsequent development to anxiety, neuroses, depressions and physical problems of various kinds can be included as classic examples among those whom Art Janov describes in his brilliant descriptions from clinical experiences of how repressed pain distorts our lives.

My way over the course of 40 years to get through PT meant to change my life in many crucial respects. That way I achieved the social and psychological independence needed to get back the real me and to optimize the result of re-lived repressed pain from my birth trauma. This is mentioned rarely or never in the “marketing” of the Primal Therapy. If I try to describe my holistic way, I get either censored by Art Janov or discredited, especially by potential patients, who intellectually “know” all the information about the pain they have not yet experienced more than the symptoms of.

My intention is, in a series of articles, to summarize my experiences and to point out what, I think, should be the obligation of those responsible for the Primal Therapy to inform their patients about, before, during and possibly after the treatment has ended. I have nothing sensational to reveal. My experiences may, however, change the image of to whom PT may be a solution in an unsustainable situation. In stead of originally being an unrealistic quick fix for everyone, it may be a very realistic therapy for many patients, which, as part of the customer recruitment / therapy, have to be identified in order to establish their treatment horizon and potential to be successfully cured.

Jan Johnsson

I used to think it was an amazing discovery to cure people. But there is something that is hard to explain: the amount of unconscious pain we all carry within ourselves. The pain we consciously feel may not feel like it requires 40 years of therapy, but that is because we don't feel the unconscious part that is much greater. And the more you feel in therapy, the deeper you go, the more you uncover the unconscious pain, the more you realize the intensity and amount of what you were carrying.
Therapy can only follow each individual natural rhythm and what their body can take out, one piece at a time. So, in fact, I don't want to sound pessimistic, but people with massive early trauma may not have enough of a life time to resolve it entirely, even with Primal Therapy. However it is still better to take it out, one piece at a time, and live a better life day after day. And I agree with you, healthy diet, exercise, all these other tools we can find can definitely help greatly too. 
As Primal therapists, we are charged with taking the pain out. We never put it in, someone else did.”  Art Janov.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It Takes More Than Excellent Therapists!

It takes more than Excellent Therapists!

A friend who, during years, has been through Primal Therapy (so far unsuccessfully) asked me to be aware of the fact that most of the people commenting on Art Janov’s Reflections have not been through the therapy. This explained to me why so many are almost religiously obsessed by following “the only right path” as they have entered a chosen sect.

“Everything that goes wrong is due to that the world is filled with non-feeling, left brain oriented politicians, an evil cognitive paradigm or by ego tripped psychopaths in general”. No debate to develop PT to a better therapy is permitted. It is a pure and simple recruitment of new patients. My comments / articles are often censored not published when I’m critical or bringing in subjects which infringe the marked primal territory.

To look inwards, critically, to examine how the therapy (and its patients), they so blindly believe in, has been administered, monitored, controlled or followed-up we have never heard or seen a glimpse of. No complete research has ever been made to find out of the real outcome (short and longterm) of the patients being treated by PT. This outcome should be compared to the amounts paid to the Primal Institute / Center plus expenses used for food and shelter.

People connected to Primal Therapy (including myself) often criticize the shortcomings of Cognitive Therapy. That is always done by pointing at the fact that PT (Evolution in Reverse) is curing by reliving the pain while CT is continuing the repressive process of evolution which can shorten our potential longevity. An extensive research to find out which method, measured in real cost per treated / functioning patient, would maybe explain why the cognitive paradigm is so deeply rooted in our society, education and literature. Why has not the theoretical (“left brain”) advantages of PT turned into an applied reality?

Art Janov has, during 47 years, experienced that PT has “evolved” / restricted from a dream of a quick fix of 4 months to a treatment which takes >40 years, maybe a lifetime. No doubt his discovery of Evolution in Reverse as a potential therapy was ingenious. It gave him and a few patients an amazing life. But, many were left, disappointed, along the road to their fate.

Jan Johnsson

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It started with a desperate / urgent naivety.

It started with a desperate / urgent naivety*.

I, myself, like thousands of other patients had been in a desperate / urgent situation when we, tormented by anxiety disorders, neuroses and depressions, applied for Primal Therapy during the last 40 years. We (I supposed guided by our right brain) did it, more or less, only based on a unique story, “The Primal Scream”, of how Art Janov inspired by a famous destruction artist, made an ingenious discovery, how evolution, with the help of repression saves us from unbearable mental and/or physical pain. 

The “business idea” of The primal Therapy became to cure its patients of pain imprinted before, during and after birth due to neglect, abuse or unmet basic human love, when they got old enough to handle / endure the once unbearable pain.

I have been a professional crisis and change expert (often guided by my left intellectual side of my brain) with versatile experience and training. I had spent 10-15 years of studies and practical application in different positions before I was good at what I did. Eventually, I had, according to employers and mentors, 20 good active years, when I was regarded  a reliable change expert.

During these years I would, professionally, never had considered bringing in an expert to any of my employers who could not, convincingly have proven:

Experience of patients, successfully being treated.
Having done interviews with or obtained references from patients.
Being convinced of the existence of a functioning organization with access to the expertise we considered needed.
A treatment / responsibility plan, including introduction, procedures and how and when the treatment / patient was followed up by the expert.
That the contract we signed was reasonable from the legal, financial and medical point of view and took into account how the potential conflicts / differences would be resolved.

So how can and will I now explain my (successful) Primal Therapy experiment? I saw it as a unique private project to attack my epileptic stigma, which so far only chemical lobotomy / Tegretol had been able to find a, what I considered, unsatisfactory solution for. During many years, which added up to decades, I noticed, within the Primal Institute / Center, the shortcomings in both success rates and organizational professionalism, but, I was not affected by the, in my eyes, irresponsible complacency. Work-wise successful, but, pain propelled and neurotic, I took a calculated risk and could with my background keep away from those I considered intellectually obsessed patient colleagues.

Suggestions, to establish a partnership with i.e. Rolfing, was by Art Janov met by an argument that avoiding this cooperation was a unique condition for the recovery process to take place in the brains own pace (which may last 40 years...). My own use of Rolfing and the guidance of Janov, in a successful combination, showed how hard it is for a genius to change his habits. Also, The Primal Therapy is subject to an evolutionary development. 

The Primal Principle and Rolfing, both have the ambition to uncover  repressed pain, which evolution introduced for our survival. I am fully convinced that a skilled Rolfer and Primal Therapist could work wonders in a partnership. If I had sufficient funds and resources, I would not hesitate to set up such a clinic.

Jan Johnsson

*naivety=credulousness, gullibility - tendency to believe too readily and therefore to be easily deceived.

Friday, May 17, 2013

There is nothing wrong with the Primal Principle.

  (Click for access!)

My comment:

There is nothing wrong with the Primal Principle.

I like your idea to talk to the patient and not to drug him but patiently delving into his or her past and to listen instead of rushing through too many patients a day. I have communicated with patients during a couple of months, and they are certainly not impressed by the approach from the Primal Center. Their criticism about PT is much harsher than your condemnation of the insensitive treatment that patients, being neglected, abandoned and unloved, encounter in the psychotherapeutic world, in general.

If a patient after having been attached to the Primal Center for 5 years, having spent 60.000 $ alone on therapy fees and private sessions, are going back to UK in a much worse condition than she arrived, then I can understand that she is feeling “fucked over” by PT. Honestly Art, I feel ashamed of two opposite reasons: 

A. She is only one in a number of disappointed patients I know of, who have been victims of your naive negligence to overlook a fundamental need to provide comprehensive counseling. It was, from the Primal Center’s side, a lack of human understanding / maturity to unleash a neurotic 26 year old in the LA-jungle and let her be seduced, both mentally and physically. This was done under the pretense of curing her anxiety neurosis and birth primals, and you made her uncritically accept to consume her savings on sessions so that she had to return back home penniless.
B. I, myself, had tremendous luck with both you (how you i.e., over decades, communicated the Primal Principle) and my general background, which allowed me, to do things “my way” because I was professionaly trained to handle complex and critical situations all by my self. That have mislead a few who did not realize “my way” was much more qualified and holistic than what they were able / willing to recognize.

In a reply, May 16th, 2013, to a comment you summarized Primal Therapy as a potential lifelong treatment:I used to think it was an amazing discovery to cure people. But there is something that is hard to explain: the amount of unconscious pain we all carry within ourselves. The pain we consciously feel may not feel like it requires 40 years of therapy, but that is because we don't feel the unconscious part that is much greater. And the more you feel in therapy, the deeper you go, the more you uncover the unconscious pain, the more you realize the intensity and amount of what you were carrying.
Therapy can only follow each individual natural rhythm and what their body can take out, one piece at a time. So, in fact, I don't want to sound pessimistic, but people with massive early trauma may not have enough of a life time to resolve it entirely, even with Primal Therapy. However it is still better to take it out, one piece at a time, and live a better life day after day. And I agree with you, healthy diet, exercise, all these other tools we can find can definitely help greatly too.
As Primal therapists, we are charged with taking the pain out. We never put it in, someone else did. Art Janov

This summary is the way I interpret the Primal Principle. What’s wrong with “laying back, once in a while, and feeling the stab of anxiety” and afterwards feel OK and function? The mind for sure will remind me next time when a memory has triggered the remnants of old not yet fully lived pain / traumas.

The best thing about the Primal Principle occurs when we have learned to use it properly.

Jan Johnsson

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Can the limited genius of Art Janov cure an unlimited stupidity?

This is a reply to a comment to my blog ( presented by Art Janov.

Can the limited genius of Art Janov cure an unlimited stupidity? 


Under the elegant cover of “we are all crazy” you are saying Rolfing, Cognitive Therapy, Electroconvulsive Therapy and drugs are the same. Now, I obviously do not know whom you are mandated to include in the group you consider being crazy, but I would be surprised if Art Janov and his staff want to be included and for my part I thank no to be included in your community.

I’m happy that my re-living, guided by the Primal Principals and supported by i.e. Rolfing, of my birth-trauma cured my epilepsy. Your sensational information that grand mal epilepsy eventually disappears completely and permanently in most cases is a great novelty. You should write a book about this natural process and refer to your sources behind it. You will bring hope to 1% of the global population. I just hope that you do not confuse the eventual disappearance (of the grand mal epilepsy) with the fact life eventually ceases.

Not even Primal Therapy can cure unlimited stupidity so I won’t give you any false hopes. It apparently had been easier if you too had suffered from epilepsy, then, according to your own opinion, you would eventually have been cured completely and permanently with or without therapy...

Still confident a genius has limits and that much stupidity is unlimited.

Jan Johnsson

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mysterious, sublime and surreal.

Mysterious, sublime and surreal.

To me the Primal Principle, at times, has been like a surreal resemblance of a dream I had 54 years ago; when I had developed epilepsy and “decided” to do my utmost to demystify it! Having spent some time, lately, criticising Art Janov for instinctively protecting his discovery and not allowing intrusions on his territory, I will once again give a very condensed version of “my way”.

1974 I met Svend Möller-Andersen a skilled management consultant of a rare kind. He knew, had met and plagiarized Rafael Ortiz in N.Y.. The same Ortiz, who’s experiments a few years earlier had caused Art’s discovery of the Primal Principle. Svend told me to read the Primal Scream, which I immediately did and got a new view of life and my Tegretol-lobotomized brain / epilepsy. Since my job was long-term planning and changing of companies, it was natural that I made “the demystification of my epilepsy” into a pervasive long-term project.

21 of Sept. 1977 I signed an agreement with Vivian Janov in Santa Monica to come to PT early in the spring of 1978. I began in March 1978 and stayed through December 1979 while living on Veteran Avenue in Beverly Hills. I did my tree intensive weeks, but little happened and the same can be said of the group-meetings, during which I had the opportunity to meet the charismatic Doctor Janov himself. 
I was only able to connect to feelings regarding my father and my tree years younger sister who had dethroned me. My epilepsy seemed far away kept at bay by Tegretol and the marvelous weather in California and its lovely beaches.  Add to that, that I brought a young beautiful wife with no interest in PT who studied art in Pasadena and Santa Barbara. 
A life without work, with daily walks and swims was unusual for me, so to support my work neuroses, a couple of days a week, I flew to Boulder / Denver, Colorado and did consulting for a biotech company.

November through December 1979, in Boulder, I had 10 Rolfing sessions (pressed into a very short period of treatment) of the old fashioned model, conducted with the therapist’s knees and elbows as working instruments during my painful moaning. 

Back to Swedish midwinter in January 1980, I experienced for the first time how a potential grand mal seizure developed into my first primal / re-living of my birth-trauma. This meant the turning point in my PT, and the Primal Principles stood shiningly clear for me. Even though, my epilepsy still scared me, it was an explanation of the WHY? my life had been distorted for 20 years. During the same month, I told my three siblings (after 20 years delay) that I had epilepsy. This plus additional head-on information to my mother caused her repressions to break open. She told me crying (which was a new experience to me) about how she, inspired by the Bible, had followed  the advice to “give birth with pain”, which caused a very traumatic birth process lasting more than two days.

From 1980 and over the next 16 years I made an excellent career, strengthened by my new attitude to my body and mind. However, dependent on Tegretol, I was able to develop a great deal of my potential. PT and the Primal Principles were always in the back of my mind and this career period coincided with the best I’ve experienced in the Primal Therapy, namely the international retreats. They were held in e.g. Switzerland, France, Denmark and Norway, where I had the privilege of personal help from Art Janov to re-live my birth-traumas. At the same time, he turned in my less neurotic psyche, from a guru on a pedestal into a sympathetic therapist.

In the mid 90ies, I had over-taxed my body / organs, and my mind and I decided to go “all in” to re-live my pain after having been categorized a “burn out”.  I added homeopathy and diet to the Primal Principle / Rolfing. I threw Tegretol away after 35  years of consumption, and I refused any kind of psychiatric medication. Slowly, over a few years, I succeeded in helping my less pain propelled brain to establish a new level of wellbeing. 

2009-2011 I wrote my story about my epileptic journey / Evolution in Reverse which put it all together and was of big importance for my mind with its high dependence of memories.

When I in the fall of 2011 contacted Eva, an old friend from my childhood and reestablished a 53 years old relationship I could feel how my brain responded both in its tree vertical levels and in its right-left / left-right connections putting many of the millions of neurons in the corpus callosum at work.

A 54 years old surrealistic dream has come true. I did it “may way” guided by the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse as a deterministic lead star. If Salvador Dalí had been a patient of PT he might have used one of his famous expressions to describe the Primal Principle: “The existence of reality is the most mysterious, most sublime and surreal to be given!”  

Jan Johnsson 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Marking Territory

Marking Territory 

In an article in my blog, “The Egg or the Chicken?”, in the second last paragraph, I was complaining (as usual) about why PT and Rolfing have not kept the same pace of development or been working together, having a common, curative ambition and potential. Hence I asked: “Could the reason be a domain limited genius?” A limited number of my few readers asked for an explanation / translation. And I was not surprised because when I wrote it, I didn’t have the feeling of being head-on. I should not have asked but stated: “Art Janov instinctively protects his ingenious discovery and allows no intrusion on his territory.” He is blind to the obvious advantages that other natural, curative, methods could bring to a partnership.

Animals in the wild, inventors of Apple-computers and of therapeutical principals are all a lot like Gold Rush miners - they lay claim to their territory. The Gold Rush was of such a magnitude that, after i.e. San Fransisco grew to a boomtown in the 1850ies the US claimed the territory and California became a state Sept. 9, 1850, after the Gold-rush had started under Mexican rules. It was the start of the American Dream, both literally and metaphorically.

Primal Therapy originated in a peculiar way from a New York artist. His experiment turned, later, in front of the eyes of Art Janov into a unique discovery of how evolution inside the different levels of the triune brain has the capacity to repress unbearable pain. This discovery became Art Janov’s private Gold Rush and over a number of decades he claimed his territory by writing excellent books and Reflections, building myths and pursuing those he defined as mock-therapists.

However, difficult to compare, more parallels between "The Gold Rush of Gold" and the “Gold Rush of Primal Therapy" can be made. In skilled PR hands, reality has, during the epoch of the real Gold Rush, changed from crime, prostitution, gambling and drugs to a neurotic myth about the land of dreams. 

In Primal Therapy reputation and public relationship first became greater than the extent of the therapy. This despite the fact that the number of Americans dependent on psychiatric medication have grown to a number that makes the Gold Rush appear an experiment by the destruction artist Raphael Ortiz. In stead of a curing therapy, tens of millions of Americans are now in the mercy of the pharmaceutical industry’s (experts in marking territory) patented, psychiatric protected long-term degenerative painkillers. 

Jan Johnsson

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mind, Soul, Spirit, Psyche and Self. And Breath.

Mind, Soul, Spirit, Psyche and Self. And Breath.

I have a number of times thought about the interpretation of the first five words in my heading. Depending on what I have been reading or writing I have sought to develop an understanding of what they are and their distinguishing properties. Most of the worlds dictionaries have an ambition to see them as synonyms, although, they also provide individual priorities for each of them, which of course, are coloured by the environment in which they are used; philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, religion etc., etc.

A few examples: 

The original of mind was the faculty of memory, not of thought in general. Hence: call to mind, come to mind, keep in mind, out of mind, to have mind of etc. “The generalization of mind includes all mental faculties, thought, volition/will, feeling and memory and was gradually developed over the 14th and 15th centuries.” (Questions are being raised whether mind also can be property of some types of man-made machines.)

“Spirit comes from Latin “spiritus” meaning breath.”

“Even soul with its Indo-European root means breath.”

“Psyche was Latinized to anima. Traditionally, anima could have been rendered in English as soul, but in modern usage the term psyche is preferable.”

“Freud and Jung both used the German word Seele which means both psyche and soul.”

It is an interesting fact, that during the time, I was tormented by my epileptic stigma and allowed the repressed emotions to ascend, I never thought of the variety of intellectual definitions and psychological jargon that surrounded me, in more or less qualified versions. I felt, then, instinctively that it was an escape from my goal to live my repressed pain. For me, the patient narratives in Arts books, with their direct pain-related language, is an important part of his ingenious explanation of Evolution in Reverse / the Primal Principles. Only later did Arts, more intellectual, links to the Neuroscientific knowledge, tempt me.

That the Neuroscientific knowledge is difficult to apply and locate in the Mind, Soul, Spirit, Psyche, Self and Breath, that is something I can live with. I feel though that with the help of the Primal Principle I have become a much more integrated soul.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Egg or the Chicken?

The Egg or the Chicken?

Does it really matter if the mind is the egg or the brain is the chicken, or vice versa?

Without knowing which, I have still been able to re-live most of my birth-feelings. I may never be perfect, but at times I feel stupendous, especially if I compare with the days when my pain / epilepsy was a constant threat of terror. Being rid of most of my pain and my thick layer of neurotic behavior (not to speak of my Tegretol) I have noticed that:

Things are less black and white, when, in fact, more possibilities exist!

All 89.500 federal and local US governments are not filled with voice-hungry and heartless politicians, far from!

A lot of my thinking is still egoistic!

Many friends, always, find a reason why they can receive black money, which they do not mention in their tax return. (If I had an opportunity I might have cheated like many small business-owners, be they plumbers or therapists)!

200.000 US shrinks, psychiatrists and therapists are not all as bad as my primal thinking will make them!

It is fascinating to understand how the human organism basically works. There are different ways to acquire knowledge; reading books, research-reports, making own experiences doing experiments and physical manipulations!

The Rolfers (offering a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity) has world wide progressed much more than the psychotherapy in which I believe! They have not followed each other. Could the reason be a domain limited genius?

The pharmaceutical industry is the very incarnation of capitalism, and a neurotic lifestyle. It has emerged because of our symptoms and it utilizes recklessly that we are not able to define our real needs.

Jan Johnsson

Thursday, May 2, 2013

In and Out of My Mind

In and Out of My Mind

To understand The Primal Principal, The Triune Brain and Evolution in  Reverse have been irreplaceable basic facts. Along with other important factors in a holistic treatment program, they lifted my understanding and made me dare to undergo a revolutionary change in my life that The Primal Therapy has meant. It has been a 40-year process that changed my way of thinking, feeling and reacting. During the therapeutical process, the health status could, always, be measured against stable regularities, like the vital signs. My vital signs (pulse, blood pressure and  body temperature) have, over the years, changed for the better and are excellent. The improvements over the decades have been made spasmodically depending on the undeveloped PT treatment methodology, which at times gave the chance a too wide margin.

We belong to a psychotherapeutic world that are part of an increasingly technologically advanced Neuroscience, which academically has become departmentalised in some 20 new “galaxies” without strong coordination and few practical common applications. Therefore, a part of Art Janov’s important contributions has been to, with metaphysical methods, combine his clinical experiences with advances in Neuroscience and in a comprehensible way explain this to his patients / readers.

A few weeks ago I read Robert Whitaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, and I was fascinated by two interviews / stories about how two people were determined, as a last resort, to break out of a mad psychiatric medicine program that had accelerated to increasingly disastrous results, and destroyed the lives of the patients and their families. The stories surpassed my own terrible experiences when I took myself out of heavy epileptic medication 15 years ago.

What began as an intellectual reading experience on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the Spanish mountains, suddenly turned into an increasingly more emotionally dominated experience. I was numb, frozen, and I could feel that parts of my brain were struck dumb. After a while, I realized that I was going out of my mind. I was moved 15 years back in time to my then dramatic primals. In reality, this meant that I had moved almost 73 years back in time.

During tre days and nights I was lying in bed with high fever, faint hyperventilation, with the head clamped as in a vise (only interrupted by regular birth primals / birth pains). I was not awake but could not sleep. I was out of my mind. Just like 15 years ago I got shingles / chickenpox around my chest. During three days, my daughter gave me water, tea and broth, and after another couple of days the fever dropped, the primals ceased and my breathing became normal. I was back in my mind but mentally tired and with great need for sleep.

Seemingly a scaring story that I feel is a necessary re-living of repressed pain from my birth process. The deep physical, mental and emotional satisfaction I feel when the ink flow out of my pen is completely in harmony with my needs. Thanks to The Primal Principles and a sufficient understanding of the interactive communication within the Triune Brain, I have the tranquility that makes it possible to interpret an “old man’s” disease like an unborn fetus struggle for life.Thank you, Art Janov!!!

Jan Johnsson